Friday, 23 September 2011

Review: The Little Bride - Anna Solomon

Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 320
Published: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Riverhead
Source: for review

When 16-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband, a handsome townhouse, and freedom from physical labor and pogroms. But her husband Max turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons. The country is desolate, the work treacherous. Most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson. As a brutal winter closes in, the family's limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.

My thoughts:

I think the beauty with this book was this quietness over it, this stillness and contemplation that what happens happens. Which also makes this one hard book to rate, because even if I liked the story and so on I would rate it one way. But then I look at the writing and the feeling and it has to have a better rating. Because it is just good. 

The story is about Minna who is a servant in Odessa, bad times being a Jew there, or anywhere for that matter. So she signs with an agency and becomes a mail order bride. Poor Minna has hopes for a better life and she is not prepared for the harsh life of a farmer's wife. She could have managed but the thing is that her new husband is no farmer. He knows nothing at all and he is very strict orthodox and the farm suffers because of it. Well the hut, the mule, the cow and a little field that makes up the farm. But there is freedom there, freedom to be themselves. And this in a land where there is another people worse off than they are. The story is good, and I liked Minna and her silent suffering. Her husband is a good man, just too good and clueless. Her stepsons are nice too, but there we get the little bit of drama, attraction. Not to mention a winter of suffering as they have no food and it's cold. 

The only thing I did not like was the end, it was ok, but that was just it. We got a little insight in what happens in her life. But I was not happy. Still, why should I be, she seemed happy and that is all that matters. 

It is a book I recommend, because in the end I have not read a book like this. Yes sure I have read books about pioneers, but not about Jewish pioneers, and rules brings another dimension to this new life. Neither did I know about the am olam movement. And I do like a book that manages to teach me something too. 

In the end, it is the author's voice that I like, and it is a great debut.


Not for me, the inner pic is really nice though



  1. Hm. Now you have me all curious as to why you weren't happy with the ending even though the character was! I hadn't heard of this one before, thanks for the review!

  2. LOL. I read your review of this book and immediately thought of my husband's grandparents. His grandmother's first husband was the father (he was much older) of her second. When hubby's grandfather came home from the service, they met, fell in love, and got married. LOL.

  3. Sounds good, though I'd probably find the ending lacking, too. I like details.

  4. I know that feeling you described where the ending works for the character but not necessarily for the reader.

    Loved the opening of this review. Quiet contemplation reads are quite appealing.

  5. I think I just want to read this out of curiosity and because I've never read a book like that one before. Great review.

  6. well this sounds really interesting!! the love triangle sounds really intriguing.

  7. Sounds like you'll be reading more from this author in the future. :)

  8. This one sounds interesting. I'm curious about the ending. I like details, but not when I lose focus on the storyline. Great review!

  9. I'm curious about the actual content of the book. It sounds a bit boring although nicely written?

    You grabbed my attention with the ending and the drama with the 'sons'. Hmmmm......

    Thanks for the review :o]

  10. I think the story of mail order brides is fascinating so this sounds good to me.

  11. A book I might want to read. Quiet concentration, so fitting autumn long evenings. Pity the ending wasn't satisfying to you.

  12. actually the cover piques my interest. especially with the hint of something pretty underneath. could be too, i like embroidery.

  13. Oh, no HEA? It sounds like she doesn't get together with the stepson...

  14. It's sad when the book is otherwise good and then the ending leaves you unhappy.
    It sounds good and I'm not fan of the cover either.

