Bridge to Haven

( 55 )

Overview

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 ...

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Bridge to Haven

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Overview

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 have etched scars deep in her heart, scars that leave her vulnerable to a fast-talking charmer who 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.

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

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Now actress Lena Scott has got what she's always wanted: She's the hottest young star in Tinsel Town. But something is drastically wrong: She now realizes that she has sacrificed far too much and longs to retreat to the small town where long ago a kindly local minister found her abandoned under a bridge. With its spiritual message, Francine Rivers' new novel about an emerging Hollywood legend reclaiming her integrity will touch all readers who let it into their hearts.

Publishers Weekly
02/10/2014
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. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller, Browne & Miller Literary Associates. (Apr. 22)
Romantic Times
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.
Romantic Times Book Reviews
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.
Novel Rocket
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.
Novel 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.
Booklist
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.
USA Today
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.

Christian Today
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.

Library Journal
★ 04/15/2014
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. [See author Q&A above.—Ed.]
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410465702
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 5/7/2014
  • Edition description: Large Prin
  • Pages: 650
  • Sales rank: 645,075
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Francine Rivers
Francine Rivers
From 1976 to 1985, Francine Rivers had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were awarded or nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith.
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Read an Excerpt

Bridge to Haven


By Francine Rivers, Kathryn S. Olson

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Francine Rivers
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-6818-4


CHAPTER 1

Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb you have cared for me.

PSALM 71:6


1936

Filling his lungs with cool October air, Pastor Ezekiel Freeman started his morning vigil. He had laid out the route on a map when he first came to town. each building brought people to mind, and he upheld them before the Lord, giving thanks for trials they had come through, praying over trials they now faced, and asking God what part he might play in helping them.

He headed for Thomas Jefferson High School. He passed by Eddie's Diner, the students' favorite hangout place. The lights were on inside. Eddie came to the front door. "Mornin', Zeke. How about a cup of coffee?"

Zeke sat at the counter while Eddie made stacks of hamburger patties. They talked high school football, and who might win a scholarship. Zeke thanked Eddie for the coffee and conversation and headed out into the dark again.

He crossed Main Street and walked down to the railroad tracks toward Hobo Junction. He could see a campfire and approached the men sitting around it, asking if they minded if he joined them. Several had been around town long enough to have met Zeke before. Others were strangers, men who looked tired and worn from crisscrossing the country, picking up odd jobs along the way, living hand to mouth. One young man said he liked the feel of the town and hoped to stay. Zeke told him the lumberyard north of town was looking for a loader. He gave the young man a card with his name and the church's address and phone number. "Stop by anytime. I'd like to hear how you're doing."

* * *

The crickets in the tall grass and the hoot owl in a towering pine fell silent as a car pulled into Riverfront Park, stopping near the restrooms. A young woman got out of the driver's seat. The full moon gave her enough light to see where she was going.

Groaning in pain, she bent and put her hand over her swollen belly. The contractions were coming swiftly now, not even a minute between. She needed shelter, some hidden place to give birth. She stumbled through the darkness to the ladies' room, but the door wouldn't budge. Uttering a strangled sob, she turned away, searching.

Why had she driven so far? Why hadn't she checked into a motel? Now it was too late.

* * *

The town square was next on Zeke's route. He prayed for each of the shopkeepers, the council members who had a meeting in the afternoon at the town hall, and the travelers staying at the Haven Hotel. It was still dark when he walked along Second Street and spotted Leland Dutcher's produce truck turning at the mouth of the alley alongside Gruening's Market. Everyone called him Dutch, including his wife, who was in the hospital, suffering through the last stages of cancer. Zeke had sat with her several times and knew she grieved more about her husband's lack of faith than her approaching death. "I know where I'm going. I'm more worried about where Dutch will end up." The man worked six days a week and saw no need to spend the seventh in church. In truth, he was mad at God and didn't want to give Him the time of day.

The truck's brakes squealed briefly as it stopped. Dutch rolled down his window. "Cold morning to be gadding about the streets, Pastor. Have a girlfriend tucked away somewhere?"

Ignoring the sarcasm, Zeke pushed his cold hands into his pockets. "This is the best time to pray."

"Well, hellfire and hallelujah, don't let me stop you from doing your business." He barked a hard laugh.

Zeke came closer. "I saw Sharon yesterday."

Dutch let out his breath. "Then you know she's not doing too well."

