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The Little Bride

2.91 of 5 stars 2.91  ·  rating details  ·  960 ratings  ·  204 reviews
"A masterful debut... Evocative of Alice Munro, Amy Bloom, and Willa Cather" - Jenna Blum

When 16-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband, a handsome townhouse, and freedom from physical labor and pogroms. But her husband Max turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room so
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 6th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,668)
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Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Stories of early American pioneers creating new lives in the wild lands of the mid-Western plains are not new literary territory. Yet, the desolate environment provides an appealing backdrop for characters to test their mettle and authors to explore the themes of freedom and perseverance.
What Anna Solomon has accomplished in her debut novel, THE LITTLE BRIDE, is to take the familiar mail-order bride in the American Pioneer West story and add interesting twists based on little known, but actual,
Anna Solomon is a dear friend of mine and I had the pleasure of reading and critiquing early draft of this. I just finished re-reading the book (the published version!) this afternoon, and I am a bit's such a beautiful, brave, compelling book about such flawed and complicated people who feel so incredibly real. I love the evocation of weather in this novel (so hot and dry! And then, wow, so c-c-cold!), and the way Solomon makes this particular moment of history come alive on the ...more
Jan 26, 2012 Suzanne rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Julie, Laura
Recommended to Suzanne by: Edan L and NPR
A good solid 4.5. After I read Edan Lepucki’s review on GR a few months ago, I put this on my to-read list. Then a couple of weeks ago I heard the author discussing this on NPR and moved it to the top. Anna Solomon was talking about the historical background for her book, how Jewish pioneers in the 1800s were sent out to the West to homestead, inspired by the vision of creating “a new Palestine.” But alas, most had zero in the way of farming experience or training, no mentors to guide them or re ...more
The blurb on this is weird, because it makes this book sound like a coming-of-age romance. Instead, it's really more of a character portrait of a semi-unlikeable young woman. Minna is clearly going through the motions in her life, doing what is expected of her, and this is brilliantly reflected in the writing, which can come off stilted and almost suffocating at times. She is a selfish, often uncaring person, looking upon her surroundings and others as if from a distance, studying them almost as ...more
I just really did not enjoy this book very much. The writing wasn't terrible, although there were plot points and things I felt deserved more exploration and depth that were just abandoned along the wayside. The main character's utter selfishness was off-putting - she seemed to have an inner emotional life that was inaccessible to the reader (which is frustrating for me), and she really didn't grow in the slightest throughout the course of the book; she was still the same selfish person at the e ...more
Meredith Allard
This is my favorite type of historical novel to read: a novel that introduces me to a time I wasn't familiar with, a time I should know about. Because of my own Jewish heritage, or because of my fascination with the Pioneer era from my time in Boise, Idaho, I was drawn to this lyrical, poetic first novel by Anna Solomon.

Sixteen year old Minna Losk leaves Odessa--a difficult land of pogroms--to be a mail-order bride. Only she doesn't find the American life she wanted. Her husband Max is older, st
I really wanted to like this novel. I heard so many good things about Little Bride. From the Jewish literary community, and from people that attended BEA. I have also contacted the author, from her website to ask if I could review it. She sent me a copy.

But, I am sorry to say I did not enjoy reading it. I did not care for the characters, and I don't think the foul language was necessary.

In some respects the story reminded me of the novel, Away by Amy Bloom. Only because it was the hardships the
Viviane Crystal
Minna Losk has experienced much suffering by the time she's 16 years old. Her mother abandoned her father and her, and her father lives a tortured life between forgetting and memories that affect Minna until she lives her entire life surviving loss. Things are not much better after her father dies and she is shipped off to relatives and then a family who present as haunting, dysfunctional, and even mentally ill people. Her job is to be a serving girl. But lest one judge too quickly, these are Je ...more
Julia Reed
While i found the ending to be a little baffling, I did really enjoy "The Little Bride". It's a great, atmospheric read about a mail-order Ukrainian Jewish bride, arriving in America at the end of the 19th century. After imagining a house with a rich husband and servants who would save her from her life of drudgery and isolation, Minna is shocked to discover she's been sent to live with a widower with two sons in a dirty dugout in South Dakota. Lonely, but with no options, Minna tries to make th ...more
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 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.
Karen B
The Little Bride focuses on outcasts and what it must be like to voluntarily remove oneself from all that is familiar. This debut novel brings the reader into a world of isolation and hardship as seen through the eyes of several austere and solemn characters. Ms Soloman has a way with words, drawing the reader into Minna’s world and holding us hostage as we experience her hardships and pain.
From the very first chapter we feel Minna’s anxiety, her discomfort and even her shame while she is stripp
A pretty interesting treatment of the immigrant experience: a teenage Ukrainian Jewish mail-order bride arrives in South Dakota to live in a dugout with her devout (if not devoted) groom and his two teenaged sons. I really appreciated this very different treatment of the midwestern immigrant experience and have to admit I had never considered what it would be like to be a Jewish pioneer in the Dakotas before reading this book.

Also, I have to give the author some props for making the word "Iowa"
I can't remember the last time I read a book as beautifully written as The Little Bride. The writing is just exquisite!

The story, while fiction, is based upon real events I knew nothing about, the settlement of the west by pioneer Jews from Russia. I knew there were Jewish peddlers (that's how Goldwater's Department Store started) but I knew nothing about actual Jewish farming settlements. So that information was quite interesting. In fact, many small parts of the story were from the author's f
Romancing the Book
Review by Sarah L: 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 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 set
Whew. This was a really striking read -- actually the second story I've read recently about a mail order bride from Odessa. You know, the easiest thing to let slip from your mind about life three to five generations ago was how major a move was. People in Europe simply didn't pick up and leave their towns that often. Yes, they'd go to a big city for work here and there, but people didn't just leave the birthright that was their home town the way they do in America (in the past half century, anyw ...more
The Little Bride explores a piece of history I didn’t know much about: mail-order Jewish brides coming from Eastern Europe to marry men who had settled in the American frontier in the late 1800s. Minna, a 16 year-old from Odessa whose father died and mother abandoned her, takes a chance on a life in America with a man she has never met, as a means to escape her life as a housemaid. Max, a Jewish immigrant in South Dakota, sponsors her passage to America to be his wife.

