A gripping debut teeming with drama and scathing insight into the world of an all-girls private school…
For years, Audrey Brindle has dreamed of attending George Eliot Academy, the school where her mother, Ruth, has taught for a decade. But when she is finally admitted, she discovers a place of sly bullying, ferocious intolerance, and bewildering social standards. Ruth, meanwhile, finds her world upended by her attraction to a new teacher, and the ambitions and desires of both mother and daughter find themselves on a collision course.
An acutely observed exploration of betrayal, cruelty, and fallen idols, The Eliot Girls deftly explores the intimacies and injustices of privileged female adolescence and the relationship of a mother and daughter for whom life will never be the same.
“Bridge expertly navigates the complexity of Ruth and Audrey’s changing relationship. She poses larger questions about the value of duty and honor, both to one’s family and oneself. Ultimately, both mother and daughter have much to learn from each other. A patina of restraint and deeply buried resentment infuses every passage and short, meaning-laden exchange.”
“What happens at the Eliot school does happen at public high schools too, where there are in-crowd groups and peer pressure and every teenage girl goes through experiences similar to Audrey’s. Bridge makes it easy for us to understand Audrey and this, coupled with the graceful prose of The Eliot Girls makes it an admirable read.”
“Perhaps most affectingly, The Eliot Girls portrays women inhabiting roles society largely deems unacceptable or unsavory. Bridge expertly takes us there—to Ruth’s guiltless desire for her lover, to Audrey’s willingness to be used by the school’s most powerful students. Moments that explore these often hidden aspects of a woman’s life and psyche are rendered without judgment. Rather, Bridge offers them artfully and with an appropriate amount of melancholy. One is left a little bare, a little lost—but also somewhat hopeful for what comes after the veneer is peeled away.”
“With graceful echoes of George Eliot, Bridge’s finely crafted novel distinctively and deftly conjures a world both familiar and fresh, exclusive yet easily recognizable to us all.”
– Writers Trust of Canada Jury citation
“With shrewd assurance and a keen eye, Krista Bridge peers through the layers of private school politics and turns The Eliot Girls into a quietly devastating study in human foibles.”
–Trevor Cole, author of Practical Jean
Douglas & MacIntyre, Canada, June 2013
Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Finalist for Amazon.ca First Novel Award