*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Audrey, recently widowed, is not saying why she left her comfortable home in the south of England to move into an old school boarding house on the edge of a moor. Tina, a young estate agent, is concerned for Audrey’s safety as she believes the folklore about a schoolboy who never went home. Property developers, annoyed at losing a site ripe for demolition, make plans to encourage Audrey to sell. Malcolm, a charming widower, brings a welcome light into Audrey’s life until it shines into a very dark corner…
Bridge to Eternity is a very gentle and character-based style of ghost story.
There is a touch of The Woman in Black style suspense in the early parts of the book which had me quite jumpy during nighttime bathroom trips, but the malevolence of that kind of horror story is replaced here by a nostalgic melancholy that is more touching than terrifying.
The story mainly follows Audrey, an active older lady who has recently been widowed and is searching for something: meaning in her life; answers; some form of peace. There are plenty of mysteries and secrets here for Audrey to uncover, as she explores her new (old) house and gets to know the people in the local community. Parallel to these investigations is Audrey’s exploration of herself. Through reminiscences about her past and new experiences in the present, she finds herself at a crossroads; weighing up a safe future against the possibility for something… more.
The blurb also mentions Tina, who is far younger than Audrey but also at a crossroads and unsure of which path to take. The two woman act as catalysts, mirrors and antitheses on each others’ lives throughout the story, but Tina’s story is really more of a side-plot to the main thread.
The narrative often switches between characters, and from present to past then back again, which can be confusing in places, but the author generally slips orienting details in quickly before the reader becomes too lost. The past sections are quite upsetting at times, with some serious bullying of various characters, and the deaths (not graphically depicted) of a number of children. These bleaker parts are not dwelt upon, because the main focus of the novel’s tone is about hope, positivity and moving forward.
A little of something for everyone here, with some creepy suspense, some paranormal activity, some romance and some action-thriller drama. Fans of a well-written personal-journey mystery will find plenty to enjoy here.
She hoped that by opening up her lath and plaster walls to the whole town, there was a chance that somebody would let slip information about what had gone on in the old house, even if it was second or third hand. Her husband was no longer with her; her grown-up sons had their own lives to lead; and she had nothing but old age to look forward to. If the nagging voice in her head was ever to be quelled, she had to act now. She owed it to her younger self. Occasionally, she had been a bit frightened of the dark shadows and accompanying creaks, but she would not be deterred.
– Romola Farr, Bridge to Eternity
Bridge to Eternity is available on Amazon right now!
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