Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: Bridge to Haven

Bridge to Haven. Francine Rivers. 2014. Tyndale House. 468 pages. [Source: Library]

Filling his lungs with cool October air, Pastor Ezekiel Freeman started his morning vigil. He had laid out the route on a map when he first came to town. Each building brought people to mind, and he upheld them before the Lord, giving thanks for trials they had come through, praying over trials they now faced, and asking God what part he might play in helping them.

In 1936, Pastor Zeke finds an abandoned newborn baby under the bridge. He and his wife take the baby into their home for five lovely years. But when his wife dies, Pastor Zeke finds it too difficult to continue to care for Abra. For better or worse, he feels Abra deserves a better home, a home with a mom and a dad. There was another couple from the very beginning who wanted to adopt Abra. They have a daughter, Penny, and they'd always wanted her to have a sister. So he makes a difficult decision. To give away Abra. It's a decision that Abra does not understand at all. It's a decision that Joshua doesn't understand. Joshua has just spent five years of his life having a little sister, and, now she's gone and given away to another family!

Bridge to Haven is Abra's story start to finish. It's a very human story with touches of unconditional love and merciful grace. But it also serves as a testimony of the world's fallenness. Abra is emotionally troubled. She knows her mom left her on the side of the road essentially. She knows that her dad, Pastor Zeke, gave her away. From her point of view, she has no reason to trust her new mom and dad. She knows that more than likely it's just a matter of time before they want to be rid of her too. Her relationship with her sister, Penny, is a trial. The rivalry between these two is fierce. Abra does not know what it feels like to be loved and accepted. This is in part a perception issue. Abra doubts what people tell her. She can hear the words I love you, I want you, but she doesn't FEEL them to be true.

Abra learns lessons the hard way. And sometimes that is what it takes. Abra finds herself far from home, lost and confused, and full of regrets. Feeling a little shame for what led her to Hollywood leads her to making bigger mistakes, thinking that it is too late for her, too late to go home, too late to turn her life around.

I loved Bridge to Haven. I loved the community of Haven. I loved meeting all the people. I loved seeing Mitzi and Abra together. Mitzi's friendship provides stability, and, so does her tell-it-like-it-is honesty. Mitzi also teaches her to play the piano. Through spending years with Mitzi, she learns all the hymn in the hymnals. And it is the hymns that will speak to her in her lowest moments decades later. The setting, as I said, was fabulous. I also loved the characters of Pastor Zeke and Joshua. Readers get to know Joshua very well. The book even follows Joshua to the Korean War. I wasn't expecting that! But it was great to spend equal amounts of time with the hero and heroine.

I would definitely recommend this one!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible


Susanne said...

I really did enjoy this book too and loved the character of Mitzi!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I didn't love the last two of Rivers' novels I read, but your review makes me want to give this one a try!