This was my first time reading a Francine Rivers novel and I loved it! In fact, I could barely put the book down. The characters were real and believable, the story was compelling, and the message was absolutely beautiful and encouraging. Truly, it's a must-read!
"Bridge to Haven" tells the story of Abra, lovely but wounded. As a baby, she is abandoned under a bridge where the local preacher finds her. He and his wife adopt her, even though he has misgivings--his wife's health isn't good and he doesn't think she can handle the demands of a baby... then a toddler... then the high-spirited little girl Abra becomes. Her adopted mother dies and her daddy gives her away to some family friends. My heart broke for Abra. After some time, the only daddy she ever knew doesn't even seem to want to see her anymore! Later, as the story unfolded, I was on the edge of my seat as I turned every page. I was gripped with Abra's life as she searched for love and approval from everyone. She put herself on a pedestal, she sought perfection, she tried to please those closest to her to earn their love. As a teenager and later as a young woman, Abra doesn't feel at all like she belongs in her small town of Haven. She ends up in Hollywood, pursuing stardom, living a life giving into any temptation she feels like giving into, essentially trying to fill her heart with something... anything... anyone... who might be able to fill it. After she ends up burning every bridge back to Haven, she realizes she wants to go back but it seems impossible. The story is riveting and, in the end, it has such a message of hope! In my own life, I recently made quite a mess of a certain something but God has been filling my heart with hope just as He showed Abra in this story--hope that He can somehow turn the mess she made into some part of His beautiful plan, and the truth that He can replace "sorrow and shame" with "everlasting joy" (Isaiah 61:7). Abra seemed real, I loved her, she felt more like a "friend" than most book characters I've met, and reading her story was a blessing to my heart. I enjoyed this book so much! Read it!!
Bridge to Haven begins with a newborn baby girl found abandoned under the bridge to the town of Haven. A large part of the book takes place in Hollywood which is not my favorite setting but it was interesting. The last third of the book was definitely the best part. Francine Rivers never fails to bring her characters to life and make you feel their emotions. The ending did contain an element of surprise for me. Francine Rivers has written another poignant story of God's unconditional love and forgiveness. I received this book through the Tyndale Rewards Program.
Francine Rivers' new larger-than-life novel, Bridge to Haven, is a powerful and intense story of a seventeen-year-old girl who is unable to get a grip on her life. Rebellious, she has been struggling all through her young life, physically and emotionally. Her life in the small town is filled with boring study, mundane chores and practicing the piano, and she is stiff tired. She believes Haven, California, is the dullest place on earth. She is dreaming to escape the drudgery of her life by moving far away to a big city, even dreaming of Hollywood and becoming a movie star. Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers is an incredibly poignant and soul-searching story - a sweeping tale of love, forgiveness and redemption. It is the story of a newborn baby who was found one night in 1936 under a bridge by Haven's minister Ezekiel Freeman. Zeke and his wife Marianne named her Abra. Five years later, Marianne dies forcing Zeke to give up on Abra to be adopted by Peter and Priscilla Matthews. So, Abra Matthews grows up under their watchful eyes but the searing imprint of her childhood left an agonizing scar on her. "I've been hurting my whole life," she said. Years later, when a wily character Dylan Stark tempts her with the idea of trying their luck in Hollywood, she is seduced. She runs away with him, rejecting the advice of family and friends. She receives a make-over and becomes a starlet with a new name Lena Scott. But what initially promises to be an exciting journey brought her much heartache and disappointment. Everyone wants to exploit her, including her boss Franklin Moss who later committed suicide. Her life falls apart, leaving her painfully aching for the love and comfort of Haven and the dear people back home. But when all seems lost, things can fall together miraculously beyond the hope of one's imagination. Joshua, the young son of Zeke who is deeply scarred by his experiences in the Korean War, is growing restless and wants to bring back Abra. His search brings him to Agua Dulce, and there in the most unlikeliest of all places they meet again. Abra was in her motel room, resting and reading the Gideon Bible. Every reading seems to point to her guilt. When Joshua brings Abra home to Haven, Zeke is praying on the bridge, almost as if he is waiting for her. Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers is inspired by the biblical story found in Ezekiel 16. It is a compelling story that will resonate deeply with readers. It is based on the life of 1950s Hollywood starlet Lena Scott, whose real name was Abra. Francine has meticulously researched about the lifestyles in the forties and fifties, Hollywood studios and stars, Second World War, the Korean War and many other details necessary to craft a realistic and believable story. It is an incredibly delightful story with memorable character that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Francine Rivers is one of my favorite authors; I am drawn to her books, and find that once I pick them up, I can't put them down! This book was no exception. Rivers' writing is real. Her books draw you into the characters' lives, and their journeys are so relatable. I was captivated by Abra and was moved in many ways by this book. I highly recommend.
I couldn’t finish this book. Between the angst, teen drama, & aggressive, seductive males, I was too repelled to make it past page 120. This book may have redemptive qualities, but it came too late for me.
I have read all of Francine Rivers' books to date, and think very highly of her as an author. However, her latest book, Bridge to Haven, was very disappointing. I had to stop reading it less than a third of the way through, because of the sexual content and all-too-vivid descriptions. I felt like I was reading "soft porn!" I never expected to be accosted in that way by one of her books. I don't know what the purpose was in including those scenes, but I found them offensive. I returned the book to the store for a refund.
Francine Rivers is one of my absolute favorite authors and I really enjoyed this book. I think the only thing that really bothered me was that the sex scenes were a little too graphic. It's a beautiful redemption story that is encouraging.
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. She’s 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’ 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 reader’s 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.
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. It’s a story you can’t forget. I predict it will become a blockbuster like Redeeming Love. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It’s a 5-star must read. Bridge to Haven has been added to my Top Ten for 2014 and My All Time Favorites List.
This is a book you won’t want to miss and won’t soon forget. It’s one that will make you think; give you courage and hope, for no matter what you face. I highly recommend it.