"No. She's not." Unless there was a miracle, she didn't have much time left. She would rest easier if she weren't so worried about her husband, but saying so right now would only make Dutch more belligerent.

"Go ahead, Pastor. Invite me to church."

"You already know the invitation is always open."

Dutch wilted slightly. "She's been after me for years. Right now, all I feel like doing is spitting in God's face. She's a good woman, the best I've ever known. If anyone deserves a miracle, Sharon does. Tell me what help God is giving her?"

"Her body will die, Dutch, but Sharon won't." He saw the flicker of pain and knew the man wasn't ready to listen to more. "Want help unloading the truck?"

"Thanks, but I think I can manage on my own." Dutch ground the gears, uttered a vile word, and drove down the alley.

* * *

The child came in a rush of slick warmth, spilling from her body, and the young woman gasped in relief. The iron, clawing embrace was gone, leaving her time to catch her breath. Panting in the shadows beneath the bridge, she looked up between the steel supports to the star-studded sky.

The baby lay pale and perfect in the moonlight, on a dark blanket of earth. It was too dark to see whether it was a boy or girl, but then, what did that matter?

Body feverish, the young woman struggled out of her thin sweater and laid it over the infant.

* * *

A cold breeze was blowing in. Zeke pulled up the collar of his jacket. He walked along Mason, across First and down McMurray, back up Second, toward Good Samaritan Hospital. The bridge came to mind, but it was in the other direction. During summer months, he often crossed over to Riverfront Park, especially when the camp was full of visitors living in pitched tents at the small adjacent campground.

No one would be in the campground this time of year, with temperatures dropping and leaves falling.

The darkness was loosening, though it would still be a while before the sun rose. He should be turning for home, but the bridge loomed in his mind. Zeke changed direction and headed for the bridge and Riverfront Park.

He blew into his hands. He should have worn gloves this morning. He stopped at the corner, debating whether to go to the bridge or make his way home. He always showered and shaved before sitting down to breakfast with Marianne and Joshua. Going to the bridge now would mean he'd get home late.

He felt a sense of urgency. Someone needed help. It would only take ten minutes to walk to the bridge, less if he quickened his pace. He wouldn't have any peace unless he did.

* * *

Shivering violently, the young woman rolled up her car window, knowing she would never be free of guilt and regret. Her hand shook as she turned the key she had left in the ignition. She just wanted to get away from this place. She wanted to cover her head and forget everything that had happened, everything she had done wrong.

Turning the steering wheel, she pressed down too hard on the gas. The car skidded to one side, sending a rush of adrenaline through her. She corrected quickly, as the wheels shot pebbles like bullets into the park. Slowing, she turned right, toward the main road, staring ahead through tear-blurred eyes. She'd go north and find a cheap motel. Then she'd decide how to kill herself.

The breeze moved down over the sandy beach and beneath the bridge. No longer in the protected warmth of a mother's womb, the abandoned baby felt the stinging cold of the world. A soft cry came, then a plaintive wail. The sound carried across the water, but no lights went on in the houses above the river.

* * *

The steel Pratt trusses rose above the trees. Zeke crossed the old river road and took the walkway over the bridge. He stopped halfway across and leaned on the railing. The river rippled beneath him. It had rained a few days ago, leaving the beach smooth and packed. The place was deserted.

Why am I here, Lord?

Zeke straightened, still troubled. He waited another moment and then turned away. Time to head home.

A soft mewling mingled with the sounds of the river. What was it? Holding the rail, he leaned over, peering into the shadows of the abutment. The sound came again. He walked quickly across the bridge and cut across the grassy knoll to the parking lot. Was it a kitten? People often dumped unwanted litters along the road.

He heard the sound again, and this time he recognized it. Joshua had sounded like that when he was an infant. A baby, here? He searched the shadows, heart pounding. He spotted footprints. He went down to the riverbank and followed them across the sand to the gravel beneath the bridge. Pebbles crunched under his feet.

He heard it again, weaker this time, but so close he looked carefully before he stepped. Frowning, he hunkered down and picked up what looked like a discarded sweater. "Oh, Lord ..." A baby lay so still, so small, so white, he wondered if he was too late. A girl. He slipped his hands beneath her. She weighed next to nothing. As he lifted her into the curve of his arm, her arms spread like a tiny bird attempting flight, and she let out a tremulous cry.

