Bridge To Happinessby Jill Barnett
From the luxury of San Francisco's famous hills to the wild freedom of the majestic snow-covered Sierra Mountains, BRIDGE TO HAPPINESS is the intensely dramatic story of one woman's life, the idyllic moments, her humanity, her love, and finally, the difficult road she must walk alone . . . to discover the strong woman she is destined to become. When March Randolph
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From the luxury of San Francisco's famous hills to the wild freedom of the majestic snow-covered Sierra Mountains, BRIDGE TO HAPPINESS is the intensely dramatic story of one woman's life, the idyllic moments, her humanity, her love, and finally, the difficult road she must walk alone . . . to discover the strong woman she is destined to become. When March Randolph meets Mike Cantrell, she has no idea how her life will change, and how time will change her. For over three decades she and Mike forge a marriage, a family and a business together, helping to make snowboarding into a popular, worldwide winter sport, and raising four strong-willed and independent children into a adulthood, never once fearing the future won't be as golden as their past. In a heartbeat everything changes, and March and her family suffer a tragic change, one that drives a schism into her once perfect life, and will test the bonds of love and family far beyond any definition of recovery. Suddenly March is stuck in the past, unable to move forward, and only if she, alone, finds the strength and will to move on, can any of the Cantrells have a single glimmer of hope at a new life of happiness.
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I loved this book, which is very different from the authors' historical books. But I loved the story and the way she took us through a whole life and marriage. I felt like I really knew these people. I cried and laughed. I loved it. I will read this book again and again. Highly recommended.
In San Francisco March Randolph and Mike Cantrell meet and fall in love. They marry, raise a family of four, and create a successful business together as she encourages him to take a chance on his dreams in the Sierras. Their efforts lead to snowboarding becoming popular sport. Everything remains perfect even after three decades as a couple. Then in an instant, tragedy strikes with a wrong way driver. Traumatized and feeling all alone March can no longer look to the present or future for happiness; only the past gives her moments of joy though her friends and children had her strip her home of her beloved Mike. Yet she knows her loved ones have problems too as they need her to lead them back to living again, if she dares. This is an entertaining profound family drama starring a strong cast but anchored by the matriarch. The Cantrells were golden for over thirty years when the gold ended with death leaving a mother unable to move forward from their grief. Jill Barnett eloquently makes a strong case that life goes on for the grievers as the inevitable death of one generation is replaced with the renewal of a new generation. Harriet Klausner
Loved this book. Made me laugh, cry and remember the loss of my loved one. She nailed it on the grieving process. Reminded me of the things I went through
Author Jill Barnett is a master of the oddly disconcerting image-a bay whose crystalline water is "mythical, like a panoramic image from a Peter Jackson film," twinkling stars above the Sierras that "flickered like distant, approaching headlights," a fifty-year-old man who's "the human equivalent of a tomcat," and an awful lot of handbags. (Okay, I'm not into handbag therapy, but that's just me.) Mike and March build a perfect life, based on shared humor and love, in the first part of this novel. They take risks, create a business, and help their children grow. But March's "razor sharp internal clock" takes a beating in part two. Her feelings as the world falls apart are hauntingly evocative. Surrounded by love, sometimes she just wants to be alone to plan the "uncharted journey I faced." The Cantrell family may seem to have it all, but their lives are filled with the same problems every family faces, sibling rivalries, the longing for a child, rebellious teenagers, misunderstandings, and the loneliness of an empty bed. Characters come to vivid life through the natural cadence and humor of excellent dialog, but deep back-stories filled with telling details do slow the story down. Sometimes I just wanted to skip ahead and see the future instead of another character's past. The people in Bridge to Happiness are fun the spend time with on a long evening. They're realistic, wounded and wise as they bridge that time between past joys and future uncertainties. And they offer hopeful suggestions and wise direction to all who share that journey with them. The past is a part of ourselves and our self image, but it doesn't define us, no matter how well-loved. And stepping into the future is a risk worth taking. Disclosure: I got this book from Bellebooks and Belle Bridge Books in exchange for an honest review