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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

This is a charming ‘second chance’ love story.

by Karen Kingsbury
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (October 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007EDZ08S
Genre: Christian Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Book Description Publication Date: October 23, 2012
The New York Times bestselling author of Learning and Leaving shares a heartwarming Christmas story about a devastating flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but her heart is back in Franklin, Tennessee, where five years ago she walked away from a man she cannot forget, a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.

Ryan Kelly lives in Franklin and spends plenty of time at The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—remembering the long hours he and Kelly once spent there.

     Now, Ryan and Molly’s favorite bookstore is in trouble. 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 eBooks. Then in May a flood tore through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. By Christmastime, the bank threatens to pull the lease on The Bridge and is about to take the Bartons’ house as well. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles begin to unfold.

Molly Allen enjoys her business in Portland but she lives alone and has never forgotten the young man she fell for in college. Molly had to push to get her wealthy parents to let her go away to college. After all, they had her future marriage and career laid out for her already. Molly was happy to get to study what she loved most -- music.  She met Ryan and they shared hours in a room at The Bridge, a charming and personal bookstore in Franklin.

Ryan came to college leaving a girl back home. They weren’t engaged but everyone figured they would be together.  Ryan played guitar and dreamed of touring with a country band.  He and Molly became best friends and shared things they had never told anyone else, including their dreams.

They grew closer and closer. Molly wondered if she could face her father to tell him she had her own plans for her future. Ryan realized he had to tell the girl back home that he had other plans for his life. But just as Molly and Ryan seem to recognize a love for one another a phone call and lies pushes them apart and quickly builds an emotional wall.

Neither has married and now, seven years later, a crisis in the life of a friend, Charlie, the owner of The Bridge, brings Molly and Ryan face to face again.  Will they be able to communicate and understand what happened? Will they risk their hearts to be together instead of continue their solitary lives?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story.  This was one of those circumstances where there was a real ‘failure to communicate.’ I admit there were moments when I wanted to fuss at both of them to talk to each other when they began to second guess the other’s feelings and failed to be honest and open.

I liked the way Ms. Kingsbury allowed the backstory to unfold in memories. It was soft, warm and poignant. The characters come alive in their emotions and vulnerabilities. The story of Charlie and Donna’s love and life was a lovely side journey, although I wanted to give Charlie a talking to also.

The writing is smooth and direct. This read very quickly. I enjoyed how the story portrays that God is in control of our circumstances and things will turn out right and good when we allow Him to work things out instead of trying to do it ourselves.  There is also a message for being honest and open and for forgiveness.

This story doesn’t release until October but I hope you will put it on your Holiday wish list as it is well worth the read.
Donna’s thoughts on the impending loss of the bookstore:
Sometimes the only way to fight through a situation was to walk.
Give up one dream and take hold of another. Location 375.
Ryan’s ultimate realization:
In that single moment he knew with absolute certainty that he’d based the last seven years on nothing more than a lie.
A wicked, ruinous, heartless lie. Location 1451.
I received this pre-release eBook through NetGalley.
The main setting is Franklin, Tennessee for my Where Are You Reading Challenge.

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