Surging to his feet, Zeke yanked open his jacket, popping shirt buttons so he could tuck the baby against his skin. He breathed on her face to warm her up. "Scream, sweetheart; scream as loud as you can. You hold on to life, now. You hear?"

Zeke knew every shortcut and was at Good Samaritan Hospital before the sun came up.

* * *

Zeke came back to the hospital in the middle of the day to see Sharon. Dutch was with her, looking grim and worn. He held his wife's frail hand between his and didn't speak. Zeke spoke to both of them. When Sharon held out her hand, he took it and prayed for her and for Dutch.

He couldn't leave without going back to the nursery. He shouldn't have been surprised to see Marianne standing outside the window, her arm around five-year-old Joshua. He felt tenderness and pride well up inside him. Their son was all gangly arms, long skinny legs with knobby knees and big feet.

Joshua put his hands on the glass. "She's so little, Daddy. Was I that little?" The tiny baby girl slept soundly in a small hospital bassinet.

"No, Son. You were a whopping nine pounds." The look on Marianne's face concerned him. He took her hand. "We should head home, honey."

"Thank God you found her, Zeke. What would have happened to her if you hadn't?" Marianne looked at him. "We should adopt her."

"You know we can't. They'll find someone to take her." He tried to lead her away.

Marianne wouldn't budge. "Who better than us?"

Joshua joined in. "You found her, Daddy. Finders, keepers."

"She's not a penny I found on a sidewalk, Son. She needs a family."

"We're a family."

"You know what I mean." He cupped Marianne's cheek. "You've forgotten what it was like to take care of a new baby."

"I'm up to it, Zeke. I know I am. Why shouldn't she be ours?" She drew back. "Please don't look at me like that. I'm stronger than you think." Her eyes filled before she turned. "Just look at her. Doesn't she break your heart?"

He did look, and his heart softened. But he had to be practical.

"We should go."

Marianne squeezed his hand. "Pure, genuine religion in the sight of God is shown by caring for widows and orphans."

"Don't use Scripture against me when it's you I'm trying to protect."

Joshua looked up. "Protect from what, Daddy?"

"Nothing." Marianne gave Zeke a quelling glance. "It's just an idea your daddy got into his head a long time ago. He'll get over it. God put her in your arms, Zeke. Don't tell me He didn't." Marianne looked at him with doe eyes. "We have our boy. A little girl would make everything perfect. Haven't I said so?"

She had. Marianne had always yearned for more children, but the doctor had warned them that her heart, damaged by childhood rheumatic fever, wasn't strong enough to survive another pregnancy.

Zeke felt his resolve dissolving. "Marianne. Please. Stop." It had taken months for her to recover after Joshua's birth. Caring for another newborn would be far too taxing for her.

"We can be foster parents. Let's bring her home as soon as we can. If it's too much, then ..." Her eyes grew moist. "Please, Zeke."

* * *

Ten days later, Dr. Rubenstein signed the release forms for little Jane Doe and placed her in Marianne's arms. "You'll make fine foster parents."

After the first three nights, Zeke started to worry. Marianne was up every two hours, feeding the baby. How long before her health suffered? Though she looked exhausted, she couldn't have been happier. Sitting in a rocking chair, Marianne cradled the baby in her arms and fed her a bottle of warm milk. "She needs a real name, Zeke. A name full of promise and hope."

"Abra means 'mother of nations.'" He said it before he could stop himself.

Marianne laughed. "You wanted her all along, didn't you? Don't pretend you didn't."

How could he not? Still, he felt a jab of fear. "We're foster parents, Marianne. Don't forget that. If things become too much for you, we'll call the caseworker. We'll have to give Abra back."

"Give her back to whom? The caseworker wants this to work. And I don't think there's anyone in town who'd take Abra away from us now. Do you?" Peter Matthews, a teacher at the local elementary school, and his wife, Priscilla, had expressed interest early on, but with an infant of their own, they had agreed Abra should stay with the Freemans if they were able to handle it.

Marianne set the empty bottle aside and raised the baby to her shoulder. "We'll need to save money so we can add another bedroom. Abra won't be a baby for long. She'll be in a crib, then a regular bed. She'll need a room of her own."

There was no reasoning with her. All of Marianne's motherly instincts had kicked in, but each day wore her down a little more. Catnapping throughout the day helped, but catching a few minutes of sleep here and there wouldn't be enough to keep her healthy. She was already tousle-haired and ashen, with dark circles under her eyes. "You sleep in tomorrow morning. I'll take her with me."

