From Nesta Primeau:
It’s not exactly a love story – but Bride Ship Three explores different kinds of love – awakening physical love, transient love, love between friends and love for sale. It is threaded around the affection that three woman who would never have met while living in Victorian England develop for each other on a difficult voyage.
Val Fletcher Adolph’s historical novel leaves the reader feeling satisfied. There is not a single dull paragraph or moment of dead air as she explores the lives of immigrants facing life in a Canadian riverbank town. Men must face the elements (with plenty of alcohol to fuel their evenings) while women (trying to continue life with the conventions of England) indulge each other with tea in china cups.
The women who share top billing encourage each other to make no-nonsense decisions in colonial Canada. Elinor is an aristocrat who learns to focus on practicalities. With stiff upper lip and rigid posture, she faces the plight of a young family and develops courage to put up with disagreeable smells and dirty hands.
Rosie, the most sensible of the three becomes a successful “business woman”. Janet tends to act on whim but eventually finds her talent and greater maturity.
In 1862 there was a dearth of scientific information. Without a doctor in New Derby, childbirth was risky. Men believed coldheartedly that their wives could somehow influence their baby’s gender – and there were consequences for women who gave birth to girls. No one had heard of post-partum depression; new mothers suffered without diagnosis or treatment.
Perhaps Val’s book could have included a punishment for the clergyman who used the confessional to become sexually aroused. I was hoping for a result that revealed him publicly. My blood still boils.
Adolph allows us to hold a tumbler to the wall and overhear conversations of a by-gone era. It might be considered a scandalous revelation but Bride Ship Three is written with an overlay of innocence in a clear, non-judgmental writer’s voice.