By Ekta R. Garg
September 11, 2019
Release date: July 30, 2019
Rated: Borrow it / 3 stars
A woman finds herself separated from her husband without warning; a man loses his wife in tragic circumstances. When they find their way to one another, they’ll have to decide whether they can forget their pasts and move ahead together. Author Jeanne Felfe leads readers through a sweet albeit anti-climactic love story in Bridge to Us.
Julianne Garvoli comes home from work one day and discovers that her husband has left their St. Louis apartment. He’s taken all of his belongings and scrawled a note full of what she considers gibberish. How is it possible that he wants to break off their relationship? Weren’t they the perfect couple? Why didn’t he at least give her the chance to work it out? And when is he coming back?
The answer to that last question is a decided never, although he does ask her if he can take the cats with him. Julianne isn’t having any of it. He shattered her heart. The least he can do is let her keep their pets.
In Denver, Jokob O’Callaghan is fighting his own questions. His beautiful wife and soulmate is finally pregnant. She’s also been diagnosed with cancer. Where is the justice in all of this, Jokob wants to know. All they did was dream about spending their lives the way they’ve done thus far—with his award-winning photography acting as the perfect complement to her poetry and prose.
When Jokob loses the person most important to him, he sets off across the country with a renewed fervor for his photography. Maybe if he keeps capturing beautiful moments, it’ll help him retain the most precious ones with his wife. He keeps moving, keeps searching, and keeps hurting.
An exhibition of his photographs in St. Louis brings Julianne and Jokob together. After months of bad dates and long hours in her job as a nurse, Julianne doesn’t think it’s possible to feel any emotion for another man. Her first few minutes of interaction with Jokob changes her opinion; now she’ll have to figure out whether she’s ready to take a leap of faith in matters of the heart once again.
Author Jeanne Felfe gives readers a charming pair of characters in Julianne and Jokob. The two are definitely right for each other, complementing one another’s strengths and encouraging each other through their weaknesses. Given the genre of the book, readers won’t doubt that the two will end up together. The surprise comes in how they do.
Jokob’s grief and his challenge in getting over it both feel authentic. Felfe doesn’t make the sadness disappear just because Julianne makes an appearance in Jokob’s life, a refreshing choice. Too often in romance, the hard issues get glossed over in order to reach the happily-ever-after that much faster.
If the book is lacking in any place, it’s in the form of a tangible, concrete conflict to keep Julianne and Jokob apart. Their doubt is real, yes, but barring a short encounter with Julianne’s ex-husband, nothing or no one is preventing the couple from becoming one. Readers are left, then, just treading water—almost literally, in the case of the story’s climax—until Julianne and Jokob profess their commitment to one another.
Still, even for those who don’t typically read romance, the book is a gentle, sweet tale. Diehard romance fans will most certainly appreciate and enjoy this book. I recommend readers Borrow Bridge to Us.