I love books! All kinds... classics, mysteries, Christian fiction, suspense and action! I'm also a sucker for anything romantic. ;) And just recently started getting into some non-fiction, philosophical books.
As a HUGE Francine Rivers fan, I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed in her two latest books (The Marta's Legacy Series). While good books, I felt they lacked the connection to the characters that I'd come to love about her other books. Whether it was the narration or the writing, I felt disconnected and disappointed.
Bridge to Haven is back to the Francine Rivers I adore. Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series are my favorites by her, and Bridge to Haven is in their caliber. I laughed out loud, I cried, and I sang along with the Hymns that I recognized. The setting is fantastic, 40s-50s California, with references to all the old stars. Aubra will connect to so many girls/women of today, who feel they need to change themselves in order to be loved, that they have to be perfect or be discarded. It's a wonderful, touching, at times tragic, and at times lusty (did I just say lusty in reference to a Christian romance!?).
Francine finds a way to describe what Aubra goes through in regards to her search for love (ie: what normally are referred to as sex scenes but really aren't in this book). You experiences what she does, and are in the situation, without the graphic-ness that a secular book would have. If that's an issue, please don't let it deter you from the book. It's integral to the story, and is very tastefully written.
It's the best book I've read in a very long time. Francine Rivers books are always a cut above the rest and have a realness to them, and a way of the workings of God that a lot of other Christian fiction books tend to ignore in place of their own agendas. Francine's books are there to show us God's love for us, and Bridge to Haven does just that in a well written, hauntingly beautiful tale of a young girl searching for love and her place in the world.
HIGHLY recommended. Well worth your time.
This book was very difficult to read, considering it's subject matter. My parents were pastors, and I have attended churches both small and mega. Knowing the little I did of the behind the scenes drama and dynamics... this book scared me with it's reality. A Christian book about a pastor that makes mistakes that he doesn't think are mistakes. I found myself wanting his wife to cheat on him! However, the author only brings out this desire in her readers because she wants us to feel what the characters feel, and she sets the character and the reader straight. Very good book, very unsettling in its reality, but a must read for pastors, their wives, or anyone even considering going into the ministry... I wouldn't recommend this book for non-christians, as well written as it is, because of the harshness of the message behind it, and because I don't think they were this book's target audience.
If you want to recommend a christian book to a non-christian, I'd highly recommend her other novel, Redeeming Love
As for this particular audio version, I found that I didn't like the narrator. Her voice just sounded too old for most of the characters, and at times, in order to express certain emotions, she would speak REALLY slowly, especially with the older characters in the book. It wasn't bad, but it was just harder to get used to, but I eventually did. I considered giving this book 4 stars because of the narration, but it's so good as a piece of compelling christian fiction that I couldn't do it. Highly recommended. :)
I gave this audiobook 5 stars based on the novel itself. It's incredibly poignant, as well as controversial. I love how she handles everything from a strict Biblical standpoint, while still making the characters very very real. It's also a very hard look at modern day Christians (though the copyright is over 10 years ago0: hypocrisy, showing how Christians are prone to attacking their wounded, and how compromise based on pity and what's easiest is not always what's right. Incredible, heart-wrenching book.
That said... I hated the narration. Ruth Ann Phimister is an excellent narrator, don't get me wrong... but I did not feel that her voice fit this book in the slightest. I could understand her narrating And The Shofar Blew, because the main characters were older, one even elderly, so I could understand... However, with the main character of this story being 18, with a lot of other young characters, her voice was just not believable to me, and took away from what I consider to be an amazing novel. Kate Forbes would have been a better choice (narrator for Redeeming Love).
Overall though, I highly recommend this book. It pulls your heart in two directions, while gently steering you toward sound Biblical principles. A must read for any woman, or man for that matter.