Monday, July 28, 2014

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

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. 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 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.

My review:
   It has been years since I read a Francine Rivers novel, but my best friend raved about this, so I decided to give it a shot. I was not disappointed. This book is up there with Redeeming Love and The Atonement Child, her two best books, in my opinion.

  The book is set in the late 30's through the 50's, and Francine does a great job of developing the setting and plot for that time period. It was like stepping into the past while reading the book.

  The description of the town made me wish I lived in a town like Haven, and I loved the characters: Pastor Zeke, who was pretty much the pastor of the whole town. I loved the descriptions of his early morning walks, and although I love my pastor, found myself wishing I could go to this fictitious pastor's church. Then there is Joshua, a young man truly living a selfless Christian life, willing to wait and search for the love of his life, no matter how far she had gone. The book doesn't say so in so many words, but I felt Joshua was a picture of Christ and the way He waits and goes after His wandering children and takes us back no matter how far we had strayed. 

  And then there is Abra. A young girl who tried to find happiness in all the wrong places, while all the time it was waiting for her back home and in God.

  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it kept me up way too late last night as I was determined to finish it before bedtime, which made bedtime be around 2 am, but I didn't regret it. I found myself stirred and reminded of what a great love we have in Christ. Whether or not the author intended this to be a picture of Jesus and the love He has for His children, or not, I walked away with that picture.

  The only complaint I have about the book, is the length of the chapters. I wish they had been a little shorter, as it would have made finding a stopping place a little easier.

About the author:

New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist.

Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes—all best sellers—and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

Bridge to Haven is available from Tyndale Publishing.
I did not receive this as a review copy, but did receive it and am reviewing it as part of their summer reading program.