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Mary Q. (Greeley, CO)
The Last Bridge -- Emotional Novel
This extremely dark novel with an incredibly dysfunctional and complicated array of family members was often difficult for me to read. Each one of the characters was struggling with his or her own set of sad circumstances through most of the book. I also had a hard time making the frequent transitions from past to present without often feeling jarred and slightly confused.
Jennifer F. (Tucson, AZ)
Promising premise doesn't pan out
Even so, I gave this book a fairly high rating because I thought the writing was generally expressive (though not of the caliber of Sue Miller to whom Teri Coyne has been compared), and I think the primary characters and plot will probably be memorable for me. I don't feel the grittiness and true intent of this book would translate well to the screen, but I do think it would be an excellent book club choice because of the tough issues providing strong opportunities for discussion.
The premise of this book was promising and I was immediately drawn into wanting to know more about the character and who the "he" was that was referred to in her mother's note. But, unfortunately, the story gets a bit muddled and having two characters with the same name was confusing. I thought the author tried to get too much into the story. Overall it was an OK read, but I thought it would have been better.
Sandy P. (Gainesville, FL)
The Last Bridge....family dynamics
I thought the book was excellent. Good character development. I enjoyed how the story line went from current to childhood experiences that contributed and had a correlation to what was currently happening in the character's lives. It lent credence to how their adult lives evolved based on their early experiences.
Lea Ann M. (Seattle, WA)
The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne
Family dynamics persisted.....with multiple siblings, does one child always feel like 'odd man out' when it comes to receiving their fair share of parental love and attention?
This book captured my attention the moment I saw the cover. On the cover is a "note," a sticky note, or so it seems. On it are simply the words, "Cat. He isn't who you think he is. Mom xxxooo" The author does a masterful job of tantilizing the reader with clues as to who the "he" of the note may be. In the meantime we are treated to scenes that draw the reader in and which invite introspection. An especially good thing for a book which is read by a book group.
Shellie N. (Scottsdale, AZ)
Emotional and hard to put down
For those who like books with a bit of meat on their bones and one which leaves the reader thinking of the book long after the last page is read, I recommend The Last Bridge.
The Last Bridge is a very emotional novel; a page turner thats hard to put down, like a horrible accident that has happened by the side of the road and you can't keep yourself from looking, even though you know its not going to be good. I found myself feeling all sorts of strong negative emotions due to the situations in the plot and the actions of the characters. Its difficult to like the main character but you do come to understand her behavior. I can't say its an enjoyable read, but its a powerful novel with a clear message that covers difficult subject matter.
Jane H. (Indianola, Iowa)
The Last Bridge
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in domestic violence, addiction, and recovery. This would be an excellent book to read in a book club where members are focused on social issues that are relevant today.
Teri Coyne has written an excellent novel. She is a very descriptive writer, and puts words together that keep the reader on edge. There were times when I was uneasy with her flashbacks. Many times I felt they popped up at awkward times, making me break my focus on the story. I also wish the author had make her secondary characters stronger - especially Diane.
Judy G. (Carmel, IN)
A Story Just Like the Bridge
The Last Bridge is a strong book! I highly recommend it.
I, like other reviewers, read The Last Bridge in one leisurely Saturday afternoon sitting, something I rarely do with a book. I found the story to be sorrowfully riveting despite predictability around key story elements. I found the character development sporadic, sometimes strong and other times leaving me dissatisfied. The first 3 chapters were the strongest and are what pulls the reader quickly into an engrossing read. However, the images created in these chapters don't bear more fruit throughout the book.
Victoria H. (Minneapolis, MN)
Felt Rushed and Incomplete
The book could be twice as powerful with stronger follow-through of some of the initial imagery. In this way, the book was just like the last bridge--missing some slats, lacking a strong support but yet providing a satisfying casual, page-turning read. As a first novel The Last Bridge is good and I hope to read more from this author.
I received this book as an ARC from BookBrowse.com. What attracted me to it in the first place was the publishers mention of Teri Coyne having a similar writing style to Jodi Picoult (an author whom I love). Whereas it is obvious Coyne has great potential as a writer, it is equally obvious that The Last Bridge is her first literary effort and a far cry from the more fully developed and engrossing plot lines of Picoults novels.
As I mentioned in my heading, the story felt really rushed. Coyne gets an A for gripping content (the first page of the book opens with the inexplicable suicide of the main characters mother) but she fails miserably with character development and consistency. Based on her descriptions at the beginning of the book, I spent a good bit of the story picturing the key people as run down, middle aged adults. However, I was thrown for a complete tail spin at the middle of the book when Coyne briefly mentions the main characters age as something like 27! She also breezes through some of the explanatory events so quickly that you almost feel like she lost interest in completing the book half way through writing it.
I will say it again, though; Coyne has a lot of potential. The Last Bridge was entertaining and despite the fact that it dealt with some very disturbing issues (incest, abuse, suicide, etc.) she did not let them consume the book. They acted more as subplots in a greater more complicated and intriguing story of self discovery.
Overall a decent read but it couldve been a lot better.