"In the dark?"

"Plenty of streetlights, and I know the town like the back of my hand."

"She'll be cold."

"I'll bundle her up." He folded a blanket into a triangle, plucked Abra from Marianne's arms, tied it around his waist and neck, and straightened. "See? She's snug as a bug in a rug." And right next to his heart, where she'd been from the first moment he laid eyes on her.

Sometimes Abra fussed when he took her out for his early morning walks, and he would sing hymns to her. "'I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses ...'" She'd sleep for a while, and stir when Zeke stopped in at Eddie's Diner or paused to talk with Dutch.

"Good of you to take on that little one. Isn't she a cutie, with all that red hair." Eddie ran a fingertip over Abra's cheek.

Even hard-hearted Dutch smiled as he leaned out the window of his truck to peer at her. "Looks like a little angel." He drew back. "Sharon and I always wanted kids." He said it like it was another black mark against God. Sharon had passed away, and Zeke knew the man was grieving. When Abra's tiny fingers grasped Dutch's pinkie, he looked ready to cry. "Who'd leave a baby under a bridge, for heaven's sake? Good thing you happened by."

"It was no accident, me going there that morning."

"How so?" Dutch's engine rumbled in neutral.

"I felt impelled to go. God does that sometimes."

Dutch looked pained. "Well, I won't speculate. No question that little girl needed someone that morning or she'd be dead and buried by now." Like Sharon, his eyes said.

"If you ever want to talk, Dutch, just call."

"Better just give up on me."

"Sharon didn't. Why should I?"

As Abra grew, she slept longer between feedings, and Marianne got more sleep. Even so, Zeke didn't give up carrying Abra on his walks. "I'll keep at it until she sleeps through the night." Getting up every morning before the alarm, he'd dress and peek into the children's bedroom and find Abra wide-awake, waiting for him.

* * *

1941

Even the demands of an easy child could wear on someone, and Zeke saw the toll on Marianne.

When he came home one afternoon in June and found Marianne asleep on the couch while Abra, now four years old, dunked her doll up and down in the toilet bowl, he knew things were going to have to change. "You're exhausted."

"Abra can get into something faster than I can say, 'Jack Sprat could eat no fat.'"

"You can't go on like this, Marianne."

Others in the congregation noticed how tired Marianne looked and voiced concern. Priscilla Matthews spoke to them one Sunday after services. Her husband had put up gates so their four-year-old, Penny, couldn't escape the living room. "The whole room is one big playpen right now, Marianne. I gave up and packed away everything breakable. Why don't you have Zeke bring Abra over a couple afternoons a week? You can rest without worry or interruptions for a few hours."

Marianne resisted, but Zeke insisted it was a perfect solution.

* * *

Zeke bought lumber, nails, tar paper, and shingles and started work on a bedroom off the back of the house. Nine-year-old Joshua sat on the boards, holding them steady while Zeke sawed. One of the parishioners added wiring for electricity. Another built a platform bed with pullout drawers and helped Zeke put in windows overlooking the backyard.

Though Zeke was less than enthusiastic about his son moving into a narrow, converted-back-porch bedroom, Joshua loved his "fort." His best buddy, Davy Upton, came over to spend the night, but the quarters were so tight, Zeke ended up pitching a tent for them on the back lawn. When he came back inside, he slumped into his easy chair. "The fort is too small."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers, Kathryn S. Olson. Copyright © 2014 Francine Rivers. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Very good story! Could not put it down. You will love the charac

    Very good story! Could not put it down. You will love the characters. As in Redeeming Love (best book ever) by this author the grace of God and His love is the theme.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    Worth every penny.

    Fabulous book. Reminissent of Redeeming Love.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Great storyline, captivating characters with a twist of intrigue

    Great storyline, captivating characters with a twist of intrigue, romance and mystery, The Collector by Nora Roberts is an absorbing novel that will profusely delight fans of the author and cements Robert’s status as one of the most dependable writers of our time.

    The Collector follows Lila Emerson, a professional house-sitter and an emerging author, who is currently working on her second novel which is part of a series primarily designed for young adults. Working in an apartment in Chelsea, New York, gives her perfect view of the building directly opposite, and its diverse and varied occupants. With a binocular at hand, she spends much time studying the people, hoping to find inspiration for the characters in her book. What she didn’t realize is that knowing what’s going-on in those apartments will ultimately draw her into a whirlpool of deceit and danger, if nothing else.

