The Little Bride by Anna Solomon

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 sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons. The country is desolate, the work treacherous. Most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson. As a brutal winter closes in, the family’s limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.

Visit Anna Solomon's official website, and scroll down to read our Twitter Book Club discussion with the author from February 21st! 

JewishBook: Twitter Book Club with @solomonanna startsssssss....... NOW! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook Hello, hello! #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna thx for joining us today! we really enjoyed The Little Bride-- it was so powerful! where did this story come from? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook I was Googling myself, actually. I know, it sounds prehistoric now... but I came across another Anna Solomon... #jbcbooks ½

SolomonAnna:.@JewishBook ...who was on a website called Stories Untold: Jewish Women Pioneers. I had no idea such a category existed! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna:.@JewishBook Anna Solomon founded a town called Solomonville, AZ. She wasn't mail-order bride, but another woman on the site was. #jbcbooks

SharonLikeStone: .@solomonanna were they all religious jews?? all coming to america to marry? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: @sharonlikestone They were religious to different degrees. Some came to marry, some had husbands. Many to escape persecution. #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna is that where the inspiration for minna’s character came from? #jbcbooks

BookGal102: .@solomonanna so did that website become one of your primary research sources? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@BookGal102 It was impt to my process, but really the book it led me to - Rachel Calof's MY STORY - was more central. 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@BookGal102 She was a mail-order bride to North Dakota. #jbcbooks 2/2

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook Rachel Calof definitely inspired Minna's STORY, but not so much her character. Rachel Calof was less hard-headed. #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@BookGal102 @JewishBook Amazing thing is, Rachel Calof's memoir was in a drawer for 50 years before her kids found it and... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: @BookGal102 @JewishBook ...had it translated from Yiddish. 2/2 #jbcbooks

MiriPomerantzD: .@solomonanna how much of the book was based on true events from your research? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@MiriPomerantzD Much of it (Minna being blindfolded through wedding party, the grasshopper plague, the Am Olam movement, etc.) #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna do you think the women felt they were entering better or worse circumstances than where they were coming from? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook Good question. Most expected to be. Though some were already in eastern U.S., living in cities, and probably... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook ...knew that they were in for a fair amount of discomfort as pioneers. Those that came from Eastern Europe... 2/3 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook often had no idea they were headed West - like Minna, they imagined themselves in cities, w/running water. 3/3 #jcbbooks

KaufmanCarol: .@solomonanna was anything like the colony ever successful? have any survived? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@kaufmancarol None survive up until today, and most failed within a few years, but some made it far into the 20th century... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: . @kaufmancarol ...including chicken farms in southern New Jersey, where there's still a community of Jews. Not chicken-farming, but... 2/2

ErikaDreifus: @SolomonAnna Have you heard from any of Rachel Calof's descendants about your book? Or from Am Olam participants' descendants? #JBCBooks

SolomonAnna: .@erikadreifus In San Diego and Denver, I had people come up to me saying their grandfather or uncle had been a farmer... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@erikadreifus but I didn't hear from any colony descendants. I did recently hear from a woman in Tuscon who has one of... 2/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@erikadreifus ...the original Anna Solomon's dresses. Invited me out to talk about the book. Says Anna's descendants in El Paso. #jbcbooks

NYCBook: .@solomonanna max’s religiosity seemed to be an obstacle--were there observant jews who succeeded in the "wild west"? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@nycbook There were - but not so many as straight-out farmers. Most wound up running stores, or doing business of some kind. #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@nycbook And while some were very orthodox, others adopted a quite secular life-style. There was as much variation as today. #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@erikadreifus I finally feel ready to contact Rachel Calof's family. Was afraid for a long time to get them involved... #jbcbooks

ErikaDreifus: @solomonanna Very cool! Hope that you'll get to both Tucson & El Paso! #JBCBooks

SolomonAnna: .@erikadreifus Heading to Tuscon in March! March 18, if you know people there, will be at Jewish History Museum #jbcbooks

ErikaDreifus: @solomonanna V. interesting. Would love to hear more in due course. #JBCBooks

MandellJCCArts: @SolomonAnna our book club @MandellJCC_CT read Rachel Calof's Story & loved it - so glad u r having so much success w your book #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: @MandellJCCArts @MandellJCC_CT Wonderful! I'm so glad to hear it - thank you for the kind words and support! #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna the book is such a survivor's tale- so much trauma to face! what was your favorite part of the book to write? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook I loved winter, because it was almost surreal - for the characters and me. Also, the last 30 pages or so... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook ...the end opened the book up for me, in terms of place, pacing, language. I just went with the momentum. 2/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook But yes, there's a lot of trauma. I kind of disassociate when I write much of the hardest stuff. #jbcbooks

NYCBook: .@solomonanna the book ends that minna “stayed long enough”--what does that mean to you? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@nycbook Great question, but I don't know that I should answer it! I purposefully wanted readers to read it each in his/her way. #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna do you think minna ever found what she was looking for? or is that one we'll have to decide for ourselves too! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook I think she does, actually. But it's not what she thought she was looking for when she started out. #JBCbooks

NYCBook: .@SolomonAnna that makes sense :)

SharonLikeStone: .@solomonanna did you secretly want Minna and Samuel to run away together? i thought your ending was fitting... but still! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: . @sharonlikestone Of course! Earlier on, I thought it would happen. But it just wasn't in Samuel's character. Wouldn't be true. #jbcbooks="#!>="#!>

BookGal102: .@solomonanna do you view minna as a sympathetic character? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@BookGal102 @JewishBook Of course. I couldn't have written her if I didn't. That said, some readers have a hard time... 1/2 #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@BookGal102 @JewishBook ...with how selfish she can be at times. Book clubs have a great time debating this. She's a survivor. #jbcbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna if you had to blurb your own book, what would you say about it? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook That's impossible! Harder than writing one's own cover copy. I might quote from a blogger who reviewed it and said... #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook ..."Little House on the Prairie combined w/ Fiddler on the ROof as midwived by Virginia Woolf." 2/2 #JBCbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna hahahaha ok, we'll accept that. wonder if @Shteyngart could beat that one! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna:.@JewishBook I am indeed. More historical fiction, which wasn't what I intended. New book is set in 1920s, Gloucester, MA... 1/2 #JBCbooks

SolomonAnna:.@JewishBook hometown. There's an abandoned baby, illegal alcohol, a shipwreck... high drama!! #JBCbooks

MiriPomerantzD: .@solomonanna is it another one for Jewish Book Council? #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@MiriPomerantzD Oh yes, there are Jews, too. One family that variously calls itself Heschel, Hirsch, and Haven. #JBCbooks

JewishBook: .@solomonanna Well alright! Add in some vampires and it will be a bestseller for sure! ;) High drama indeed! #jbcbooks

SolomonAnna: .@JewishBook Ha! Thanks for the chat - this was a lot of fun! #JBCbooks

JewishBook: Thanks to @solomonanna for joining us today! Looking forward to our next Twitter Book Club w/ author @NathanEnglander!