Monday, November 7, 2011

Review - String Bridge

STORYLINE: Melody, an Australian musician, falls in love and moves to Greece where she lives with her husband, Alex. After settling into marriage, motherhood, work and the sameness of everything, Melody realizes she has cut off a part of herself when she gives up music. She makes decisions that put her on a new and exciting path, but circumstances conspire to derail her plans in unexpected and life-changing ways.

PLAYERS: Melody – conflicted wife, mother and editor who grabs hold of a chance to advance her career, and return to the music she loves.

Alex – husband to Melody, is a promoter. He’s a complex man who runs the gamut from confident businessman to vulnerable man-child.

I LIKED: the complexity of the characters, which makes
String Bridge a delightful read. Melody’s experience is that of so many of us who enter a relationship and end up not being sure whether or not our feelings for our partners have changed. I was able to get deep inside Melody’s head and understand her fears, doubts and guilt as she navigated through difficult circumstances.

Alex is painted as loving, thoughtful, selfish, spiteful and childish - all the qualities I’d expect to find in a human being. These qualities come out through the storyline, so I could understand the man Melody falls in love.

I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT:  the tempestuousness of their relationship. I wasn’t sure that Alex and Melody wouldn’t end up hurting each other. They have several run-ins, which put me on edge, because of their young daughter Tessa. One of their altercations does end up being a sticky situation, involving their child. However, the ups and downs of a normal relationship wouldn’t have been so well played out without the high drama between these two.

OVERALL COMMENTS: The book is a wonderful example of how choices affect our lives and that giving up the things we enjoy can be stifling. It’s also provides a sobering look at how our lives can change in just a few moments. String Bridge also speaks to treasuring the people who matter in this life.

The sensory details are deftly handled, which is always a refreshing experience. Some of the things Bell observers are a bit more than I normally see in a novel, but it adds to the reality of her character’s situation and reminds me that it is in our deepest state of distraction and isolation that we see things clearly.

The pacing is good, the story rich in similes and a good reminder that no matter the size of our challenges, we can and do experience hope and renewal. The itty-bitty guitars used to denote scene breaks were pretty cool. Another nifty feature is the CD referred to in the book - On the Other Side – that’s actually a reality. Also, I love, love, love the surprise ending notes in String Bridge.  
RATING: In my book String Bridge is a truly awesome read. Read an interview with the author here.

SOURCE: I received a copy of String Bridge through the publisher.

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