A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The eight young ladies of the Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy came to attend the school through disparate circumstances and harbor a wide range of goals and dreams, yet they share one thing in common: the understanding that finding a suitable husband is infinitely more difficult when one lives in a tiny village virtually devoid of potential candidates. This doesn't perturb Miss Rosalind Franklin, who would much rather devote herself to scientific studies, but it greatly alarms the other seven, including those too young to be in immediate danger of spinsterhood. Fortunately (for the ladies, anyway), their prospects improve when a young, handsome, injured traveler takes up temporary residence in the school's guest room and is visited by his young, handsome friends. Toss in a mysterious admirer, a scheming governess, and a giant sheepdog, and life in Lesser Hoo is anything but dull.
This was a light, fun read. I very much enjoyed the humorous, vaguely Austenesque style of writing and the creativity of the names. I did have difficulty on occasion, however, keeping the characters straight, so I was thankful for the Character List at the beginning of the book--I referred back to it often.
For readers' advisors: language and story doorway are primary, setting secondary. No sex, violence, or bad language. A few characters from Keeping the Castle reappear in this book, but it's not really necessary to have read the first in the series in order to enjoy the second. Although several of the girls are engaged by the end, the book comes across more as historical fiction than historical romance, since you never really delve deeply into any of the romantic relationships--the development of friendships between several of the girls is just as (or more) important.
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