Happening across this book in Fred Meyer’s, I knew it would be a book that would be right up my alley. So when my English Lit buddies and I decided to start a book club, this was our first read (suggested by me ;)). I couldn’t wait to get started and was super-duper excited that our book club (ok Amanda and Mary, we need a name for our book club!) was reading this as its inaugural book.
The Bride’s House is actually three different stories in one but they are all connected because it follows three different generations of women from one family in Georgetown, Colorado. Too keep this simple (because I started writing an overview and it was way to long) I am going to quote the description on the back, which I think does the book a great justice.
“It’s 1880, and for seventeen-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will mary. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant–and married to another.
For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love.
Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.”
Ok, that said all I was trying to say much more eloquently and succinctly. I was trying to add all the details into the overview and it was not working :). I really did enjoy this book; From beginning to end, the story hooked me, with the three different women, Nealie, Pearl, and Susan, intertwining in a way that was very compelling. All three ladies were strong female characters and had distinct minds of their own, which was ahead of their time periods. They were engaging characters, that I was rooting for them from the beginning. The trials and triumphs that each woman went through during their part of the journey was what really captivated me. They had such strong convictions and attitudes, even in times of great strife, that made me want to weep with sadness and clap with joy. Their stories brought me to tears and made me laugh, but most of all they portrayed woman at their finest; dealing with adversity with great amounts of character.
The set up of the book was one that I found very intriguing. I liked the idea of having three stories in one but having each store connected to the other through different generations. That is something that I have not stumbled upon often and Sandra Dallas did an amazing job in writing all of the intertwining connections. I enjoyed that each woman of the family got their own section but they also overlapped and developed throughout the whole novel, especially when the secrets of Bride’s House are revealed towards the end. Not only is Susan great at writing these characters, she is wonderful at adding in historical data to fill in this novel. Every page with brimming with historical references, that it was a pleasure to read and made the story more real. Sandra did her research and it paid off in this novel, especially when you learn at the end in the author’s note that Sandra has bought the house that is the Bride’s House (how cool is that!).
I should throw out there that I did have some issues with the novel. I was a little disappointed in how quickly each woman’s story took place. They were over, wham bam thank you mam. No real meat or sustenance to a lot of the plot that it felt a little rushed. There could have been a lot more detail to this novel, which would have strengthened the book and provided a better understanding of each woman. That being said I still enjoyed the story, I just wanted a longer book.
Lastly, how could I forget to mention the 4th main character, the House. The house took on an embodiment of its own. It became the setting that held this families secrets for years and without this house there would be no book. This beautiful Victorian house, stood the test of generations and came out on top in this wonderful novel. Overall, I highly recommend this book. Buy, rent or borrow it!
Rating: 425 pages out of 500.
Upcoming: The Solider’s Wife by Margaret Leroy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy and whatever else I can read.