The Brideship


218 pages
ISBN 0-7736-7474-8
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.


Impulsive 15-year-old Sarah, orphaned first by her mother and then by
her clergyman uncle, is eager to be one of the girls chosen by Matron
for a special, albeit unknown, mission. Older and wiser Cousin Maud,
despite her misgivings, allows herself to be persuaded to go along, and
the two, along with several dozen other inhabitants of the orphanage,
find themselves in the cargo compartment of the S.S. Tynemouth. Only
then do they learn their destination and ultimate destiny: the Canadian
gold fields as brides for the miners!

The wretched conditions endured by the orphan girls, due largely to
their unscrupulous guardian, Mr. Dubonnet, are portrayed realistically.
Intelligent Sarah, streetwise Lizzie, flamboyant and kind-hearted Bea
O’Toole, the others are brought to life vividly in the novel’s
pages. Sarah’s indomitable spirit, resourcefulness, and determination
allow her to overcome the obstacles in her path and to end up having the
“wonderful adventure” of her dreams.

Joan Weir has written an enthralling account of a little-known chapter
in Canadian history. This book would be a welcome addition to any public
or school library collection. It would be particularly useful as support
material for the intermediate-grade history curriculum. Highly


Weir, Joan., “The Brideship,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,