Thursday, August 6, 2009

Julie's Review: The Last Bridge

Summary: For ten years, Alexandra “Cat” Rucker has been on the run from her past. With an endless supply of bourbon and a series of meaningless jobs, Cat is struggling to forget her Ohio hometown and the rural farmhouse she once called home. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to the home and family she never intended to see again. It seems that Cat’s mother is dead. What Cat finds at the old farmhouse is disturbing and confusing: a suicide note, written on lilac stationery and neatly sealed in a ziplock bag, that reads: Cat, He isn’t who you think he is. Mom xxxooo One note, ten words--one for every year she has been gone--completely turns Cat’s world upside down. Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother’s death, Cat must confront her past to discover who “he” might be: her tyrannical, abusive father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother, Jared, named after her mother’s true love (who is also her father’s best friend)? The town coroner, Andrew Reilly, who seems to have known Cat’s mother long before she landed on a slab in his morgue? Or Addison Watkins, Cat’s first and only love? The closer Cat gets to the truth, the harder it is for her to repress the memory and the impact of the events that sent her away so many years ago. Taut, gripping, and edgy, The Last Bridge is an intense novel of family secrets, darkest impulses, and deep-seated love. Teri Coyne has created a stunning tapestry of pain and passion where past and present are seamlessly interwoven to tell a story that sears and warms in equal measure.

There is so much to say about The Last Bridge that I'm having a hard time thinking of how to put it in words. I would have finished it in one sitting, except motherhood called me out of my revelry. So, I finished it in 2 sittings. I have read reviews where the reader didn't like the main character, Cat, but I did. She was hugely flawed and yes some of it she could have put a stop to, but she was a product of her environment to a large extent. I am all for adults to quit blaming their parents for what's wrong with them and to take ownership for their lives, but in some circumstances it takes a bit longer. Cat is a drunk. She's a hard living drunk who travels from town to town doing jobs that give her enough cash for a hotel and booze. With one phone call she has to return to the house she left 10 years before without looking back. Her mom killed herself and her dad is in a coma. She comes back to the family farm to be confronted with the events that caused her to leave all those years ago.

There are some twists and turns in the book that I didn't see coming. There was one that I did see coming but I think most readers would as well. I think she alludes to it during most of the book. I had no respect for Cat's mom at all. Cat's sister Wendy hides behind a facade of being happy and her brother Jared is torn with guilt that he can't get over. So essentially they are one messed up family.

The note that is described is essential to the book but not in the way I thought it was be. "He" refers to many different men in Cat's life but for me it didn't stick to one more clearly than the other. What I think might have been more poignant is if the note said, "Cat - You aren't who you think you are." Either way it did lead Cat down the road to self-discovery.

I've never been abused and I can not imagine what it is like to be in a relationship like that. I do know from other reading and studying it in school, that when it's good it's so good and when it's bad, it's terrifying. Cat's dad was definitely a monster and I'm glad he finally got what he deserved. Karma has a way of being very vengeful.

I wouldn't change a thing about this book except the cover. I don't think it does the book justice. I would have liked to have seen a picture of the ravine with the rickety old bridge that is the center to this novel. Or even the tree stump that is also essential to Cat's story.

This novel is dark, daring, brooding, honest and hopeful. During parts of the book I cried and recovered. At the end though I continuously cried. The journey that Ms. Coyne takes us on in this book is one that I will never forget. It will resonate with me for a very long time.

Final Take: 5/5


Anna August 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

I received this one from the publisher unexpectedly. Wasn't sure what to think about it, but now I'm looking forward to reading it. Glad to see you liked it.

Diary of an Eccentric

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