To those who matter in 1950s Hollywood, Lena Scott is the hottest rising star to hit the silver screen since Marilyn Monroe. Few know her real name is Abra. Even fewer know the price she’s paid to finally feel like she’s somebody.
To Pastor Ezekiel Freeman, Abra will always be the little girl who stole his heart the night he found her, a wailing newborn abandoned under a bridge on the outskirts of Haven. Zeke and his son, Joshua—Abra’s closest friend—watch her grow into an exotic beauty. But Zeke knows the circumstances surrounding her birth etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking bad boy who proclaims his love and lures her to Tinseltown. Hollywood feels like a million miles from Haven, and naive Abra quickly learns what’s expected of an ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. But fame comes at an awful price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.
Here’s my confession: I had never read a Francine Rivers novel prior to Bridge to Haven. People had recommended her to me, but I’d never followed up. The publisher’s summary of Bridge to Haven, however, appealed to me so when I saw a copy of it in my local library I grabbed it. I’m glad I did.
This is not a pretty novel with perfect people. It looks behind the glamor of 1950s Hollywood and reveals its tawdry secrets. There are deceivers everywhere, and people who long to make you into their own creation. There are good people as well, but can you identify them? If you can, are you open to their friendship, or have you become so jaded and cynical that you close yourself off to them? Abandoned at birth and then feeling abandoned by the first family to raise her, Abra is insecure and longs for love. Never seeing the love in front of her, she naively falls for pretty words and finds herself in a nightmare from which there is little chance of escape. There are descriptions of abuse, drug taking, sex outside of marriage, and abortion. There are also scenes set during the Korean War.
I found Bridge to Haven was slow to get going and I felt the narrative lacked some of the descriptive elements I’ve come to appreciate by other writers. Given demands on my time I did think about putting it down and moving on to something else. Ultimately, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. I was actually taken by surprise by how much it impacted me emotionally. This might have been my first Francine Rivers story, but I doubt it will be my last.
Have you read Bridge to Haven? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 22 April 2014
Page Count: 480