My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Story Plant, The (January 5, 2010)
Synopsis from Amazon.com:
Hugh Penders has been stuck in neutral for nearly a decade since his brother Chase died in a car accident. He carries with him two secrets that he has never been able to share with anyone: that he believes he might have been able to prevent the accident, and that he was deeply in love with Chase's girlfriend, Iris.
When Hugh's father suffers a debilitating heart attack, Hugh must return to the New England home he's been running away from for the past ten years. One day, he encounters Iris - who has long since moved away - on the street. They begin a friendship and Hugh believes he's falling in love with Iris all over again.
But the ghost of Chase haunts both of them. And when each reveals a truth the other never knew, their lives, their vision of Chase, and their chances for a future together will change forever.
Charged by the power of desire and the impact of loss, Crossing the Bridge is a soulful, romantic novel that will speak to you deeply.
I really enjoyed the beginning of this story. It pulled me in and kept me interested. Hugh's feeling of being trapped, not only in his old home town but in his father's card shop, was portrayed very well. It was almost as if, since Chase never had the chance to continue on with his life that Hugh felt the need to curtail his own life. He never really moved forward all that much from the moment in time when his brother drove off of the bridge. I could see the different meanings as well with crossing a bridge. There was the literal bridge that Chase drove off of, there was the bridge to the future that Hugh didn't want to cross and the bridge to the past that meeting Iris and renewing their friendship showed. At times I got frustrated with Hugh, he was watching his father spend the day in his bathrobe afraid to even climb the stairs because of his heart attack. While he could see how stuck his father was without there being a real need for it, he didn't seem to recognize how stuck he himself was. The moving every year or so to a new job and a new relationship, his fear of developing anything long term or even really starting a career for no real reason. It was so similar to his father but he couldn't see it.
When Hugh and Iris renewed their friendship and spent time together I was glad because they both seemed to still be healing from Chase's death ten years before and they were helping each other. It was nice too to see Hugh start to develop some friendships and interests. Unfortunately towards the end of the middle it felt like the novel dragged a bit. I found myself not as keen about picking it up, but this might have been almost purposeful on the authors part to show us how stuck Hugh was with his perception of the past and his inability to go into the future. As the novel started to conclude and pieces started to fall into place I once again felt very engaged by the story. It was a satisfying story. In the end notes from the author he mentions that he is writing under an assumed name as he usually writes non-fiction which has made me curious about his other works. Along with this fiction novel he has another novel that was published prior to this and one that comes out in May. This book will be available tomorrow, January 5th, 2010.
Where the book came from: Received from the publisher for review. Thank you The Story Plant for the chance to read this novel.