Title: The Forever Bridge by T. Greenwood
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 369 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
With eloquent prose and lush imagery, T. Greenwood creates a heartfelt story of reconciliation and forgiveness, and of the deep, often unexpected connections that can bring you home.
Sylvie can hardly bear to remember how normal her family was two years ago. All of that changed on the night an oncoming vehicle forced their car over the edge of a covered bridge into the river. With horrible swiftness, Sylvie’s young son was gone, her husband lost his legs, and she was left with shattering blame and grief.
Eleven-year-old Ruby misses her little brother, too. But she also misses the mother who has become a recluse in their old home while Ruby and her dad try to piece themselves back together. Amid all the uncertainty in her life, Ruby becomes obsessed with bridges, drawing inspiration from the strength and purpose that underlies their grace. During one momentous week, as Hurricane Irene bears down on their small Vermont town and a pregnant teenager with a devastating secret gradually draws Sylvie back into the world, Ruby and her mother will have a chance to span the gap between them again.
The Forever Bridge by T. Greenwood is an utterly heartbreaking and poignant novel that is also uplifting and hopeful. It is a beautifully written story of forgiveness, redemption and healing that is incredibly moving and full of deep emotions.
Two years after the accident that took the life of her seven year old son, Jess and left her husband Robert in a wheelchair, Sylvie Dupont is emotionally fragile and struggling to put the pieces of her life back together. Suffering from PTDS, agoraphobia and depression, she has isolated herself from friends and family and lives by herself in the family home on the outskirts of town. Barely capable of taking care of herself, Robert and their eleven year old daughter Ruby have moved in with Robert’s brother, but when the men need to take an out of town trip, Sylvie has little choice but to care for her daughter. Their reunion is uneasy and full of tension as they tiptoe around the memories that haunt both mother and daughter.
Sylvie is crippled with anxiety and it is very frustrating watching her refuse to get the help she needs to cope with her fears. While at first it is incomprehensible that she has so completely checked out from her life and her loved ones, once some of her history is revealed, some of her actions become a little more understandable. But what Sylvie does not realize is her control and safety are only an illusion. It it is impossible to protect herself from further pain and that despite her best efforts, disaster can still strike despite all the safeguards she has tried to put into place.
Ruby is very mature for her age but no matter how wise she is, she still longs for the mother Sylvie used to be. Ruby closely monitors her mother’s erratic behavior and she takes every opportunity to escape the tense and unhappy household. Unfortunately her best friend seems to be replacing her with another girl their age so Ruby spends a lot of her time exploring the woods surrounding her home. When she discovers a pregnant teenager hiding in an abandoned shack, Ruby keeps her presence a secret and helps her as much as she possibly can. But when the young girl needs more help than Ruby can provide, will Sylvie step out of her self-imposed prison and overcome her fears long enough to give them the assistance they need?
Pregnant teenager Nessa is a runaway who has not spoken a word for two years. Disappointed but not really surprised to discover her mom has moved on, she takes shelter in the rundown shack and forages in Sylvie’s garden for food. Nessa has experienced little kindness in her young life and she is profoundly grateful for Ruby’s generosity.
The Forever Bridge slowly winds its way to a dramatic but immensely satisfying conclusion. The characters are three-dimensional and although flawed, they are sympathetic and likable. T. Greenwood’s writing style is quite captivating and she brings the setting vibrantly to life. The storyline is complex, and while some of the plot is a little predictable, there are quite a few unanticipated twists that make it impossible to guess how all of the various storylines will come together. Overall, it is a heartfelt novel of healing that I highly recommend.