This book is grim, grim, gr
This well structured and beautifully researched and written first novel is the product of obvious vetting by the Iowa Writers' Workshop, a complicated and richly detailed story of a young Jewish woman living in Russia/Poland who becomes a mail order bride and winds up in Sodakota. Minna is not exactly nice, but she is interesting for her honesty -- and unreliability. There are no details of how the characters look; that, and the nature of the conflict, give the book a biblical quality. My questi ...more
Beautifully written, here's a snippet:

And Minna could not summon a suitable anxiety. Inside the spirals of the wind, the whistling and growling, and purring and groaning, there was a silence. Her father had taught her this, how if you listened, it was there, how the noise of the wind was not in fact wind but all the things that were not wind being touched by it, and saying WIND.
(p. 240)

Some have labeled this book a love story. I disagree. There is little love in this book. It is an immigrant sto
A teenage Jewish girl from Odessa becomes the "mail order" bride of a middle age Jewish man living with his 2 adolescent sons in pioneer South Dakota. I didn't know whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. While I wasn't truly captivated it is a book that will live in my mind for a long time...maybe that is more captivation than eagerly read. The book seems real and raw in its depiction of the life that Minna endured. Read this book and see what you think?
I wanted to enjoy "The Little Bride". I liked the history in the book but this was a book that I could have put down and not picked up again. The beginning of the book is very bleak but I made myself keep reading to find out what happens to the main character. The book doesn't get any better. I didn't exactly want a happy ending but I did expect a more detailed ending. I don't recommend this book.
Erika Dreifus
This is an accomplished and fascinating novel on so many levels. Please see my interview with the author. (Copy supplied by the publisher.)
I picked up The Little Bride randomly, and as I was reading it I kept putting it down just to say "How have I never heard of this book before?" It's strikingly well written and the world it creates is vivid and thought provoking. I suspect the reason it hasn't gotten more popular attention is two-fold. 1) It is not a feel good story. The characters are flawed (but marvelously, realistically so), and the circumstances are bleak (but what did you expect from winter in the 19th century Midwest?). 2 ...more
Set in the 1880's, 16 year-old Minna Losk travels from the city of Odessa, in the Ukraine, to South Dakota as a mail-order bride for 40 year-old Max Getreuer. Minna's dreams of having her own house and handsome husband are quickly dashed when she sees the one-room sod house and Max's two teenage sons, one older than she. Minna struggles in her roles as wife and stepmother, and in trying to meet Max's Orthodox Jewish faith. But Minna also finds herself struggling with feelings for Samuel, Max's 1 ...more
Some of this book was well written, but I never connected with the characters.
Blodeuedd Finland
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 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 mai
Paul Pessolano
“The Little Bride” by Anna Solomon, published by Riverhead Books.

Category – Fiction/Literature

Minna Losk is sixteen years old, Jewish, and living in Odessa, Russia. She has lost her family and is now a servant for an older lady. She dreams of bettering herself and becomes involved in a mail order bride program.

She goes through a demeaning examination to determine whether she is an acceptable bride.

Minna, accepted into the program, dreams of finding a new life in Americas. She dreams of being wea
Jenny Shank

From the Old World to the Old West: A review of The Little Bride

The Little Bride
Anna Solomon
314 pages, softcover: $15.
Riverhead, 2011.

Anna Solomon's fascinating first novel The Little Bride begins in Russia in the 1880s, when Minna Losk, a 16-year-old orphan, signs up to become a mail-order bride. After the death of her father, Minna worked for a while as a maid for a once-wealthy woman. Now, however, with pogroms against Jews increasing in number and int
Chelsea Gammon
I won an advanced reader copy of this book, otherwise it would not have been the type of book I’d typically read. That being said, although I did not find it to be a story I fell in love with, or anything too spectacular, Anna Soloman’s writing style was solid, the descriptions raw and unique.

The book follows Minna, a sixteen year old Jewish mail-order bride, who is willing to take this gamble of marrying an unknown man in a foreign country in an effort to start a new, free life in America. I ne
It's been a while since I read a book by an author I met in person. It added an element of interest as i got to know this creature of my new acquaintance's mind, a young Jewish girl whose repeated abandonments drive her to sign up as a mail-order bride. Finally someone will want her. Minna ends up in the future South Dakota, betrothed to a 40-year-old Orthodox Jew farmer. Jews on the homestead. Who knew?

The Jewish colonists who come the closest to thriving in such harsh conditions are the ones w
The blurb on the cover did not impress but thankfully the book is quite different!
I am copying this from reviewer "Heidi" because she got it right!

"Mail-order bride develops an attraction to her new stepson? It sounded a little bit trite, even tawdry, honestly.

Thankfully, this book is neither. Evocative of Willa Cather's My Antonia, Solomon tells the story of Minna Losk in prose that is absolutely delicious. Minna flees the pogroms and poverty of late-19th century Russia, and journeys to the bar
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Anna Solomon's stories and essays have been published in The New York Times Magazine, One Story, The Georgia Review, Harvard Review, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere, and have received a Pushcart Prize. Previously, she reported and produced award-winning features for National Public Radio's Living On Earth. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and daughter.
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