The Kissing Bridge by Tricia Goyer
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Publishing Date: April 1, 2014
Caught between a stifling Amish community and an unnerving outside world, a devout young woman on the run is about to become the newest arrival to West Kootenai, Montana. On the day of her sister's death, Rebecca Troyer took her first step away from the Amish. Rebecca had always strayed a little outside the fold---a job at an Englisch bakery, long weekends with non-Amish friends---but nothing could have prepared her family for what she is about to do: Rebecca is abandoning the community to attend nursing school. She is headed to college, into 'the world.' But she has to make it across the country first. When she stops in West Kootenai, at the home of a lapsed Amish friend from her youth, Rebecca finds a lot more in Montana than she had bargained for---namely a handsome working man named Caleb Hooley. Caleb is at a crossroads of his own. A daredevil bachelor with high standards, he has decided he'll never find an Amish woman who can quench his thirst for adventure. Needless to say, the pretty Amish girl who has fled her community in secret catches his attention immediately. As hearts are opened and secrets are revealed, Rebecca and Caleb find they have much more in common than just their Amish background. But can this runaway find love with a risk-taker who has lost his faith in God? All it will take is one week in the wilderness to find out . . .I recieved this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Kindle version is $7.99 today! (6/20/14)
"The Kissing Bridge" is book three of Goyer's "Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors" series. I read and reviewed book two and rated it with 3.5 stars. Seeing book three up on Netgalley was pretty exciting and I jumped on it right away.
Overall, and honestly, I didn't think "The Kissing Bridge" was as good as "The Promise Box". Unlike the last book, I struggled to connect with the characters. This is purely a personal judgement, but I just couldn't come to understand them. Why did Rebecca have to run away? If Rebecca truly didn't judge Marianna, why was their friendship now full of secrets and holes? Caleb initially falls in love with Rebecca because he thinks she is daring, yet Rebecca is turned off by Caleb's wild ways...so how exactly did they fall in love again? Plus, I have never in my life experienced a moment where I felt compelled to put schooling or work ahead of love and family so I just couldn't understand where Rebecca was coming from.
I enjoyed reading more about Marianna and Ben. Each time they are mentioned in these following books, it feels like getting a peek behind the "Happily Ever After" curtain. They are married, and they are in love, but life is still tough. Marianna is still struggling to level out her Amish upbringing and new modern life. Together they are also struggling to conceive a child. I love that Goyer keeps adding the previous couples into the current books. It adds such a layer of real-ism. I really hope she continues to do this, especially bringing us more Lydia and Gideon, throughout the series as it adds such life to the books.
One of my biggest loves, and takeaways, of "The Promise Box" was the idea behind the Promise Box itself. I couldn't wait to see what Goyer was going to do with kissing bridges. Sadly, it felt like she didn't do as much. Bridges seemed important to Rebecca, but I never truly understood why or felt the weight of importance myself. Slight spoiler ahead:: Towards the end of the book a bridge is used in a double whammy event. The first event seemed unnecessary to me and I read through it quickly hoping to get to the second event that I was anticipating. End slight spoiler.
Even though I couldn't connect to "The Kissing Bridge" as well as I was hoping, Goyer still does a good job of breaking the typical Christian Romance storyline molds. I may have wanted more from the ending, but I appreciate that it wasn't so cut and dry. It leaves room for imagination and, hopefully, seeing them in further books. Goyer is still a master writer and I will continue to read her books! I am rating this particular work with 3 stars. I would recommend it to readers of Amish fiction, Christian Romance, and to those who've enjoyed Goyer's previous works.