  15. Jenny
    Oh you know me, I want it all :) But I guess it was a fitting end...can't say more lol

    It must be late, well it is late, and I am tired but I can't make that family tree to work, lol

    Oh there were details. We knew a lot, it is just that I wanted certain things

    It was a very lovely book. Sometimes I need a book like this :)

    And yes the ending she wants is not always the one I want

    That is always a good reason to read

    What I also liked is that in a way there is no love triangle. People just co-exist

    She has only written short stories before but yes I want to :)

  16. Mrs Q
    Maybe that is why this one was good, there were details, but not too many since what was there to say out there in the middle of nowhere

    Oh no! It was not boring, I am just saying that things happened, but there was no eeeeeeek cold! Eeeeek we are dying!!!!!!! it was more, yes it is cold, and we will try our best to beat it

    I will not say

    Considering they are still around yes, I always wonder why people do it

    I am sure you would like the end *whistles*

    That which is underneath is so pretty :D

    You know I can't spoil that for you...not a word out of me

    It's just bery bland, bleh. I wish they had the pic inside as the cover

  17. I agree Jewish pioneers are new to me. Sounds like an interesting read and a story that would provide for quiet reflection.

  18. I also like it when a piece of fiction teaches me something. I also want to know why you weren't happy with the ending!

    #Flash: Poor Banshee!! Give her a sweetie! She needs one. :) Oh and I also love the second short. No cookies from me!

    Love that you did 2!!

  19. This book sounds very powerful! I love books where both the story and the writing are moving!

  20. Interesting premise. I often wonder how pioneers managed to make the worse and then when you bring in mail-order brides you have two strangers trying to make a go of a very hard life.

  21. Seems everywhere I go today bloggers are reviewing books with a strong Jewish POV. I must have missed the memo. I'm thinking I'll look this one up despite the ending - and I like the cover.

  22. That cover is uhm.. original. :)

  23. wow, sounds like a great read. I do enjoy a book I can learn something from. Nice review!

  24. Sounds good. I'll keep an eye out for it. Great review.

  25. You are sure I would like the end? Hmmm...interesting...or are you just whistling in the dark? :)

  26. I'll keep my eyes open for more books by this author... perhaps she'd improved in subsequent projects.

  27. Jenny
    It sure was, and I do think you would enjoy this book just like I did.

    I can't say (well if you want to then email me ;) *whistles*

    Lol, yes I do think the she needs a sweetie too. I will see what the next flash brings me

    I really like that too, just like a book should be.

    I would not have made it as a pioneer, or as a mailorder bride for that matter. But it sure brings something extra to this tale

    I must have missed the memo too, or I should visit your blogs :D
    I do hope you look it up

  28. Janna
    It's subtle, it looks like fiction, not in a bad way, but just that the cover does not need to shine

    I am all for learning in a fun way and I enjoyed this tale.

    I hope you do!

    truth be told I never know with you, but...this time yes perhaps you would like how it ended ;)

    She is good already :) I just want superhappy endings sometimes ;)

  29. Not really my kind of book anymore Blodeuedd, I could have read it 20 years ago.

  30. Oh my gosh. Your review sucked me in and had me thinking of all the possibilities. The books starts off sounding okay and then bam it is different. I'm intrigued.

  31. I've also never read a book about Jewish pioneers and the subject does sound like one I would enjoy, but I'd probably prefer reading a non-fictional account about it than a romance novel, particularly one that doesn't sound like it ends too happily.

  32. I like the sound of this novel and I actually quite like the cover! It sounds like a harsh reality and difficult reality.

  33. Aurian
    20 years ago? Then I am late to recommened this one ;)

    You should check it out, it was different, and I always liked the life as a pioneer. So harsh

    If you fear romance then I can tell you that there is no romance at all here. She marries a man she does not know. She has this despise/interest in her stepson, but they enver think or act on it cos it is wrong. So there is no forbidden romance going on. And when something does happen it is just that, it happens.

    That is what it was, and it makes it one intriguing book

  34. This one totally sounds like one I'd pick up...I love those quiet stories!

  35. Sounds like a book I would like, even if at first glance I would not normally choose to read it.

  36. Staci
    I do think you would enjoy this one then :)

    No, the first glance does not really say much about this one

  37. Fabulous review! I've never heard of this book before and the whole concept of the book just sounds interesting. A mail order bride...who is 16 marrying a 30+ year old who has two sons about his brides, unique. I'm going to check this out out later!

  38. Deanna
    It was a lovely book, the style, just so hard to explain. Very nice


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