A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl
Genre: Historical Fiction
If there was a book written with my exact brand of whimsy in mind, it was A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl. Regency era women looking for husbands in a location with no men? Heavy handed allusions to Jane Austen? Convenient plot devices to throw men into the girls’s paths? Sign me up!
The book was a delightful romp through Jane Austen’s regency era, with handsome single men, ugly villains, large dogs, and many happily ever afters. Kindl’s writing is tongue-in-cheek, but with a touch of fairy-tale ether thrown in. You know from the very beginning that there will be only happy endings, and the bad things that do happen will not be quite so bad. Sometimes that is just the kind of book I need.
My only complaint is that Kindl tried to include too many characters in a less than 200 page book. With eight girls at the The Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy alone, not to mention their teachers, add in suitors, friends, and others in the neighborhood and the number of characters inflated quickly. Unfortunately, this made the characters very one-dimensional–Miss Asquith is snarky, Miss Franklin is smart, and so on. I didn’t really care for any of them. The romances were lackluster because so little time was spent on each. BUT, I ended up enjoying the book because of the style.
A School for Brides is also the loose sequel to Keeping the Castle, but can easily act as a stand alone book. According to Goodreads, I read Keeping the Castle years ago, but I have no recollection of it. Characters from the first book recur in certain scenes, but that was the extent of reference to Keeping the Castle.
Overall, I highly enjoyed A School for Brides. If you’re someone who loves Austen-like tales and just needs to escape for a while, A School of Brides is for you.