Title: The Last Bridge: A Novel
Author: Teri Coyne
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Alexandra “Cat” Rucker hasn’t been home for ten years, but she returns to the small town of Wilton when she learns that her mother has shot herself in the head. This occurred three days after Cat’s horribly abusive father had a stroke and ended up in the hospital in a coma. Going home means that Cat must face the traumas of her past and come to terms with what she left behind.
When I picked up The Last Bridge, I expected a simple mystery based on the book’s description. I was blindsided by the horrors this novel contains, but I also couldn’t put it down. Coyne’s wonderful storytelling ability kept me hooked from beginning to end. I pushed myself on, knowing that I couldn’t rest until I had learned the ending to Cat’s story.
Cat is such a broken character. She is unable to deal with life because in a lot of ways, she left herself behind when she fled her hometown. Though she got away from Wilton bodily, her heart and mind were still at home. As a result, she drinks to cope with everyday life and is angry at the world for what she’s lost. At the same time, though, she’s not an unpleasant character to read about. Coyne does a wonderful job getting the reader into Cat’s head. All I wanted, as this novel progressed, was for Cat to find some sort of peace and healing in her life.
The abuse in The Last Bridge is difficult, to say the least. Coyne’s prose is crisp and precise, and she doesn’t shield the reader from the horrors of what Cat experiences. At the same time, it’s not overdone or communicated in bad taste; Coyne does as much as she needs to in order to give the reader some sort of understanding of the terrible things Cat has been through. It’s a dark novel, to say the least.
Despite the sadness and heartbreak I felt while reading The Last Bridge, I thought this book was exceptional. While I can’t say I enjoyed the experience of reading it (considering what it was about), it was an amazing novel that I very highly recommend. Despite the dark subject matter of the book, it’s not one that will drag you down or crush your spirits since the end message is one of healing and faith. I cannot wait to see what Teri Coyne comes up with next.