Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Book Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury/4 Stars
Number one New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury delivers an instant classic with this heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.
Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.
Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.
For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.
Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?
The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.
In the past few years, I have shied away from reading books by Karen Kingsbury. To me, it seems as though she has been churning out books left and right, which has left much to be desired in the content of her stories. But on a whim, I decided to give her latest book, The Bridge, a try after seeing it featured on the new releases shelf at my library. Honestly, I'm very glad that I did.
I'm not sure why I connected so much with this particular story, but I think most of it had to do with the setting being in my home state of Tennessee. I remember the 100-year flooding events that occurred in my area of the state--Memphis--two years in a row. One of those years, it also affected Nashville. Truly, both years were horrible. There were so many people forced out of their homes, losing all they had in the world, not to mention the large amounts of damage that affected so much of downtown Memphis.
Maybe it was that remembrance of so many real people losing everything that helped me connect with Charlie, the owner of a small-town bookstore, The Bridge. His character was so kind and helpful, causing many of his customers to think of him fondly for months and years. But after the flood hit Nashville, he lost everything. With creditors breathing down his neck for rent payments and no stock for the bookshelves, the end of The Bridge was surely coming soon.
Paralleled with Charlie's story was Molly and Ryan's story--a tale of love lost. For two years, they met every day at The Bridge, mostly for studying and occasionally to discuss books. Slowly, feelings of friendship turned into something more, but each one was promised to another. It would take many years full of questions before either of them realized how they started down separate paths away from each other.
There were many times that I could've reached for the tissue box because of the feelings of despair, distrust, and loss woven throughout this story. Yes, there were moments of happiness, too, but this was a soul-searching journey that connected three people together through a small-town bookstore. In the end, I could honestly say that I was happy that I'd picked up this particular Karen Kingsbury novel. Here's hoping for many more tales from her just as good as this one.
**For more information about The Bridge, click here.
**For more information about Karen Kingsbury and her books, visit http://www.karenkingsbury.com/