Molly Allen lives in Portland, but her heart is in Franklin, Tennessee—where she walked away from Ryan Kelly, a man she cannot forget. 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 Franklin, Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books. But when a flood tears through Franklin, destroying every book in The Bridge, the bank threatens to pull the lease on the store and claim the Barton’s house. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles unfold.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. The Bridge is told from multiple points of view in alternating chapters, allowing readers to hear from Molly, Ryan, Charlie, and Donna. How might the story be different if The Bridge was only told from by Molly’s perspective? Or from Charlie’s? Were you drawn to any one, particular character’s story?
2. Molly spends every Black Friday watching Ryan’s video, but she refuses to check his profile on Facebook or ask mutual friends about what he is doing. What does this tell you about her character? Why do you think she avoids learning more about Ryan, even though she still thinks of him?
3. In Chapter One, Molly regrets not telling Ryan that she loved him—acknowledging, “Like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, she should’ve said something.” (pg. 25) Yet Ryan also failed to tell Molly how he felt about her. What do you think holds each character back from revealing their true feelings? Do you have any similar regrets in your own life?
4. Charlie occasionally shares scripture with his customers, in particular Deuteronomy 20:1, which reads: “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you.” (pg. 33) Why do you think this passage in particular resonates with Charlie? How does this passage relate to the narrative as a whole?
5. What does The Bridge represent to each character? Do you think it is fair of Donna to urge Charlie to get another job?