‘A deft revisioning of the historical romance tradition for a young 21st century readership’ – Meg Rosoff: The Bride’s Farewell

meg rosoff bride farewellMeg Rosoff’s debut novel How I Live Now exploded onto the literary scene in 2004, winning both the Guardian and Branford Boase awards, and achieving a place on the shortlist for the Orange Prize for New Fiction and the Whitbread award. Since then, Rosoff has become well-established in the field of young adult and crossover fiction, winning widespread critical acclaim as well as the prestigious Carnegie medal for her second novel, Just in Case. However, her newest novel marks a perceptible move away from her usual territory: The Bride’s Farewell is a historical novel, set in the nineteenth century and rife with allusions to the Hardyesque rural romance.

On the morning of her wedding to childhood friend Birdie, feisty village girl Pell decides to leave her family and home behind her forever in search of freedom and independence. Determined to escape a future of childbearing, drudgery and sorrow, she makes for the open road, accompanied only by her white horse Jack and her youngest brother Bean. Yet away from the safety of the village, trouble soon strikes, and without anywhere else to turn, Pell falls into the company of a mysterious and solitary hunter, unsure whether he will prove a friend or foe.

What happens next is perhaps not exactly surprising and indeed, in many ways, The Bride’s Farewell is a rather more conventional young adult novel than we have come to expect from Rosoff. However, there are nonetheless plenty of twists and turns in store: brooding rural landscapes aside, this is an unpredictable, quirky and distinctly contemporary take on the rural romance tradition. Pell is a likable and engaging heroine, and this compelling tale of her search to discover her identity and a place to belong has a particularly timeless quality that is likely to strike a chord with Rosoff’s young fans.

Any Cop?:A deft revisioning of the historical romance tradition for a young 21st century readership, The Bride’s Farewell is a gracefully written and genuinely engrossing read. 

Katherine Woodfine

 

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