Monday 6 July 2020

Book ~ "The Brideship Wife" (2020) Leslie Howard

From GoodreadsEngland, 1862. Charlotte is somewhat of a wallflower. Shy and bookish, she knows her duty is to marry but with no dowry, she has little choice in the matter. She can’t continue to live off the generosity of her sister Harriet and her wealthy brother-in-law, Charles, whose political aspirations dictate that she make an advantageous match.

When Harriet hosts a grand party, Charlotte is charged with winning the affections of one of Charles’s colleagues but before the night is over, her reputation - her one thing of value - is at risk. In the days that follow, rumours begin to swirl. Soon Charles’s standing in society is threatened and all that Charlotte has held dear is jeopardized, even Harriet, and Charlotte is forced to leave everything she has ever known in England and embark on a treacherous voyage to the New World. 

It's the the early 1860s and 21-year-old Charlotte is living with her sister, Harriet, and brother-in-law, Charles in England.  The sisters were left penniless when their parents died and Harriet was lucky that Charles married her.  Now it's Charlotte's turn to find a husband and she's being pressured to marry a man in Charles' social circle so it will advance his political aspirations.  Charles and Harriet have set her up with George but it turns out he is not the man they think he is.  When Charles learns that George is not happy with Charlotte, he banishes her on a brideship which is bound for Victoria, British Columbia.  With a shortage of women because of the gold rush in western North America, this ship is carrying 60 women who have no other options and are looking for new opportunities in their live.

This is the first novel by this author and, though I'm not a fan of historical period pieces, I liked it.  I liked the writing style and thought it flowed well.  It is written in first person perspective in Charlotte's voice.  I found the story interesting and learned much about a piece of Canada's history that I hadn't known much about.  It's amazing how different times are today.  A woman's role was to be a wife and mother and it didn't matter if she liked a man she was supposed to marry ... the accepted goal was to marry well and keep her mouth shut.

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