Hardcover, 272 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Format read: ARC via publisher
The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy of Lesser Hoo, Yorkshire, has one goal: to train its students in the feminine arts with an eye toward getting them married off. This year, there are five girls of marriageable age. There’s only one problem: the school is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no men.
Set in the same English town as Keeping the Castle, and featuring a few of the same characters, here’s the kind of witty tribute to the classic Regency novel that could only come from the pen of Patrice Kindl!
Despite the histrionics, she recognizes that a woman is nothing without a man in their society, and that’s why she’s so desperate to get the Bennett daughters married off. This was a thought that kept coming up again and again, as I read the delightful but astute, A School for Brides.
While Patrice Kindl’s writing is undoubtedly funny - she introduces us to students at the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy in Yorkshire, all of whom are desperate for husbands - there’s a poignancy to the finely-toned humor and sharp writing that Ms. Kindl has refined, page after page.
Because even as students like Miss Franklin, Miss Pffolliott and Miss Asquith humorously and intelligently struggle to prove themselves, escape unwanted (and dodgy!) suitors, and even prove their rightful place in society, there’s always a certain air of desperation to their actions. They’re going into their day-to-day lives with with the reminder and understanding that they all have a social expiration date, and Kindl explores this with gentle humor but touching analysis.
But what’s even better, is the Kindl’s ability to connect the relationship struggles of the Winthrop Hopkins students, with the women of today. There are certain set of universal truths that are still experienced by contemporary women when it comes to work and home, and they’re sure to feel these lessons as well.
But it’s also a great book that tacitly discusses the universal truths of what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated society, and many of the experiences, themes and ideas are sure to find a welcoming and relatable audience to contemporary readers of today.
About the author:
In addition to A School for Brides and Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl (www.patricekindl.com) is the author of four other novels, the best known of which is the acclaimed Owl in Love. She lives with her husband and a variety of animals in upstate New York.