Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

String Bridge Review


Today, I present you with my review of Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge. This is my first book review*, so please bear with me. I'm sure I forgot something in my attempt to make this a comprehensive quick read. I've provided a bio and list of links to purchase her novel and the soundtrack at the end of the review. 

Check back tomorrow to learn more about Jessica from my interview with her.    

*May contain spoilers.

String Bridge
By Jessica Bell
Lucky Press, LLC. 288 pp. $14.95

What price must be paid to hold onto our dreams? Jessica Bell dives into the dilemma of staying true to oneself in marriage and motherhood in her debut novel, String Bridge. She gives readers insight into the effects of compromising your identity for your family.

This visually evocative story set in Athens, Greece paints a picture of relationships between parents, husbands and wives and children many will recognize. Bell’s character development brings a life to Melody, her husband, Alex and their daughter, Tessa that touches the reader in an honest and heartbreaking way.

The novel’s structure, similar to an opus, is broken down into numbered parts. Each of the four sections begins with lyrics to a song from the soundtrack, On The Other Side, accompanying the novel that reveals a part of Melody’s battle between pursuing her music career and her responsibilities as a wife and mother. It’s evident to the reader Melody’s dream to play music faded after marriage and motherhood. She’s determined to breathe new life into her dream at any cost.

Melody’s anger and resentment towards her husband and daughter about her life creates dissonance in her marriage. Alex is distant and short-tempered, and Melody wants time away from him to sort out her feelings. A plan to accept a promotion in England with an attractive boss and join an ex-boyfriend on tour with his band leads to the epic fight that puts Tessa in the hospital.

In the last part of the novel, Melody reflects on her life and the choices she’s made. She realizes relationships are fragile and easily broken after a life-altering accident. In the novel excerpt below, Melody explains the bridge on a guitar to Tessa in hopes of filling her with the same wonder and excitement about music that she grew up with. The bridge is where the strings originate and receive support, much like a family.  

‘“Well, that is one of the most important parts, Blossom. If the bridge isn’t straight, or built properly, then the strings won’t sing very well—the guitar will be out of tune.’
‘Out of tune?’
‘Well, I guess that just means, not quite right—when strings are out of tune, they sound a bit sad.’”

Relating to Melody was easier than I thought when I started reading this novel. I know how it feels to stand still while a life you thought you wanted engulfs you, slowly eating away at your identity until you’re left with an unrecognizable image in the mirror. Then, something drastic and emotionally devastating happens, snapping you back to reality. It’s the moment when you decide if you’re going to let life happen or fight for the one you want. I’m confident women at any stage of life will get wrapped up in the tumultuous world Jessica Bell created in her novel. 

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. I did not receive renumeration. 


Bio:
Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.

Purchase links:

3 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks for this wonderful review, Laura! :o) *whisper* You might want to warn your readers that there are spoilers in this ;o)Thanks so much for being a part of the tour, I really appreciate it! xoxo

Katie McVay said...

Hey fellow Pennwriters member! Great review! The book sounds great, and seeing as I've been to Greece twice, I'm enthralled all the more! Congrats on your first book review! Great site, by the way.

Jeffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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