Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Howard Books for providing an Advanced Reader’s copy.
The Bridge is the bookstore in Franklin, Tennessee run by Charlie Barton and his wife Donna. Housing old and new books, it is the haven for the residents of Franklin and has been for years. One particular couple has always stuck out to Charlie and his wife, Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly.
Molly and Ryan met in college and their friendship blossomed through spending all of their free time at The Bridge for the first two years of college. Both were struggling with their parent’s expectations and recognized in each other their talents and pushed each other to pursue their own dreams.
After their second year in Franklin, Molly unexpectedly leaves to return home to the west coast. Now seven years later, both have fulfilling careers but neither has forgotten the other. They are bound to each other through The Bridge and they both have a special place for the bookstore that brought them so many happy memories.
When The Bridge is flooded leaving all of the stock in ruins, Charlie and Donna find themselves facing horrible truths. The insurance won’t cover the damage and the bank won’t give them a loan. Charlie isn’t ready to let go of his dream but there aren’t other alternatives. Charlie contemplates suicide but in the end, can’t take his life.
When tragedy strikes, those who love The Bridge will come together and try to turn a tragedy into a second chance.
What I loved about The Bridge was the real struggle of a small town bookstore fighting to stay open. In the age of digital everything, it’s a real tragedy that happens all of the time. Book lovers everywhere can relate to having that one special bookstore where you can browse for new gems and old favorites, the smell and feel of the books evoking special feelings in us. E-readers can never take the place of feeling the weight of a book in your hands.
I thought The Bridge was a good book but it wasn’t something I would normally read. The message was one of hope and second chances but it was dripping with saccharine sweetness. Everything was wrapped up in a perfect bow with happy endings across the board. I love a happy ending as much as the next person but I need more depth to the story and in the case of Molly and Ryan, it wasn’t there for me.
Molly and Ryan were friends in college but neither has ever been able to forget the other and each carries a torch that the other doesn’t know about. There are misunderstandings and misinformation. Again, I can get behind a lost love but it’s been seven years and the feeling I got was that neither has dated in the time they’ve been apart. Seven years in which neither of them had a serious relationship or any relationship for that matter, it’s just not realistic to me.
Charlie Barton was the shining star in this book. His emotions bounce off of the page. His heartfelt dedication not just to the books he loves but to the customers is genuine and his struggle is realistic and authentic.
If you are looking for a heart-warming holiday read this may be the book for you. If you like more depth and background, I don’t recommend.