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Friday, October 23, 2015

BRIDGES OF THE HEART Review


This is a book after my own heart. Not only is BRIDGES OF THE HEART a time travel book, but it's about finding one's roots. And the cool thing is that I am very loosely related to these roots through one of the many branches.

"What's the big deal about roots?" you might ask. "Those people are dead and gone." Which is true, but still pertinent. How can one know himself if he doesn't know where he has come from? Everything we know is the sum total of other people's work. Even if we make some kind of scientific breakthrough, we stand on the shoulders of people who have gone before.

Also, we wouldn't be here if not for those long-dead people who mingled their DNA and their experiences to form families. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of how much information communicates from our forbears through blood and shared memory, as well as word of mouth, written word, and extant artifacts.

Rachel Lisenby has lost her mother and her way. She blunders away from the man who wants to marry her, anguishing because her mother won't be there to adjust her veil or smooth her train or any number of other things a mother might do for her daughter's wedding.

In a fit of pique she tells Maxson to start dating again, which he does. Now Rachel has to watch as he gets ready to pop the question to her nemesis--a girl who swipes everything from her. As Rachel stews over the problem, she meets a strange man, who advises her to call Maxson and apologize. She thinks this Johnathan is a crazy person and isn't about to follow his instructions, especially not on his engagement evening.

But Johnathan has help. Rachel is somehow catapulted two hundred years into the past--to pre-Civil War North Carolina and finds herself trying to solve a murder mystery while still keeping the secret that she's a time traveler. She must unravel the mysteries, build bridges between family members she scarcely knew before, and keep from upsetting the time stream all while trying to learn how to use a flat iron, ride a mule, and dance around some strong-willed characters.

Three fateful pennies from her pocket make no end of mischief for Rachel. She's tossed into jail by a man who is the spitting image of her sweetheart.

Even though I had to sit at my computer to read the whole thing, I barely moved. This story was well written, delightfully plotted, and engaging. The characters are rich and well rounded. I could just see Lucretia's scrubbed floors and hear her grating, growly voice. I worried over Sam, the runaway slave, his eyes wide in the darkness of the outhouse. I wanted to hug Jane and kick Mr. Carter for his petty bigotry. Jane's and Rachel's problems were real and spoke to my heart.

I can also smell the jasmine from Jane's 200 year old blanket on Rachel's bed. I'll have to ask Joan if that's an actual thing. I'd love to see it, if so.

Speak to your ancestors. If you learn their stories, they become real people, not just an amorphous mass of DNA in your far past. Often fact can be freakier than fiction, even.

I loved BRIDGES OF THE HEART and I think you will too. You can buy this book here. Thank you, Joanie. Tell me another story.

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