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The Bridge:Updated Special EditionThe Bridge:Updated Special Edition
Karen Kingsbury
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Five years ago, Molly Allen left her heart in Tennessee when she walked away from the man she can't forget. Ryan Kelly spends much of his time in Franklin's bookstore, remembering the hours he and Molly once spent there. But when tragedy and trouble threaten to close the shop for good, what miracles will unfold?
     

 

 The Bridge Discussion Questions: Karen Kingsbury


 

Introduction

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?

 

 

6. Discuss Molly’s favorite book — Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Why is she so drawn to this particular novel? Does Ryan have the same connection with the novel as Molly does? What role does this classic piece of literature play in their relationship’s history? Have you ever read Jane Eyre?

 

 

7.     When Charlie’s loan application is rejected a second time, he thinks Donna might be better off without him. Were you surprised by Charlie’s suicidal thoughts?

 

 

8.     Although they are largely absent, father figures play an important role in the novel.  How might Charlie and Molly’s lives have been different if their parents were supportive?

 

 

9.     When Charlie is in a coma, Donna reads him messages from hundreds of customers about how much The Bridge meant to them. She believes Charlie can hear her and finds her faith restored. Do you believe Charlie understands? Does it matter if he hears, given the power the messages have for Donna?

 

 

10.      Both Molly and Ryan are guilty of hiding the truth, with Molly’s fake wedding ring and Ryan hiding her father’s call. What do you think would have happened differently if they had both been more honest with each other? Do you think they would be the same people had they started a relationship in college? Would Molly have her foundation, and Ryan his music?

 

 

11.     Why doesn’t Molly want Charlie and Donna to know she bought The Bridge? Why does she make sure Ryan knows the truth?

 

 

12.     Ultimately Molly and Ryan “thank the God of second chances.” (pg. 182) Yet, they are hardly the only characters offered another chance in the novel. How does this theme play a larger role in the narrative? Who else gets a second chance? Reflect on your own experience. When have you encountered a second chance?

 

 

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Arrange a visit to a local bookstore in your community and introduce your book club to the staff and owner. Take a moment to ask how they got into the bookselling business, why they choose to work in a bookstore, and ask for any new reading recommendations!

 

 

2. Charlie remembers reading Treasure Island in the library after school, while Molly remembers reading passages of Jane Eyre aloud. Have each member in your book club pick a book that has a specific memory tied to the reading experience. Where were you when you were reading this book? Why do you think you have a strong memory associated with this specific book? Has this book played a meaningful part in your life in anyway? Share and discuss your responses with your book club members!

 

 

3. Organize a drive with your book club members to collect used books to donate a school or a library in your community or to a larger charity organization.

 

 

4. The power of prayer plays a crucial role in The Bridge. Visit www.KarenKingsbury.com to become a part of Karen Kingsbury’s own prayer team. Read other reader’s prayer requests and submit your own.

 

 


 

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 Discussion Questions Shop
Discussion Question Index

A


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney

B


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker

C


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes

D


 • (The) Dance: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney

 F


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz

G


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray

H


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall

I


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee

J


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry

 K


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason

L


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews

M

 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer

N


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund

O


P


 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


R


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander

S


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser

T


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon