Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Secret Bridge ~ A Crew Book Review

*Today's book review, and graphic, courtesy of Arlene, age 16. Read Carol's thoughts at the end of this post

Christlike character one story at a time, Lamplighter Publishing

The Secret Bridge by Amy Le Feuvre was originally published in 1899. It is one of the most recent additions to the Lamplighter Publishing book collection. The Secret Bridge is about a girl named Bridget who, after the death of her father, comes to England from India and finds what she thought was going to be a simple life turned upside-down when she discovers the uncle who she was going to live with has died. In enters Godfrey Bullingham, a gentleman whom she had met on her voyage to England. As her life reaches a low point he proposes marriage to her and she accepts. They get married but Godfrey, thinking that his family will not except penniless Bridget, moves her into his country home near his family. He hopes that they can get to know her while Godfrey goes back to his next commission at sea. Bridget is stuck in the English countryside with no one knowing her real identity except for the Dents, the couple who run Godfrey's house as housekeeper and handyman. Once Bridget moves in she quickly learns of an ongoing feud between two local families. This feud dates back hundreds of years. As she gets on in her day to day life she tries to remain impartial in the feud while making friends with members of both the Bullingham and Fitzroy families, from the matriarch of the Fitzroy family to Godfrey’s free spirited sister Audrey. She also meets other characters that live nearby such as Mr. Jocelyn, a interesting gentleman, and his mother. Bridget has a good time except for the fact that she has to hide her marriage to Godfrey and never having had to hold to such a big deception before it starts to wear on her. As she goes thought her time alone she writes letters to Godfrey, and learns how to trust God more in every situation. There is more but I can’t tell you any more without spoiling it for you so you will just have to read it yourself to find out what happens.

I really loved The Secret Bridge it was a nice read and easy to follow, and didn’t have some of the weird feeling that a lot of old books I have tried to read have that makes them kind of boring. 
The story was interesting with the histories about the families giving the first depth to the story and then Bridget’s interesting role as she tries to stay impartial to the feuding clans while trying to hide from both families that she has married a Bullingham. Then the revelation of her own childhood throws another twist in the story. I enjoyed it and I will definitely read it again.
It is of course, being from Lamplighter, beautifully done in a light blue leather-like cover with a beautifully embossed front cover and spine. 

It is recommended for ages 12 and up and I would say you would want your child to be at least 12. For me I would recommend it for ages 15 and up. Even if younger children do have a higher reading level, I would wait because it deals with marriage a lot. It also talks about growing towards God and following His will and His example in every aspect of your life.

From Carol:
The Secret Bridge is an amazing story of love, loss, trials, and redemption. When the book arrived on our doorstep I received a "please hurry up and get home so we can open it" message from Arlene. We own a few other titles from Lamplighter, have seen most of their other beautifully bound books at our homeschool convention, and still we rank this as one of our all-time favorite covers they have ever done. The story (as Arlene mentioned above) focuses on Bridget, and the trials she endures after the death of her father. 

Because the story was written in 1899, it reads more as a modern novel than some of the longer, serial-style stories from the 1840's and 1850's Lamplighter has published. Arlene and I were thinking that we would share the book and each spend an hour or so a day reading it until we were finished so we could talk about it along the way. As it turned out, I had a free evening and got so engrossed in the story that I regretfully informed Arlene that she was going to have to wait until I was done to read it, because it was too good to put down. :) She survived until the weekend, and then she also devoured it. 

As Bridget is struggling with her new identity, and needing to keep it a secret, she encounters some help from a local layperson, Mr. Jocelyn. She had been wanting to find God, but because of not having lived around Christians, she is not sure if He is real, and if He is, how she can meet Him and learn more about Him. Mr. Jocelyn encourages her to get to know the Son, by reading His Word, and then having the Son introduce her to the Father. Mr. Jocelyn is a wonderful man who lives out his Christianity by helping both the poor, and the poor in spirit, as he goes about his daily life. Once Bridget gives her heart to Christ, Mr. Jocelyn continues to encourage her to work up the ladder of her faith, one step at a time. This is the heart of the message of this book. To take whatever circumstance you are in and give it to God. To ask God to teach you what you need to know and how to live for Him in that circumstance. 

I concur with Arlene that this story would be best recommended for ages 15 and up. Adults will be challenged by this story, as God uses the characters of Bridget and Godfrey to show us our own areas that need growth. Using this story of marriage, Amy Le Feuvre challenges us to fall more and more in love with our Savior.

This charming yet challenging book has taken its place on our shelf with our other Lamplighter Publishing titles.

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The Secret Bridge {Lamplighter Publishing Reviews}

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