Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Review of Karen Kingsbury's/Hallmark's THE BRIDGE

Wow, you guys. It's almost Christmas. I can't believe how fast this holiday season has gone by. I feel like Thanksgiving was just last week and now here we are with Christmas next week!

Anyway, today I'm sharing with you guys about one of my new favorite Christmas stories-- The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury. (I'm going to be talking about the book and the movie.)

Last year I watched the two-part movie for the first time and really liked it. I remember really liking the actors (especially Katie Findlay) and of course I loved that it was about a bookstore. So this year I finally read the book and I loved it.

I'm going to be reviewing both the book and the movie and comparing them. I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum (or at least warn you before I give any, ha).


This book tells the story of Charlie and Donna Barton, a very special couple who runs a very special bookstore in Franklin, Tennessee: The Bridge. Here, people find not only book recommendations but loving advice and friendship.

Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly are music students who have an unusually special connection, and the Bridge plays a big part in bringing them together. But due to misunderstanding and deception, Molly and Ryan are torn apart. They go their separate ways and pursue their dreams.

Now, seven years later back in Franklin, things are going downhill fast for Charlie and Donna. The Bridge was hit by a flood and all the books were destroyed. Now the Bartons, already struggling financially, have to face the possibility of losing their beloved bookstore too. What's more, Charlie is in an accident and lands in the hospital. 

Ryan, having just come off the road, hears about the hard times the Bartons are going through and is determined to help. He encourages people to pray for Charlie and to donate books to restock the bookstore. Across the country, Molly hears about everything that's going on in Tennessee and can't help but go back.

Needless to say, she and Ryan reunite. And I'll stop there so I don't give anything else away.

I guess I was a little surprised with how much I liked this book. Partly because I really haven't read a lot of Karen Kingbury's books at all, and I don't usually read much in the romance genre. Or maybe because I always feel like when I watch a movie adaptation first, I won't enjoy the book the same way I would have if it was the way I first experienced the story. But I almost like the book even more.(More on why later.)

I just love the two couples in this book. Charlie and Donna are such good people, opening their bookstore up to everybody and treating them and thinking of them like family. And Molly and Ryan... they just have one of those relationships where, even though they're fictional people, you root for them and just hate to see them separate. They care so much about each other that they do what they think is best for the other person even though it means heartache for themselves.
The book nerd in me also loves how they connect over a book. Even though I've never read Jane Eyre, I love the quote "I would do anything for you, sir. Anything that was right" and how it was used in the story.

And the way this book ends, the way everything wraps up, is just so heartwarming and fulfilling. So much love and generosity and Christmas spirit and it's just so sweet. 


Like I said, I saw the movie before the book and loved it. The main storyline is the same, but there are some details that were changed for the movie. For example, Molly and Ryan are 25 instead of 29-ish, and they knew each other in college for two months as opposed to two years in the book. When they reunite Ryan's life is basically the same as it was in the book; he's been touring, playing for different people, but (mild spoilers ahead) Molly's is pretty different. In the book her father has died and she is running an animal shelter, and also playing in a symphony. In the movie her father is still alive and Molly is working for him, about to take over as CEO of the company, and dating Preston, the guy who she's been expected to marry basically her whole life.

I liked this part better in the book, because even after Ryan and Molly parted ways, they were still encouraged by one another to follow their dreams and make the decisions that were best for them and other people in the long run. It's just kind of sad in the movie to see Molly, mostly, having given in to her father's plans for her even when she knows that's not what she really wants.

But, like I said, basically everything else story-wise is the same. The heartwarming ending happens almost exactly the same way and is just as heartwarming.

The movie was released in two parts (which infuriated everybody who watched the first part in 2015 and didn't realize that they wouldn't get to see the next part until next Christmas), and I actually like that. There have been other movies that were made into more than one part and it was just unnecessary. But in this case, I felt like it was actually a really good move. Like I said, I love Ryan and Molly's relationship, and I think we needed that extra screen time to see them meet and have plenty of time to connect. In the book their entire relationship happened in flashbacks, which worked, but I love being able to experience it in the movie in "real time", if you will. At no time in the movie did it feel like they were just trying to fill up time because they made it into two parts. 

Another thing I loved about the movie, which I've already mentioned, was the actors. I think Wyatt Nash and Katie Findlay had really good chemistry, which is necessary because of the connection Molly and Ryan have. And Faith Ford and Ted McGinley totally fill the parent-like, loving roles of Charlie and Donna. Except for the fact that Molly and Ryan are younger and a little different in physical appearance, I can completely picture the actors from the movie in their respective roles when I read the book.

So, I guess when it comes right down to it, the book and the movie are pretty even for me. Both have their advantages, and regardless of whatever differences there might have been, I love the story. If you enjoy Christmas romances/inspirational stories, you should check it out. (... that felt like a school report. Sorry.)

Thanks so much for reading! I feel like this review was kind of allll over the place but I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope you all are having a fantastic holiday season! We're so close to Christmas-- everybody squeeze the last little bit of Christmas joy out of these next few days.

Have you read or watched The Bridge? What are some of your favorite Christmas stories (books or movies)? How has your Christmas season been? Any special plans? (I know that was a lot of questions, but hey, I love Christmas, so let's chat!)

Also, stay tuned for my special Christmas post on Christmas Eve!


  1. Pure romance isn't normally my genre, but your review makes me really interested in this one! The couples sound SO GOOD, and even though I don't love romance by itself as a genre, I'm a sucker for well-written couples fitted into a bigger story.


    1. I don't read a lot of romance either, but I loved this one! You should definitely check it out.

  2. I've been wanting to read one of Kingsbury's books . . . this one looks like it might be a good one to start out with ;D And I REALLY want to see the movies ;D