Bridge to Haven  -     By: Francine Rivers
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Bridge to Haven

Tyndale House / 2014 / Hardcover

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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, a sleepy little town in Northern California. 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 a devastating price. She has burned every bridge to get exactly what she thought she wanted. Now, all she wants is a way back home.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 500
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1414368186
ISBN-13: 9781414368184
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

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.

In this riveting and highly anticipated tale of temptation, grace, and unconditional love, New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers delivers big-canvas storytelling at its very best.

Editorial Reviews

This is a book you won’t want to miss and won’t soon forget. It’s one that will make you think; give you courage and hope, for no matter what you face. I highly recommend it.
In Rivers’ (Her Daughter’s Dream, 2010) latest inspirational tale, Pastor Zeke feels compelled to walk to the bridge at the edge of Haven, his small Northern California town. There he discovers an abandoned newborn infant. The year is 1936 and his wife, Maryanne, her heart weakened by rheumatic fever in her childhood and advised against another pregnancy, wants to keep the child. They name her Abra. Five years later, Maryanne dies and Pastor Zeke gives Abra up for adoption to friends. Abra ends up feeling rejected by her birth mom and the pastor, and never bonds with her adoptive family. Joshua, her best friend, goes to war in Korea with a MASH unit, and she runs away to Hollywood and becomes a starlet under the tutelage of an agent who sees her as his Galatea. Hollywood success fails to make Abra feel whole and wanted, and she has no idea that Joshua is looking for her. Rivers’ persistent Christian message will please readers who are seeking fiction with a repeated and strong message about redemption and salvation.
Starred review
When Pastor Zeke Freeman finds a newborn baby abandoned under a bridge, he brings the child home and names her Abra. Although his wife, Marianne, is not well, she accepts the responsibility of caring for another child gladly. However, by the time their young charge is five, Marianne dies, and Pastor Zeke gives Abra to another family to raise. The girl is heartbroken and angry. By the time she reaches high school, the teen is already on a troubled path. Hooking up with the charming Dylan, she is off to find fame and fortune in the movie business. Her exotic looks take Hollywood by storm, and she soon realizes how fast life moves in Tinseltown, even in the 1950s. But success exacts a dreadful price, and now all she wants to do is return to Haven and the people who have always loved her.
VERDICT This is another compelling and moving story by one of the genre’s most honored and talented writers. Abra is realistically crafted, and her story—based on Ezekiel 16—is poignant and bittersweet. Essential for Rivers’s many fans.

Why you should read it: If you are looking for a sweet little Christian romance with a mild theme of redemption, you’d better look elsewhere. Bridge to Haven is one of the edgiest Christian romances I have had the pleasure of reading in a long while. Francine Rivers has woven a deeply moving story with an adept hand that knows just how to layer humanity, in all its beautiful and ugly truth, into almost every individual who steps onto the page. This story takes Abra to some very dark places before a pinprick of hope breaks through.

Some scenes (even one post-redemption scene) might be considered “almost graphic” by inspirational/Christian romance standards, but that does not mean those readers should shy away. Francine Rivers writes these sorts of scenes in a way that puts the reader in the moment, but allows her to depart without feeling soiled by what she witnessed therein. There is beauty and meaning to be found throughout this emotion-gripping story, even in the contrast between Abra’s bedroom experiences.

Longtime fans of Francine Rivers will not be disappointed in this painful, moving, and triumphant tale of redemption. For those who have not yet given this best-selling legend-of-an-author a try, I highly recommend Bridge to Haven.

When I was first given a copy of Redeeming Love and was told I MUST read it, the rebellious side of me tried not to (I wasn’t a fan of Christian fiction). But I was soon gripped by the tale of undeserved love and grace that the re-telling of the story of Hosea and Gomer revealed. And the same has been true for every other Francine Rivers book I have devoured since.

I must say Francine has done it again. I am always totally blown away by the worlds that her huge novels create. Each one is based around a totally different era and situation and yet she expertly crafts a totally plausible and utterly believable backdrop for her characters. It is obvious why she is a bestselling author, as she knows her craft so well.

Francine often has at the heart of her books the eternal story of redemption and grace. This newest one reminded me a little of Redeeming Love, in that it focused on one girl’s journey. She makes so many huge mistakes, but ultimately finds her way home again.

The book begins with Pastor Zeke discovering a little girl, just born, abandoned by the bridge into Haven. Taking her in for her first years, he eventually feels he must give her to another family from his church to raise. Devastated, Abra kicks back against the situation, feeling that it is just another instance of her being abandoned. You can sense the deep hurt on both sides, but also the integrity as the pastor tries to do what he feels is right.

Eventually Abra grows into a beautiful young woman, but when a fast-talking, fast-driving boy turns up in town that both she and her “sister” fall for, it is she that turns her back on all she has known and runs away with him. Abra soon learns life’s lessons the hard way as she is used and abused by the boy.

Ending up in Hollywood, Abra becomes a rising acting star—but only due to a controlling agent desperate to make a comeback.

