The Gypsy Bride

Written by Katie Hutton
Review by Trish MacEnulty

In 1917 Ellen Quainton says goodbye to the man she is to marry. He’s off to war, never to return. Devastated by his death, Ellen swears she’ll never love again until she falls, literally, in front of a tall, “swarthy,” black-haired Gypsy. Sampson Loveridge, the man who helps Ellen to her feet, has rotten luck. When we first meet him, he’s in jail, being brutally beaten because he’s a conscientious objector during a time of war. He’s eventually released back to his family where it turns out, he is “spoken for” by a hard-hearted woman he doesn’t love.

After their happenstance meeting, Ellen and Sam fall for each other, and it’s not long before Ellen becomes pregnant. Before she can tell Sam the news, he is tricked into taking the blame for a crime he hasn’t committed and winds up in prison where his luck goes from bad to worse. His attempts to communicate his situation to Ellen fail miserably. To escape dishonor in her tight-knit religious community of Primitive Methodists, Ellen is pressured to marry an older widower. Neither Ellen nor Sam know what has happened to the other and yet neither is willing to give up on their love.

The Gypsy Bride is more than just a tale of star-crossed lovers. The authentic details—horse meat, rose-scented face powder, a ball made of rags stuffed with sawdust—bring the rural world of Chiltern Hills to life in this moving and well-wrought tale.