*** This post has some content unsuitable for younger readers (I’d say younger than 16)***
Francine Rivers writes a book, I buy it. That’s the way it goes. No questions asked, no thinking twice, I barely glance at the synopsis, I just buy it. I believe she’s one of the greatest authors to have lived on this planet (If you’ve come across my review of A Voice in the Wind you probably already know how much I love the woman). So, you can be sure soon after I heard about her latest book – Bridge to Haven – I was clicking ‘buy now’ on the Kindle Store. Actually it seemed like I was a month or two behind the release date, but anyway.
So with great expectation, I began Bridge to Haven. I was disappointed. I’m still surprised that I was, but I was. Lemme give a bit of back story here. A good friend of mine had told me about the new Rivers book while we were chatting one day, and she already told me how much she had loved it. I was expecting to love it even more. I gushed about how much I adored Mrs Rivers work and was looking forward to discussing the book with this friend when I had finished.
Imagine my surprise that I had to struggle to finish it, and really just finished if for finishing’s sake. After reading the first few chapters, it just wasn’t doing anything for me, and thought that perhaps I wasn’t in good mood that day. Picked it up the next day, and it was the same thing.
So, what was the problem really?
You know what? Let me start with the good. Francine Rivers didn’t disappoint completely (I don’t think she ever will). There was one scene that saved the book for me. If just for this scene, the book was more than worth it.
Believe it or not, it’s a sex scene (not sure if ‘scene’ is the appropriate word as it’s not a movie) toward the end of the book. I have never read such holy sex. No kidding. I’m going to be real with you. I’ve read a number of secular romance novels (Side note: Please stay as far away from such as possible, bad bad idea. If i could un-read them, I would) and I know how such sex scenes go, by the end of it, you will most likely be stirred. The one in Bridge to Haven is a first. I have never come across a sex scene in Christian fiction. They always just sort of kiss and then wake up the next morning, or sometimes the book just ends there. Mrs Rivers takes hers a step further. I don’t quite know how to explain this. But I will say she did it beautifully.
There was absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, inappropriate in the writing. There was not a single whiff of indecency. It was just beautiful, I could gush about this forever. I have never read anything like it. It was so clean, so… holy. I mean ii, holy. There was no stirring, it was just a wonderfully painted picture of love expressed. In fact, I’m not sure I should call it a ‘sex scene’ because that even seems to demean it. It was a love scene. And all through it, Christ was the centre. It was so honest, so perfect, so elegant, so… dare I use ‘beautiful’ and ‘holy’ again? I could go on and on. Mrs Rivers pulled it off with poise and style. It was exquisite. That is the kind of writing I read for.
I had major issues connecting with the characters. They came across as so wooden, most of all the lead character, Abra. And you know when you don’t connect with the lead the whole book is usually a bust. Joshua’s character (Abra’s main love interest) was pretty much the only one that kept me going. I was really taken aback by this wooden-ness, because that was the last thing I expected. With Mrs Rivers, even when they annoy, exasperate or irritate me, her characters are always so human, ie, real!
Following the lack of character in the characters 😀 , everything went downhill for me. The plot seemed dry and very cliche-ish. The end seemed rushed. Although, Mrs Rivers did manage to slot in a surprise at the end. I headed over to Goodreads to check out what other people thought, wondering if I had missed something by some chance. I was summarily surprised again to see so many rave reviews mirroring the sentiment of my friend who told me about the book in the first place. Thankfully, there were a few people who felt the same way I did, so I knew I wasn’t completely alone.
Please check out the book (as well as all the Francine Rivers books you can) for yourself. I don’t think you can regret reading her work. And really, my feelings about this book don’t change much for me. She writes, I buy. 😀