    Her daily observation draws her to a young couple occupying a particular apartment, and keeping a watch on them one evening resulted in a totally unsettling view as a heated argument between the couple resulted in the woman being pushed out of the window of their fourteenth floor apartment, plunging to her death onto the pavement below. Horrified by what she witnessed, Lila informed the police whose investigation led to the discovery of the dead body of the young man as well inside the apartment, an apparent case of suicide.

    But Ashton Archer, the brother of the deceased young man who is identified as Oliver, is far from convinced. He refused to believe that his brother is capable of such ghastly murder and then taking his own life. As Lila is the sole witness to the crime, he enlisted her help in getting to the bottom of the matter. As the two investigated the case, they stumbled on a world of antiquities and crimes covered in a web of lies, deceit, and greed spanning many decades, and as they dig deeper, their own lives are threatened even as they get close to each other.

    With powerful network of operators up against them, will the two unravel the whole mystery surrounding the death of the young couple? How are they connected to the crime syndicate? The Collector is a gripping romantic suspense novel by Nora Roberts with doses of humor peppered all over. Readers will enjoy this dramatic and intense story which has characters that are truly fascinating. You will feel a tinge of sadness to reach the end of the story as this is one which you’ll want to go on and on, and on.

    2 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    What a story, my first by this author and I plan to read more. G

    What a story, my first by this author and I plan to read more. Growing in the ways of the world is a big pull for young people. Not living in faith is costly.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    A great the plot and character develpoment are both top notch th

    A great the plot and character develpoment are both top notch the plot never lags and the story has a satisfying yet somewhat open ended conclusion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    Not one of River's best

    I am a fan of Francine Rivers, but not of this book. It was riddled with tedious lists of characters activities. Pastor Zeke walked here, ate here, talked to this person, said a prayer for that person. Far too much telling for my taste. I wanted to just skim over these endless lists (almost every character had them) to get to the meet of the story.

    Rivers did a nice job in making Abra a sympathetic character, even with all of her bad decisions. But from a Christian novel stand point, I almost found her too sympathetic. For all of the bad choices she made, it was easy for the reader to excuse the behavior because of her past. And that's okay, it was good to understand where she was coming from, why she would get taken in by the kind of men she did, but it also made her 'redemption' expected, even deserving. How different this story would be if she had come from a traditional, loving background and made those same decisions.

    And although Pastor Zeke and Joshua talked about themselves as having flaws, it was hard to find them. These men were too perfect. Too patient. Too trusting. Too giving. Too self-sacrificing. I think I would have liked to see Joshua's PTSD a more pronounced. It was too easily solved with having one person who had similar experiences to talk to.

    And as for the surprise plot twist?? Saw that one coming from the moment the character stepped into the story. It was simply a matter of waiting for the big reveal. Once it came (far too late in the book with little fanfare) it was resolved too easily, then explained away by simply saying that a sign of a Christian life is forgiveness. (another moment of telling rather than showing)

    And this is the first time I have seen a Christian writer try to write a sex scene in a romantic but clean way. It was clean, but lacked any emotion. I found myself rolling my eyes. The entire seen was unnecessary. And quite honestly, unbelievable considering other events in the book.

    I like Christian lit. I like reading about people who have strong belief in God and still struggle with the trials of life. I like when their faith is rewarded and they feel God's love and redemption. But I found the Christian element in this book for too heavy handed. Granted, Pastor Zeke, a main character, was a preacher. But it seemed that everyone except the villains (and they were painted with no redeeming qualities at all) spent every conversation proclaiming God's love.

    Overall, I expected more and was left wanting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    Beautiful story! One of Francine Rivers' best!!!

