Friday, December 4, 2015

"the bridge" by karen kingsbury

A few years ago, I had a public breakup with Karen Kingsbury. (Well, as public as airing my complaints on my blog is—I'm certain Kingsbury doesn't know or care that I stopped reading her novels.)

Sometimes I wondered what it would take for me to read another Kingsbury novel—after the Cody-Bailey-Brandon debacle at the end of the Bailey Flanigan series, I completely lost interest in Kingsbury's novels.

I now have my answer: It would take the Hallmark Channel turning one of her books into a movie. They've done just that with Karen Kingsbury's The Bridge, which premieres this Sunday night. Suddenly, I realized that I wanted to read The Bridge before seeing the movie. Fortunately, the school library had a copy I could check out—my own copy (purchased but never read) disappeared.

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 relationship and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. Sometimes when he's lonely he visits The Bridge - The oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin - and remembers the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For more than four decades, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing customers with coffee, conversation, and shelves of classics - even through dismal sales and the rise of digital books. Then the hundred-year flood sweeps through Franklin and destroys everything. The bank is about to pull the store's lease when tragedy strikes.

Now the question remains: Can two generations of readers rally together to save The Bridge? And is it possible that an unforgettable love might lead to the miracle of a second chance?

Hmmm...I may have to rethink that breakup now, as The Bridge has reminded me what I loved about Kingsbury's writing in the first place. She has a way of creating characters who feel so realistic, and it only takes a short time for me to become completely wrapped up in their worlds. (Hence my *cough* passionate *cough* feelings about the lives of fictional characters Bailey, Cody, and Brandon.) I read The Bridge very quickly because I simply could not put it down.

I loved the way Kingsbury slowly revealed Ryan and Molly's relationship through flashbacks interspersed throughout the present-day story, and, though I accurately guessed early on how The Bridge would be saved, that hunch didn't make the journey through the novella any less sweet.

If I have one complaint, it would be that I wish the story would have been told solely from Molly's, Ryan's, and Charlie's perspectives. The sections told from Charlie's wife Donna's perspective didn't grab me the way the other sections did. But overall, The Bridge is an excellent, heart-tugging novella, and I cannot wait to watch the film! 4-1/2 stars.

Note: Film-version Ryan is played by Wyatt Nash, who I thought looked very familiar, so I IMDb'd him. Nothing there that I would have seen, so I dug a little deeper ... and discovered that his real name is Matt Elrod, and under that name he's best known for getting blindsided twice by Boston Rob on the Redemption Island season of Survivor, which I binge watched earlier this fall.

Buy the novella.
Read my reviews of Kingsbury's Longing (if you dare!), Waiting for Morning (5 stars), and The Beginning (a prequel to The Bridge; 3-1/2 stars).

Karen Kingsbury is a #1 New York Times Bestselling novelist with more than 25 million books in print. She is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller as her last dozen novels have hit top spot on national bestseller lists. Several of Karen’s books are in production as theatrical and Hallmark original movies. 

Karen lives in Nashville with her husband and five sons, three of whom were adopted from Haiti. They live nearby to their actress/designer daughter who is married to Christian recording artist Kyle Kupecky.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I checked this book out of a library and chose to review it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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