The Brideship Wife
Leslie Howard

The Brideship Wife

Inspired by the history of the British “brideships,” this captivating historical debut tells the story of one woman’s coming of age and search of independence—for readers of Suzanne Desrochers’s Bride of New France and Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl.

Tomorrow we would dock in Victoria on the northwest coast of North America, about as far away from my home as I could imagine. Like pebbles tossed upon the beach, we would scatter, trying to make our way as best as we could. Most of us would marry; some would not.

England, 1862. Charlotte is somewhat of a wallflower. Shy and bookish, she knows her duty is to marry, but with no dowry, she has little choice in the matter. She can’t continue to live off the generosity of her sister Harriet and her wealthy brother-in-law, Charles, whose political aspirations dictate that she make an advantageous match.

When Harriet hosts a grand party, Charlotte is charged with winning the affections of one of Charles’s colleagues, but before the night is over, her reputation—her one thing of value—is at risk. In the days that follow, rumours begin to swirl. Soon Charles’s standing in society is threatened and all that Charlotte has held dear is jeopardized, even Harriet, and Charlotte is forced to leave everything she has ever known in England and embark on a treacherous voyage to the New World.

From the rigid social circles of Victorian England to the lawless lands bursting with gold in British Columbia’s Cariboo, The Brideship Wife takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through a time of great change. Based on a forgotten chapter in history, this is a sparkling debut about the pricelessness of freedom and the courage it takes to follow your heart.


Book Details:

  • Author: Leslie Howard
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • Canada: Simon & Schuster
Leslie Howard

Leslie Howard

Dubbed “the family story teller” from an early age, Leslie often made up tales in the back seat of the family car as she traveled the British Columbia backwoods campaign trail with her politician-father. During those “crazy car rides with Dad” she grew to love the people, the stunning landscape and the history of this unique part of the world, and she yearned to write about them. But recognizing that a career in writing would not pay the bills she chose finance instead. She earned a degree in Economics and Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario...
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Book Reviews

  • "The protagonist, Charlotte is a true heroine, a brave woman banished from the comfort of London society, to the wilds of Canada. In trying to lead an ethical life in the new world, Charlotte find more problems await her—problems with a distinctly modern flavour—powerlessness of women, ecological disaster, and the genocide of Indigenous peoples. How she overcomes those problems makes for a spellbinding read. It is refreshing that although set in the 1860s marriage is portrayed as an option rather than a career choice for women.  Charlotte is a capable heroine, competent to make her own way in the world.  Wonderfully suspenseful, right to the satisfying ending.  "
    Roberta Rich
  • "An enthralling story of a woman who leaves class-stratified, nineteenth century London society for the distant west coast of Canada, where our protagonist, Charlotte, hopes to find a husband, but through Howard’s incredible research, we experience numerous aspects of the new world. Charlotte’s concern for justice gives the story a refreshing, revisionist feel. A thoroughly enjoyable read."
    Suzanne Desrochers, Bride of New France
  • " Leslie Howard is a welcome new voice with a confident sense of story, place, and destiny in this engaging coming-of-age story."
    Anne Giardini, author of The Sad Truth About Happiness and Advice for Italian Boys
  • "This engrossing debut takes place, mainly, on a “brideship,” those little-known vessels that travelled from Britain to the colony of Vancouver Island ."
    Globe and Mail
  • "There’s a reason this well-researched read has landed on the Toronto Star bestseller list; it marks the arrival of a new talent on the Canadian historical fiction scene."
    Toronto Star