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Francine Rivers. Another great story line with so much depth. I loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Amazing story

    I could not put this book down! Amazing story, amazing characters amd it really touched my heart! Some parts had me smiling, some i yelled for joy and some i cried. Just amazing. I love francine rivers!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2014

    Intricate and Touching. This is a beautiful portrayal of realist

    Intricate and Touching. 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2014

    This book has all the best features a good book should have and

    This book has all the best features a good book should have and it’s a delightful story with some mystery thrown in. First, there’s an abandoned baby under a bridge that a pastor finds and takes home. Then there’s the rebellious daughter who runs away to Hollywood and becomes a movie star who’s driven to succeed but emotionally miserable. And finally there’s the wonderful, thoughtful, handsome guy who wants to help bring to wholeness the hurting movie star who was the rebellious daughter who was once the baby under the bridge. Why and how did Lena succeed in Hollywood? What was Lena’s name there? What did Franklin force Lena to do that caused her so much pain and suffering? How did she escape Franklin? What happened to all her money? What did Lena do to earn money after she left Hollywood? What was especially wonderful about the ending?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2014

    I absolutely loved this book. The first couple chapters were a l

    I absolutely loved this book. The first couple chapters were a little hard to get into and I was not sure where the story was going but as I kept reading the story just kept pulling me in deeper and deeper. I read 75% of this book in one day because once I got a few chapters into it I just could not put it down. This book follows the story of Abra who was abandoned by her mother as a newborn and found by the local town pastor. Through her childhood Abra experiences many trials which she has no control over and they cause her to withdraw from those around her into her own world. The love of Abra's family and friends is not enough to really reach her and pull her back from her distorted view of herself and her life. It is this distorted view that makes Abra vulnerable and susceptible to a charismatic character who eventually pulls her away from her family and her smalltown. It is on her own that Abra begins to see the world as it really is and she learns to value herself as more than just a girl who was abandoned as a newborn. This book is so well written and there are twists and turns that happen which are completely unexpected. This story shows the redeeming love of God and of the people who live their lives serving him. It shows how sometimes we have to go through difficult experiences before we can grow up and appreciate what is around us. Abra was a unique character and I think that most people will experience empathy for what she goes through but also learn from how her limited perspective and unwillingness to really be open with others is the catalyst for many of the issues she has later in life. This story is set in 1950's Hollywood and I really enjoyed reading a book that took place during that era. It was part of what made this book unique but also intriguing because it is like reading a story about someone from the past even if this story was only fiction. Lastly if you have read other books by Francine Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, not only will you already know that she is a great author but that this book is a must read. The author is not afraid to cover deep issues and to write about the real risks that happen when people make unwise decisions. As an adult this is a great piece of fiction that can really speak to you spiritually as well as help you process events in your own past, and as a young adult I think this book can be a warning for what happens when we follow our own path instead of God's as well as a book that speaks truth about real issues which are not always addressed in other Christian settings.

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  • Posted August 6, 2014

    Warning...once you start reading this superb novel you will find

    Warning...once you start reading this superb novel you will find it hard to put down. I have read several of Ms. Rivers books and this one is one of her best. Pastor Zeke finds an abandoned newborn under the bridge to Haven and takes her home. He and his wife raise her but when his wife dies when Abra is 4, he feels he can no longer take care of her. He has another couple adopt her but Abra is too young to understand. She struggles with feeling unwanted as she grows, and leaves home with a man who she thinks is the answer to her desires. Her life and struggles, as well as the story of the family she left who never give up on her or stop praying for her, is a captivating engrossing story extremely well told by Ms. Rivers. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Although Bridge to Haven is a good story, I don't think it comes

    Although Bridge to Haven is a good story, I don't think it comes up to the quality of Francine's previous titles. It seems to be a lighter version of Redeeming Love. However, even though it is not one of her best books, Francine is still a great writer, and I give this book 4 stars.

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  • Posted July 24, 2014

    Why in the world did it take me so long to read a book by Franci

    Why in the world did it take me so long to read a book by Francine Rivers? Bridge to Haven is the first I have read by her. I can see why so many highly recommend her. Wow! I was quite impressed.
    Abra went through so much in her young life. I wasn't sure what I thought of her at first. Half way through the book, I realized how much I liked her and was rooting for her to the end. And I cannot believe the last 10 pages. I did not see that coming at all.
    I really did like this book. Such a powerful message of misunderstandings and a reminder to just place yourself in God's hands. Great book! Highly recommended. 
    I look forward to read more by Francine Rivers. She has a great writing style and I want to get my hands on every book she has written. 
    5 stars.

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    Abra was born under a bridge in Haven and then left there by her

    Abra was born under a bridge in Haven and then left there by her mother. Pastor Zeke finds the newborn and, after having her checked out at the hospital, takes her home to his wife for them to raise her. Unfortunately, as a rebellious teen she leaves Haven and goes to Hollywood, changes her name and eventually becomes a star. But at what cost? This is her story, of the joys, trials and tribulations she encounters as she not only runs from her family but also God. In many ways the book reminded me of a modern prodigal daughter story and it also points out that the life of a movie star is not as glamorous as it seems.

