Book Review: ‘Bridge to Haven’ by Francine Rivers

From the back cover:

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.

My review:

I haven’t read a Francine Rivers’ book I didn’t like. I’ve been following Francine on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest on the release of her new book, Bridge to Haven, which hit stores on the 22 April 2014. Despite being thick enough to knock someone out (a handy bedside weapon if ever needed), I read it within two days, almost non-stop. I even read it while eating breakfast, which might be a first for me.

Before I get into my review, I just have to say how much I love the cover of this book!

The story follows Abra through her childhood up until her mid-twenties, and it is not for the faint hearted. The heartbreaking experiences in Abra’s formative years cause her to pull back from others and seek her identity elsewhere. Her need to ‘be somebody’ leads her away from family and God and into the arms of men who only want to use her. This part of the book was hard to read, mainly because I really sympathised with Abra and felt her pain. Those familiar with Francine Rivers’ books will know that she writes about difficult topics such as sexual sin and abuse in a very ‘real’ way.

The saving grace in the book is Abra’s childhood friend, Joshua. His patience with Abra and unconditional forgiveness are inspiring – a picture of Jesus’ love (If you’ve read ‘Redeeming Love’, his character is very similar to Hosea). There are many other heartwarming and colourful characters that paint a vivid landscape for the story.

There were only a couple of minor issues I had with the book, such as some head-hopping in one of the latter chapters in the book. There was also a ‘twist’ at the end of the book that seemed to be quite rushed.

Just as a side note, my husband thought the name Abra was strange and asked me if her last name was ‘Cadabra’ (it isn’t, by the way).

Also, as a word of caution, there is a marital love-making scene in the book, although it is described in sensual rather than physical language so I didn’t feel it was inappropriate, but others may feel differently.

The themes of God’s forgiveness and acceptance are present throughout this book, and make for a challenging but inspiring read. Recommended for those who enjoy Christian romance books without puppies and rainbows.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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