The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The publisher's promo for this during BEA mentioned that this was a great cross-over book from Christian fiction - my guess is that's because this is all about saving a bookstore. To be honest, the amount of prayer and faith in it was not overwhelming, so I don't know how representative of the genre it is.
There are two stories here: one of the bookstore, The Bridge, fallen on worse-than-hard times following a flood, the other of a couple who met in college, abruptly broke up and then reunite over the saving of The Bridge. The first story is the far more Christian one, with Charlie and Donna Barton praying and putting their faith in the Lord and Jesus to help them (they have no stock, no money to buy stock, aren't getting any loans and are about to be evicted). An accident puts Charlie in a coma, setting the other plot in motion. Back in college, Ryan and Molly met and fell heavily in "like" with each other but were from wildly different backgrounds. Their one safe space (safe from her determined, domineering father) was at The Bridge. One night, when the household staff Molly's father engaged to keep her safe and under his watch have gone out, they have dinner and... kiss. Someone sees, tells Dad, who steps in. Eight years later, they both still carry a torch but until the Barton's need them, they are fully apart.
This is a very slight story, no major lessons learned (except perhaps that kindness can be repaid several thousand-fold), no major romance, nothing that will really stick with the reader for a long time. It's gentle and a fast read, more like a novella than a full novel.
As I said, I don't know how this compares to other Christian fiction, but those who wander into this book won't be thrown off by the overt tone.
ARC provided by publisher.