Flower-seller in London, by Jules Bastien-Lepage. The girl in this painting reminded me a little of Kathleen, the heroine of this book; only Kathleen sold bread, not flowers, on the streets of London. Picture from ArtMagick.com
A good friend [ ; ) thanks 'Koala'! ] recently lent me a heap of Janette Oke books. The first one of these books to catch my eye was A Bride for Donnigan. I had heard about this book - indeed I had almost bought it, but I thought No, I'll wait until I read it before I buy it. . . and as we have seen, I recently got the chance to read it, and 'read it' I did!
A Bride for Donnigan tells the story of seventeen-year-old Kathleen O'Malley. Both of her parents are dead, and she lives under the roof of her widowed stepmother. When she discovers that her stepmother intends to remarry, keeping Kathleen as only a servant, Kathleen makes a decision to respond to a certain advertisement she had seen in the street:
"Ladies! The Opportunity of a Lifetime in the New American Frontier! Well-Secured Ranchers, Farmers, and Businessmen Desire Wedded Partners to Share Their Life and Prosperity. INQUIRE WITHIN."
It's a fascinating read, especially in light of the historical context. What may seem crazy to us today - farmers and ranchers living in the remote far west of America "ordering" mail order brides from Europe! -- actually made perfect sense to the people involved in this type of match-making. It also looks at the reasons that could drive the said mail-order brides to endure a lengthy voyage across the Atlantic, to arrive in an unfamiliar land, all for the sake of marrying men they knew practically nothing about. . .
Unlike most of Janette Oke's other books, which deal solely with life on the American prairie, A Bride for Donnigan offers glimpses of what life was like for women living on the other side of the pond, in industrialised Britain.
It is perhaps one of Oke's most dynamic novels, but it is not without its flaws. . . In particular, the first half of the book is considerably better than the second half. As with some of Oke's other books, A Bride for Donnigan begins with a lot of momentum, but loses pace about halfway through the book.
Nonetheless, it is an entertaining and enjoyable read, definitely worth picking up sometime if you're after some pleasant light reading.Oh, and BTW -- since I first wrote the above I've wasted 10 minutes fooling around with the webcam on my laptop, taking snapshots of myself and just being wacky. . . I look so WEIRD in some of them! I'd post some of here were it not for (a) I think my parents would prefer that I don't post pics of myself online for safety reasons and (b) you'd all think I was bonkers because of the crazy faces I'm pulling -- seriously, I was laughing my head off at the silly faces I was making.
God bless you all! Now I must go to bed. . . I'm a bit tired, I woke up at 5:30 this morning for some reason. . .