Title: The Beginning
Series: Prequel to The Bridge
Author: Karen Kingsbury
Narrator: January LaVoy
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Christian Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes this e-short prequel to her upcoming novel, The Bridge, shedding light on the love story behind the bookstore and how it came to be a place of hope and encouragement.
I absolutely love the premise behind this story. A bookstore named The Bridge, with owners that care more about the people that walk through the front door than the sales that walk out. A place where community members can find a safe haven, open up, get personalized book recommendations as well as friendship, and hopefully eventually find their way out of whatever darkness they were in to the hope and happiness on the other side of the bridge.
I was tempted to pick up The Bridge and then happily saw that there was a prequel called The Beginning….so I figured I’d best start there. The Beginning is a short story/novella that tells the powerful stories of heartbreak and hope of the owners of the bookshop (Donna & Charlie) and the first customer (Edna) that they “help.” The stories were heartbreaking in their details and uplifting in the way that they were able to move beyond the pain and re-build themselves and their lives, yet I didn’t find that there was any real emotional impact. I felt awful for the characters but didn’t manage to find a way to connect with them or really “feel” their pain. That may be a product of the length of the short story but I fear it may have more to do with Kingsbury’s writing style.
The narrator did a lovely job of conveying Kingsbury’s words, but I don’t feel that the content enabled her to shine in any particular way…perhaps/hopefully as the story deepens in The Bridge so will the emotional content thus allowing LaVoy more opportunity to test her acting chops. I don’t know however that I’ll be continuing with the series to find out.
On a side note: I did not realize going into this that it was Christian Fiction. I don’t read a lot of Christian Fiction as I sometimes feel that the religious elements overshadow the plot. (Just my personal opinion as a spiritual but non-religious individual) That said there were many moments within this story where I felt that the dialogue and actions of the characters seemed too effusive or simply too good to be true. It sort of jarred me and threw me off the story. I am sure that the interactions are realistic for a small percentage of the population (and it probably would be a wonderful world if they were true of a larger percentage) but since there were so far out of the realm of what seems realistic to me, I had a little bit of trouble getting past them and back into the story.
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