Christmas Book Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury – 12 Days of Christmas Day 5


Really, is there any other way to start a post on day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas? Today I’m sharing another Christmas book review, and this one falls today because of its beautiful glowing cover. It features an abundance of Christmas lights and a cozy golden glow spilling out from the titular bookstore. The story doesn’t quite live up to the glowing cover, but it is still a worthwhile read if you’re looking for something simple, bookish, and Christmasy.

13547154About the Book

Title: The Bridge

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Synopsis: Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.

Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?

The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts

The Bridge was my nod towards Christmas in July – although I didn’t read it until August. Close enough, right? It shouldn’t have taken my more than a few days to finish The Bridge, but unfortunately, the story was less compelling than I expected, so I ended up putting it down for a while before finally finishing it.

I want to talk about what The Bridge does well though: the setting. Even though for the majority of the story the bookstore itself is closed, we see what it’s like through flashbacks and memories. It sounds wonderful. This house-turned-bookstore has the coziest atmosphere, and the people who show up inside are sweet. It’s a highly idealized setup, but I have no problem with that! Walking the aisles of The Bridge and listening to the stories – both in books and the people – is peaceful.

Sadly, we don’t spend much time in this version of The Bridge. Most of the story occurs in or around a hospital room. I won’t give anything away, but there is a LOT of unnecessary drama, both in the present and the past. That’s where the story lost my interest. I wanted more softly falling snow and reading by the fireside, but more often than not I got petty family drama (even outright manipulation – disgusting!) and angst fueled by miscommunication. Even though the story takes place around Christmas, I rarely felt the warm fuzzy feelings that I anticipate when reading a Christmas-themed book or watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.

The Verdict

In the end, I’m left with a very vague “meh” feeling about The Bridge. It’s easy to read, and maybe if you’re wanting to ease into Christmas media without being overwhelmed, it would be a good place to start. The story is okay, and everything works out in the end. I would love to visit the bookstore, and peruse Charlie’s scrapbook in addition to the shelves. But, I struggled to feel much empathy for the characters, and the while the story was easy to read, it just isn’t compelling to me. It’s pretty middle-of-the-road overall, and I’m giving it three stars.

Enjoy your Friday, Readers! For more bookish and Christmasy posts, check out these linkups at Stories by Firefly and In the Bookcase:


The purpose of #ALiteraryChristmas is to share all the Christmasy books we read! To participate, make a list of Christmas-themed books you want to read, and get started! You can share your list, updates, and reviews through the linkup on Tarissa’s blog here.

12 Days of Christmas header

The 12 Days of Christmas blog party is all about sharing Christmas cheer by posting each day about something Christmasy. You can find all of the details and a list of participants on Faith’s blog.

There is also a giveaway associated with the 12 Days of Christmas! You can enter here.

Until the next chapter,

Merry Christmas!


4 thoughts on “Christmas Book Review: The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury – 12 Days of Christmas Day 5

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