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  • Posted July 17, 2014

    I couldn't wait to read this newest Francine Rivers book! Her R

    I couldn't wait to read this newest Francine Rivers book! Her Redeeming Love is one of my all-time favorite books and I love her Lineage of Grace series. She has a gift for bringing stories to life and making readers fall in love with her characters.

    Despite all my raving over Rivers, I have to be honest and admit that this book is my least favorite of any of her books. I loved the characters and the message, but I found the ending too predictable.

    I think Rivers greatest strength is bringing history to life and helping readers understand and sympathize with people in circumstances vastly different from their own. I appreciated the glimpse into the Hollywood lifestyle through the eyes of Francine Rivers. The message of forgiveness and redemption was great.

    Despite my lack of enthusiasm for this book, I am eagerly anticipating the next Francine Rivers book to come out. I am still a huge fan! Perhaps I didn't enjoy this book as much as some of the others because the bar was set too high. Rivers is that great of an author!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2014

      Bridge to Haven is not a repacked Redeeming Love. First, becau

      Bridge to Haven is not a repacked Redeeming Love. First, because there will only ever be one book like that, and second because Abra's story is her own. 




    Redeeming Love took us to the California gold rush days and introduced us to a woman who had been forced into prostitution as a child. 
    Bridge to Haven takes us to a small California town in the 1950's, and we meet a girl who is much loved but doesn't know it yet. Human imperfections all around her and a lack of answers about her own past send her seeking a future far away from everyone who really knows her. 




    There is a battle here for Abra's life, love, and loyalty. 
    She's a girl who thinks nobody wants her. 
    Her biological mother left her to die. Her first father, Pastor Ezekiel, gave her up to another family because he thought they would be able to offer her more. That couple already had a daughter, and the girls at 16 have grown to be rivals, not comrades. 




    The only person she truly trusts is Pastor Ezekiel's son. And even Joshua, barely in his twenties and just back from the Korean war, can't seem to convince her that he cares anymore. The brotherly teasing and hiking trips and cheeseburgers that used to connect them when she was a child no longer work. She craves love, and she's not recognizing it right in front of her, wrapped as it is in plain packaging. 




    Abra is a girl who is uncertain about her own value. And all it takes to steal her heart is a little attention, somebody who desires her company and who makes that desire known. She's too young to tell when a romance is tainted. And so Abra disappears from her home town. 




    This is the story of her leaving and her return. Slowly, painfully, step by step, she loses everything including her own sense of identity. Hollywood made her promises that it could never keep, and there is nothing left that she recognizes as the real Abra. 
    And she doesn't dare imagine that anybody is out there, longing for her to come home. 




    Yet that is exactly the case. The God who formed her, the man who found her naked and newborn, the boy who grew up with her and wants her to come back. They are all calling/whispering/waiting/seeking and urging her to come Home. Grace itself is beckoning to her broken heart, but does she dare to trust it? 




    Again, this is not Redeeming Love. Don't ever go into one book expecting it to be the same as the author's others. This is a fine story all by its self. The first moments to the final scene, even the dark times in the middle.... it all comes together eventually. 




    Great storytelling reminds us why we need to be comfortable in our own stories, because our Author too knows just when to introduce a character, never wastes a scene, and knows how to carry us through a terrible chapter. 




    (Item of note: I really appreciated Joshua's character. I liked the fact that he had been a brother/friend to her for years. It makes their deep bond and growing romance real. It was their foundation, built out of childhood purity and tested by fire. I admire his continual belief in Abra as a human being, and the way he constantly reminded her that she did not need to save herself. That work had already been done. 
    Another element I really like is the quotes above each chapter. Some were from Scripture, some from poetry, others from great men and women of the past.) 




    Thank you Tyndale Summer Reading Program for my review copy of this book. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Absolutely wonderful as all of Francine River's books!! Her boo

    Absolutely wonderful as all of Francine River's books!! Her books always drive me closer to my loving God!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Great Book

    I love a book that holds my interest throughout the whole story and is hard to put down. Francine Rivers' books, including Bridge to Haven, do that for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Welcome to The First Known Cat Date/Mate RP

    Hello I am Blue of the Revolution and I am making a place where any and every cat can go to not only Meet new people but mate and chat. It will be called eHaven!!!!!

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