To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she's paid to finally feel like she's somebody. To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven, a sleepy little town in Northern California. Zeke and his son, Joshua-Abra's closest friend-watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what's expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at a devastating price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.
To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price shes paid to finally feel like shes somebody.
To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, JoshuaAbras closest friendwatch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns whats expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.
In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.
This is a book you wont want to miss and wont soon forget. Its one that will make you think; give you courage and hope, for no matter what you face. I highly recommend it.
Why you should read it: If you are looking for a sweet little Christian romance with a mild theme of redemption, youd better look elsewhere. Bridge to Haven is one of the edgiest Christian romances I have had the pleasure of reading in a long while. Francine Rivers has woven a deeply moving story with an adept hand that knows just how to layer humanity, in all its beautiful and ugly truth, into almost every individual who steps onto the page. This story takes Abra to some very dark places before a pinprick of hope breaks through.
Some scenes (even one post-redemption scene) might be considered almost graphic by inspirational/Christian romance standards, but that does not mean those readers should shy away. Francine Rivers writes these sorts of scenes in a way that puts the reader in the moment, but allows her to depart without feeling soiled by what she witnessed therein. There is beauty and meaning to be found throughout this emotion-gripping story, even in the contrast between Abras bedroom experiences.
Longtime fans of Francine Rivers will not be disappointed in this painful, moving, and triumphant tale of redemption. For those who have not yet given this best-selling legend-of-an-author a try, I highly recommend Bridge to Haven.
In Rivers exquisite style, she takes the Biblical story of Ezekiel 16 and translates it into a character-driven tale set in the 30s through the 60s. Relating the experiences of the characters to the readers relationship with God takes the story to the next level. Richly detailed, at times disturbing, but completely real and dynamic, this is a book to savor.
Rivers (Redeeming Love) returns with a page-turning recasting of the story of the prodigal son, here a prodigal daughter. In 1936, Abra Matthews is found as a newborn under a bridge in the small California town of Haven by Pastor Ezekiel Freeman. Shes taken in, but never feels as if she quite belongs, so she is susceptible to a beguiling young man who years later lures 17-year-old Abra to Hollywood. There, she becomes starlet Lena Scott, made over by a Pygmalion-like agent who wants everything from her, even while Abra/Lena comes to understand the cost of what she thought she wanted. Rivers nicely evokes 1950s Hollywood, with its gossip columnists, high-wattage movie stars, and ladder-climbing aspirants; Elvis Presley and Lana Turner put in cameos. This story arc will be particularly resonant for Christian readers, but Rivers has the writing ability to reel in others who enjoy a well-told tale of redemption.
In Rivers (Her Daughters Dream, 2010) latest inspirational tale, Pastor Zeke feels compelled to walk to the bridge at the edge of Haven, his small Northern California town. There he discovers an abandoned newborn infant. The year is 1936 and his wife, Maryanne, her heart weakened by rheumatic fever in her childhood and advised against another pregnancy, wants to keep the child. They name her Abra. Five years later, Maryanne dies and Pastor Zeke gives Abra up for adoption to friends. Abra ends up feeling rejected by her birth mom and the pastor, and never bonds with her adoptive family. Joshua, her best friend, goes to war in Korea with a MASH unit, and she runs away to Hollywood and becomes a starlet under the tutelage of an agent who sees her as his Galatea. Hollywood success fails to make Abra feel whole and wanted, and she has no idea that Joshua is looking for her. Rivers persistent Christian message will please readers who are seeking fiction with a repeated and strong message about redemption and salvation.
When Pastor Zeke Freeman finds a newborn baby abandoned under a bridge, he brings the child home and names her Abra. Although his wife, Marianne, is not well, she accepts the responsibility of caring for another child gladly. However, by the time their young charge is five, Marianne dies, and Pastor Zeke gives Abra to another family to raise. The girl is heartbroken and angry. By the time she reaches high school, the teen is already on a troubled path. Hooking up with the charming Dylan, she is off to find fame and fortune in the movie business. Her exotic looks take Hollywood by storm, and she soon realizes how fast life moves in Tinseltown, even in the 1950s. But success exacts a dreadful price, and now all she wants to do is return to Haven and the people who have always loved her.
VERDICT This is another compelling and moving story by one of the genres most honored and talented writers. Abra is realistically crafted, and her storybased on Ezekiel 16is poignant and bittersweet. Essential for Riverss many fans.
Francine Rivers is perhaps the best novelist of our time. In Bridge to Haven, she quickly captured me with her characters and pulled me into the story of this prodigal daughter. Its a story you cant forget. I predict it will become a blockbuster like Redeeming Love. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. Its a 5-star must read. Bridge to Haven has been added to my Top Ten for 2014 and My All Time Favorites List.
When I was first given a copy of Redeeming Love and was told I MUST read it, the rebellious side of me tried not to (I wasnt a fan of Christian fiction). But I was soon gripped by the tale of undeserved love and grace that the re-telling of the story of Hosea and Gomer revealed. And the same has been true for every other Francine Rivers book I have devoured since.
I must say Francine has done it again. I am always totally blown away by the worlds that her huge novels create. Each one is based around a totally different era and situation and yet she expertly crafts a totally plausible and utterly believable backdrop for her characters. It is obvious why she is a bestselling author, as she knows her craft so well.
Francine often has at the heart of her books the eternal story of redemption and grace. This newest one reminded me a little of Redeeming Love, in that it focused on one girls journey. She makes so many huge mistakes, but ultimately finds her way home again.
The book begins with Pastor Zeke discovering a little girl, just born, abandoned by the bridge into Haven. Taking her in for her first years, he eventually feels he must give her to another family from his church to raise. Devastated, Abra kicks back against the situation, feeling that it is just another instance of her being abandoned. You can sense the deep hurt on both sides, but also the integrity as the pastor tries to do what he feels is right.
Eventually Abra grows into a beautiful young woman, but when a fast-talking, fast-driving boy turns up in town that both she and her sister fall for, it is she that turns her back on all she has known and runs away with him. Abra soon learns lifes lessons the hard way as she is used and abused by the boy.
Ending up in Hollywood, Abra becomes a rising acting starbut only due to a controlling agent desperate to make a comeback.
There are so many things that spoke to me in this story. It is obviously about temptation, grace and unconditional love. However it is also about making mistakes and having to live with the consequences, feeling helpless, lost and alone, what it is like to have to let go and watch someone make decisions you know arent good for them, learning to grow up and take responsibility, having to face those youve hurt (and those people face you). Even though the book was set in 1950s America, the themes are universal and timeless.
I felt drawn to the parts of the novel that I could relate back to situations and circumstances Id come across in my own life, but it also ultimately urges you to reflect on your own salvation and the fact that we have a loving Father who beckons us with unconditional lovewhatever weve done.
Francine has a way of drawing you into the world she has created and I found myself reading faster and fasteroften missing little bits and having to go back because I was so eager to find out what was going to happen.
If I have one criticism (and Im really having to scrape the barrel here as I think Francine is an incredible writer) it is that, because her books are often based on the wider Christian story of redemption, they can be a little predictableas you know what is going to win out in the end. However, although the ending of this book tied up a lot of the story in ways I was expecting there was one part I hadnt seen coming at all. So that little shock made the read even more pleasurable.
Bridge to Haven is out now from Tyndale House Publishers. If youve never read any of Francine Rivers books then go and discover them for yourselfyou are in for a real treat.
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