The Little Bride

by Anna Solomon

Book, 2011



Call number




New York : Riverhead Books, 2011.


Tells the story of a sixteen-year-old Russian Jewish mail-order bride who finds herself stranded in the prairies of South Dakota married to a man twice her age and falling in love with her nineteen-year-old step-son.

User reviews

LibraryThing member keycat
A really great debut novel by Anna Solomon. The story of a mail-order bride in search of a better life in America in the 1880’s. Sixteen year old Russian, Minna, travels across the ocean to America to marry. Unbeknownst to Minna, her future husband is twice her age with two teenage sons living in
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a sod hut in South Dakota.

Anna Solomon does an excellent job in painting a portrait of the brutal hardships of settling in early America. A beautiful, well written story that grabs the readers attention and fails to let go even after the final page is turned.
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LibraryThing member Candacemom2two
Okay, this wasn't the book for me. But I'm going to do my best to explain why.
First of all the writing style was really different. It was third person but told in a way that I just couldn't connect with the characters or the story at all. And on top of that I just didn't care for Minna. She just
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wasn't very like-able, in my opinion. She was in a tough situation but it seems like she could have handled things differently. I really felt no connection with any of the other characters either and was disappointed in how things played out. And then I felt no satisfaction with the ending.

Now, while I don't care for the style I can see how it would appeal to some. Anna is a good writer and some phrases used were quite beautiful and insightful. I found pieces that I was wanting to mark so I could come back to it. The characters kind of just 'fit' with the writing style and so it just kind of 'went together', you know? So it's just my opinion and taste that made me not care for it. It did make me more interested in learning about Jewish beliefs and customs. I really know nothing about them except they've always been persecuted. I really want to learn more about their faith. Also, I did giggle quite a bit while reading this because of some of the absurd situations. And I liked that. I found myself enjoying those bits and wishing for more of it.

If this sounds like one you'd like and you enjoy reading third person narration with a quirky tone then give it a try, I hope you enjoy it more then I did!
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LibraryThing member redmore
I thought this book could have given me so much more. I was disappointed in the depth of the characters. I thought the main character just was not developed enough to connect to on an emotional level. I thought the story jumped around with imature connections. Sadly this was just not a book I
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LibraryThing member mt256
The Litte Bride by Anna Solomon takes place in the late 1800s. The story begins in Odessa with the first glimpse of Minna. Minna is sixteen years old. She commits to a marriage that is arranged by an agency that fits wealthy, established Russian Jews with young brides. Although Minna is excited
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about her new life, she also has a lot of trepidation. However when she gets to America, Minna soon learns that things are not as she thought they would be.

Minna is the prominent character in this novel. Everything is told from her point of view. She is a well-written character with a range of emotions. She travels form Odessa to America in hard conditions. The only thing that really kept her hanging on is the new life promised to her in America. However Minna quickly discovers things are not as she thought. Her 'better life' is replaced by hardships and hard work. Not only that, her 'husband' is quite a bit older than she is and she's attracted to his oldest son who is closer to her age.

One of the things I love most about the novel is the detail that Anna Solomon puts into this novel. The way she describes everything from Minna's examination to the cold hard winters of North Dakota is phenomenal. She gave me a clear picture of what it must have been like during this time period. I think this really helps me understand the novel in a way I might not have before.

Overall I really like this novel. I was not familiar with this time period in history before I read this novel. I think Anna Solomon did a wonderful job showing the good and the bad. Her portrayal of the characters seems really realistic. This is a great book that is not only moving but also very insightful.
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LibraryThing member RtB
Reviewed by Sarah L
Review copy provided by Riverhead Trade
The Little Bride is the emotional story of 16 year old Minna Losk who agrees to be a mail order bride to an unknown man in America. She endures hardship after hardship. Despite all the misery she encounters at such a young age, including her
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mother's desertion, her infant brother dying and her father's death along with her aunts kicking her out of her home afterward, she has dreams of a better life.

Minna has dreams and visions of a wonderful husband and a fancy home with servants but reality sets in when she finds instead a barren, desolate prairie land in South Dakota and a 40 year old man with 2 teenage sons whose first wife deserted them. Life is very rough for Minna. It is obvious she is unhappy and lonely. Instead of trying to strike up a conversation with Minna to get to know her, Max and the boys do all their talking after she has gone to bed.

The author has an interesting writing style which is at first I found confusing, distracting and a bit hard to decipher which led to me to go back and re-read paragraphs and pages. After about the first 60 pages however, I was able to adapt and followed along much more easily from that point on.

This story takes an emotional toll on a person. The author does a good job making the reader feel the range of emotions Minna experiences. Unfortunately she has a very rough life and it is a bit disheartening to read about. It is a well-written story and the author portrays Minna's life very well however I found it difficult to stay interested.
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LibraryThing member ken1952
Don't let the cover art or the back description lead you into thinking this fine novel is just another ho-hum pioneer saga. Anna Solomon has written a dark, brooding story about Jewish immigration to the United States in the 1880s. Could make a gem of a book for reading group discussion. The
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characters are fascinating and the story is harsh and unforgiving. The great thing is it's in paperback.
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LibraryThing member 3goldens
Fascinating insights into why someone would choose to become a mail order bride. Raises lots of questions about just how far someone would go to survive. The Jewish heritage part of the story is an interesting aspect.
LibraryThing member Rdra1962
This book would have received a rated higher from me except that I just recently read the diary/book by Rachel Calof. The author of Little Bride cites Rachel Calof's story as one of her resources, but to me it felt like she just took that true story and created a fictionalized-soapy version. I did
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not like any of the characters in this book. I kept comparing Rachel to Minna, the Little Bride, and in no way did Minna compare favorably.
The rich and varied subject/themes of both books deserve to a much better novel.
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LibraryThing member blodeuedd
I think the beauty with this book was this quietness over it, this stillness and contemplation that what happens happens. Which also makes this one hard book to rate, because even if I liked the story and so on I would rate it one way. But then I look at the writing and the feeling and it has to
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have a better rating. Because it is just good.

The story is about Minna who is a servant in Odessa, bad times being a Jew there, or anywhere for that matter. So she signs with an agency and becomes a mail order bride. Poor Minna has hopes for a better life and she is not prepared for the harsh life of a farmer's wife. She could have managed but the thing is that her new husband is no farmer. He knows nothing at all and he is very strict orthodox and the farm suffers because of it. Well the hut, the mule, the cow and a little field that makes up the farm. But there is freedom there, freedom to be themselves. And this in a land where there is another people worse off than they are. The story is good, and I liked Minna and her silent suffering. Her husband is a good man, just too good and clueless. Her stepsons are nice too, but there we get the little bit of drama, attraction. Not to mention a winter of suffering as they have no food and it's cold.

The only thing I did not like was the end, it was ok, but that was just it. We got a little insight in what happens in her life. But I was not happy. Still, why should I be, she seemed happy and that is all that matters.

It is a book I recommend, because in the end I have not read a book like this. Yes sure I have read books about pioneers, but not about Jewish pioneers, and rules brings another dimension to this new life. Neither did I know about the am olam movement. And I do like a book that manages to teach me something too.

In the end, it is the author's voice that I like, and it is a great debut.

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LibraryThing member bookfest
In the opening scene of this book, Minna is undergoing a humiliating physical examination. The reader does not yet know that it is because she is to be a mail order bride. As the story evolves, we learn that Minna's mother abandoned the family and, eventually, her father dies. As a Jewish orphan
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living in a small town near Odessa, her options are few.

Transported to South Dakota, Minna is to be wed to a religious Jewish man twice her age. Max, or Motke as he prefers to be called, does not have a clue how to farm in this desolate land. His two sons, Minna's teenage stepsons, struggle with their father's obstinate ignorance to survive. Minna struggles to survive in her role as wife and stepmother. She is not always an appealing character, but one cannot help but be empathetic, given her plight.

This is an excellent historical novel illuminating an immigrant experience that is rarely told.
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LibraryThing member MHanover10
Every book I've read based on the prairie back in the 1800's has shown what hardships the people endured. The winters were so harsh they would run out of food or the snow was so high the animals froze and they only had tunnels of snow to walk through. Some tied rope between the houses and the barns
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so they could get through. This family is suffering because they wanted a new life and Max wanted to go it alone and be a farmer even though he didn't know what he was doing. Minna, has lost her parents and is a servant to an abusive woman. Why wouldn't she want something better for herself. She heads to America for a better life as I think a lot of women who have nothing do. When I read the cover of this book I saw several comments about it being a love story. But if it's a love story, shouldn't it have a nice ending. Instead it just ends and in a disappointing way. The descriptions are fantastic, you can hear the snow crack, see the dry and cracked ground. But you also feel for Minna and not be sorry for her at all. You want her to find a better life yet you wish she wouldn't be so selfish. Then again, I wonder if I would do exactly what she did in the same circumstances. It's an enjoyable book and well worth the read.
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LibraryThing member coolmama
A little disappointed by this interesting concept of a Jewish mail-order bride in the late 1880s sent to South Dakota.
The idea had a lot of potential, and a very underreported premise, I just found her storytelling to be sub-par. Needed more depth and character development; and many were extremely
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superficial and could have had a much more interesting back story.
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