There are so many things that spoke to me in this story. It is obviously about temptation, grace and unconditional love. However it is also about making mistakes and having to live with the consequences, feeling helpless, lost and alone, what it is like to have to let go and watch someone make decisions you know aren’t good for them, learning to grow up and take responsibility, having to face those you’ve hurt (and those people face you). Even though the book was set in 1950s America, the themes are universal and timeless.

I felt drawn to the parts of the novel that I could relate back to situations and circumstances I’d come across in my own life, but it also ultimately urges you to reflect on your own salvation and the fact that we have a loving Father who beckons us with unconditional love—whatever we’ve done.

Francine has a way of drawing you into the world she has created and I found myself reading faster and faster—often missing little bits and having to go back because I was so eager to find out what was going to happen.

If I have one criticism (and I’m really having to scrape the barrel here as I think Francine is an incredible writer) it is that, because her books are often based on the wider Christian story of redemption, they can be a little predictable—as you know what is going to win out in the end. However, although the ending of this book tied up a lot of the story in ways I was expecting there was one part I hadn’t seen coming at all. So that little “shock” made the read even more pleasurable.

Bridge to Haven is out now from Tyndale House Publishers. If you’ve never read any of Francine Rivers’ books then go and discover them for yourself—you are in for a real treat.

Rivers (Redeeming Love) returns with a page-turning recasting of the story of the prodigal son, here a prodigal daughter. In 1936, Abra Matthews is found as a newborn under a bridge in the small California town of Haven by Pastor Ezekiel Freeman. She’s taken in, but never feels as if she quite belongs, so she is susceptible to a beguiling young man who years later lures 17-year-old Abra to Hollywood. There, she becomes starlet Lena Scott, made over by a Pygmalion-like agent who wants everything from her, even while Abra/Lena comes to understand the cost of what she thought she wanted. Rivers nicely evokes 1950s Hollywood, with its gossip columnists, high-wattage movie stars, and ladder-climbing aspirants; Elvis Presley and Lana Turner put in cameos. This story arc will be particularly resonant for Christian readers, but Rivers has the writing ability to reel in others who enjoy a well-told tale of redemption.
In Rivers’ exquisite style, she takes the Biblical story of Ezekiel 16 and translates it into a character-driven tale set in the ’30s through the ’60s. Relating the experiences of the characters to the reader’s relationship with God takes the story to the next level. Richly detailed, at times disturbing, but completely real and dynamic, this is a book to savor.
Francine Rivers is perhaps the best novelist of our time. In Bridge to Haven, she quickly captured me with her characters and pulled me into the story of this prodigal daughter. It’s a story you can’t forget. I predict it will become a blockbuster like Redeeming Love. Novel Rocket and I give it our highest recommendation. It’s a 5-star must read. Bridge to Haven has been added to my Top Ten for 2014 and My All Time Favorites List.

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Displaying items 1-5 of 27
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  1. Judy Den Hertog
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Bridge To Haven
    September 5, 2014
    Judy Den Hertog
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for Bridge to Haven - eBook.
    A really good read! very captivating!
  2. ssemah
    California
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Real life before and after Christ
    August 27, 2014
    ssemah
    California
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Very realistic and true to human nature. Many tearful moments and joy for what God can do for us.
  3. Karen
    Norfolk, VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A love story....of both God and man
    August 23, 2014
    Karen
    Norfolk, VA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I love everything written by Francine Rivers, and this book was no exception. Even when I knew the ending by chapter 2, I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of the journey (I did predict 2.5 children by the end, and we ended with only the pregnancy..I bet if there was an epilogue those other children wouldve arrived!) The ending love story was sigh-worthy, and the beautiful story of faith interwoven throughout was tender and led to a beautiful (and believable) conversion. A definite read-again on my list!
  4. AshleyNoelle
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    "Christian" Book?!
    August 16, 2014
    AshleyNoelle
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 1
    Value: 1
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I have enjoyed Francine's books (Atonement Child is a good one) and thought I would try her latest one.

    How can it say Christian fiction on it, and yet have such smut in it?

    The story started off okay, although Abra was a REALLY hard character to read about. She was always whining and complaining, saying how nothing would go her way and she hurts, but whenever someone tried to help her and get her to open up, she would scream and fight with them. Even Joshua in one scene told her she was acting like a bratty two year old. That was her through most of the story until the very end.

    But what gets me is that the author is trying to show you just how far Abra falls, all the sins she has committed. But the vulgar detail put into this is horrible. It's stuff I would expect in some raunchy mainstream book. I don't see how you can put those things in and still call it Christian.

    If you're looking for quality Christian fiction, save your money and find something else. This one isn't worth it.
  5. eb7bibliophile
    High Desert West
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Intricate and Touching
    August 14, 2014
    eb7bibliophile
    High Desert West
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a beautiful portrayal of realistic characters in plausible situations. It was easy to become drawn into the story. I did not want it to end. I felt connected, and sympathetic with their dilemmas. The story was enhanced by lovely descriptions throughout. Some of the plot was heart-wrenching, but the sadness only made the eventual happiness and restoration sweeter. I do not want to reveal too much, but the self-talk of the main character, Abra, was her downfall. I felt that the communication between characters was awesome when they finally were able to connect. This book is a great choice for an enjoyable diversion.
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