The Forever Bridge
By: T. Greenwood
Publication Date: 2/24/2014
My Rating: 5 Stars
With eloquent prose and lush imagery, T. Greenwood creates a heartfelt story of reconciliation and forgiveness, and of the deep, often unexpected connections that can bring you home.
Sylvie can hardly bear to remember how normal her family was two years ago. All of that changed on the night an oncoming vehicle forced their car over the edge of a covered bridge into the river. With horrible swiftness, Sylvie’s young son was gone, her husband was permanently paralyzed, and she was left with shattering blame and grief.
Eleven-year-old Ruby misses her little brother, too. But she also misses the mother who has become a recluse in their old home while Ruby and her dad try to piece themselves back together. Amid all the uncertainty in her life, Ruby becomes obsessed with bridges, drawing inspiration from the strength and purpose that underlies their grace. During one momentous week, as Hurricane Irene bears down on their small Vermont town and a pregnant teenager with a devastating secret gradually draws Sylvie back into the world, Ruby and her mother will have a chance to span the gap between them again.
A special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
T. Greenwood, at the "Top of Her Game!" A long-time fan of talented T. Greenwood, "master storyteller," deftly combines lyrical prose, beautiful metaphors, and heartrending human emotions of the heart, with precision, insight, and depth—once again, delivers an extraordinary story. THE FOREVER BRIDGE, a complex, wrenching, yet uplifting novel of loss, forgiveness, and healing. Two broken and imperfect families, three broken women torn apart by tragedy—desperately struggle to bridge the gap between past and present, evil and kindness, grief and survival, loss and love. Set in quaint fictional town of New England’s Quimby, Vermont, two years after the imploding of a family, left dealing with the aftermath. The night when certainties were shattered; a one-way bridge, rain, snow, water, another car forcing them off the road, one winter night, a family of four. The night the world changed, when all those safe, soft places became terrifying and dangerous. In an instant, a tragedy, an accident; taking the life of Jess, a beloved son, a brother; Robert, a former EMT father and husband, left in a wheelchair with no legs. Sylvie, the mother, now a recluse, suffering from agoraphobia, living alone, a broken marriage; Ruby, a daughter, a sister--a gifted, eleven-year-old living with her dad and uncle; with only one friend, Izzy, and a town feeling sorry for this sad and weird family, leaving her embarrassed to go to school. Sylvie, a former midwife, wife, and mother of one, instead of two. She is panic stricken, a recluse, PTSD, she barely can get out of bed, has no phone or tv, and has allowed her yard to grow up with raccoons living on her porch. She does not have the strength to be a mother to her own daughter. OCD when it comes to cleaning the interior of the house scrubbing to perfection. Insomnia, living off pills to get her through the day. Her only pastime is taxidermy, specifically birds another strong metaphor. One way opens to the world and the other shuts it away—she chooses shut. Ruby misses her little brother, she misses the way her mom was before the bridge, the night; she feels sorry for her dad in a wheel chair. She is alone, scared, and just wants normal. She wants to go home. Her mom is sick and will not leave the house, her dad wants them to move away, and her best friend is now mean.However, she is going to build a bridge; sketching, researching, planning... As the book opens, her father has to go on a trip with her uncle Bunk to the NC coast for a family emergency, and she is left with her mom out in the rural country, and the only way to town, is her bike. Ruby has only one friend Izzy and now she is about to lose her to another girl from school, Marcy and she is the third wheel. A gifted student, Ruby is obsessed with bridges, drawing inspiration from the strength and purpose and working on a special bridge state championship, sketching and creating. She longs to build a bridge which will last, one which will not crumble, like the people in her life. Presently, she has secret, Nessa. She has to help. She has a purpose. Nessa, a poor, mute, lonely pregnant teen of seventeen, has no one, living off the streets, and decides to return home. She has been on the run for two years. She leaves Oregon on a bus to return to Vermont. However, when she arrives, her family is no longer here. Her mother and grandfather gone. Alone, she has spent years with the wrong man, abused, drugs, regrets - with only a backpack, no money, she only has a piece of paper with a man’s name and phone number. A baby will be coming. Silence. She has a past she is not proud of and has to make things right. She finds a cabin near the river and hides out. Someone at the diner told her about a midwife. Then she meets Ruby. As impending Hurricane Irene approaches the east coast, the tension and suspense builds as we see the powerful strength and determination of three damaged and flawed women caught up in their own emotional storms of life – for a shocking and powerful conclusion as the three lives intersect. Finding their own road home. Powerfully written, an emotional account of the inner strength of women, friendships and mother/daughter dynamics and intimate relationships -- Leaving the past behind, burning bridges; something lost has been found. Something stolen has been returned. T GREENWOOD BOOKS: If you have read any of T. Greenwood books, you know she is unique (no author can write like her), the "queen" of eloquent prose and lush imagery, tackling complex stories of humanity —breathing hope, joy, and life into the pages, offering extraordinary insights and depth. This is my seventh book by Greenwood and find many of her books are centered around water and elements of the earth and sky, set in Vermont; each with profound meanings and metaphors. In this mesmerizing novel, the theme of bridges and the building of bridges is apparent throughout THE FOREVER BRIDGE as well as fate, loss, silence, and home; how the storm threatens all the characters and force them into action in their search for healing. Loved all the passages and metaphors of bridges. "A bridge is can be mysterious, intriguing, yet beautiful. People fear bridges. They are meant to connect people. Bridges fail. Something supposed to create a safe passage becomes a death trap. Sometimes people fail. No matter how safe you are, there is always, always the possibility of someone else’s carelessness."There is so much beauty in this novel, a book to treasure. Ruby, my favorite character; a courageous and tenacious young girl, facing one obstacle after another; however, she never gives up, fearless --sometimes acting as the parent in a time when they could not be what she needed. Loved her dreams, inspirations, and creativity and her strength caring for Nessa and her mom. Even when it seemed Izzy turned her back on her for a short time, she did not give up on her bridge project, her friend, and persevered. Hooked from page one to the end, bookmarking countless pages with stunning poetic prose--a complex tapestry of strong women, and lives entwined for a compassionate exploration of the power of love. Fans of Amy Hatvany, Jodi Picoult, and Diane Chamberlain, are assured to fall hard for this one. If you read only one book in 2015, THE FOREVER BRIDGE, one you will not want to miss!