The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

The Bridge TenderThe Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title for the book description/blurb.)

The combination of the colorful sunset on the book cover, the smell of the pages of my copy, and the descriptions of the evening lights on the bridge are what got me into The Bridge Tender, a simple story that’s simply told. The movement of the plot is on the slow side, much like an evening stroll down the beach.

Emily is by no means perfect, a woman trying to feel her way through the dark to the other side of grief after her husband Ryan dies; a woman having to face the fact that she’s not as happy for her best friend Marta as she wants to be, when Marta seems to be on her way to having all that Emily thinks she can no longer have. I think that Emily idolized her husband, that she pretty much made him her world and therefore didn’t have much of a life of her own without him. “If Ryan were there she’d have plans for the weekend. If Ryan were there she wouldn’t need Marta so much. If Ryan were there…” I couldn’t help but wonder who Emily was and what she did with herself before she was married–and if “happiness” in life would, in her eyes, ultimately boil down to whether or not she had a romantic partner.

Emily does learn some lessons about hoping for the future and where she places her trust, and I found one twist in the book to be a particularly delightful surprise that I didn’t see coming. My favorite quote from the novel: “Maybe, she thought as they waited for their turn to cross the bridge, to grow up was to stop attempting to find sense and just start embracing the nonsense.”

If you don’t mind the unhurried pace of a self-searching stroll at sunset, this book is a nice stroll to take.


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