BOOK REVIEW

Book: Bridge to Haven

Author: Francine Rivers

Genre: Christian fiction

If I were ever to meet Francine Rivers, I would ask her why a number of her novels are about people who have taken unpretty roads in life – I’m talking sinful, inner brokenness, rejection, shame, loss, abuse even – and then, in and through their pain, they have found their way to healing, restoration, purpose, and Jesus.

It takes someone who has been God-called to reach broken people, to weave together the kind of stories that Francine Rivers weaves together. Bridge to Haven is one such book.

Bridge to Haven is about a girl, Abra, who was abandoned at birth by her birth mother, found and taken in by the kind Pastor of the small town that she was born in, only for her to be ‘given away’ again, when the Pastor’s wife died.

The story centres around how the devastating losses that Abra suffered, right from birth, dragged her down a path of mercilessly broken hearts and broken dreams. In her quest to purge herself of the feelings of abandonment and rejection, Abra leaves her home town at the age of 17, clinging to a ‘golden boy’ who promises her love, acceptance and a future with bright lights.

Abra quickly discovers that she has hung her dreams on hooks extended by a decadent playboy who will stop at nothing, including using her as a sex-slave, to catapult himself in life. Ashamed, she cannot bring herself to return home.

Abra seems to get her big break when her ‘golden boy’ tires of her and passes her off to a Hollywood talent hunter, Frank Moss. However, that dream dies out quite quickly when Frank shows himself to be just another puppeteer who wants to use and abuse her to make a name for himself.

Abra does rise in Hollywood, but her fame leaves her soul and heart in tatters. It turns out that she ran away from the fire of her painful past, straight into a furnace of never ending heartache.

How will she find that healing and wholeness she longs for? How will she come to make sense of her birth story and of the unravelling that she has endured since then? How will she come to see that the choices she is making as she reaches for meaning in the mess, are only making her life more unbearable? How will Abra make her way home, to the arms of the One who actually birthed her, her Father in Heaven, God, the Lover of her soul?

You will have to read Bridge to Haven to find out.

My thoughts

This book will take you on the emotional roller coaster of your literary life! The depths of pain and brokenness revealed in Abra’s story is heart wrenching! You will watch ‘helplessly’ as this vulnerable young girl goes through pounding after pounding until you think her heart can possibly not take it anymore.

The book takes you through the workings of a heart that was born into abandonment; the disillusionment, the questions, the stone wall that one builds around one’s heart, all because of the fear of being hurt and rejected yet again. You will see how one’s life experiences can indeed craft one’s life story, and dictate one’s identity, one’s lifestyle, and ultimately, one’s life path.

This really is a gripping tale of the realities of hurt and brokenness, and the fact that many of us try to fill those jagged cracks in our hearts, with experiences and exposures that only serve to widen the cracks.

Relevance to current affairs

I love this part!

Bridge to Haven is very relevant right now, in light of the #MeToo movement. Right now, many people in the entertainment industry are stepping up and spotlighting the sexual and other exploitation that Hollywood and the broader entertainment industry is built on.

In this book, Francine Rivers shows how, like a monster, the entertainment industry feeds on young, naïve and eager hopefuls. And sadly, when any of these are also broken-hearted folks who have come to Hollywood on the run from their past, or to reach for what they think will be the balm to their souls, some may end up caught in the net and cut up.

The ‘God view’

Francine Rivers succeeds in telling a very ‘worldly tale’, all the while keeping God’s dogged love, involvement and passion to heal and restore, as the primary theme.

I love that she did that, because it reflects the way God does not cause our painful life stories, neither does He cause us to respond to our inner brokenness or pains, by making life choices that only entrench the pain. Yet, He remains present and very much at work to draw us to His healing love, and to free us from the emotional, spiritual and sometimes physical chains that we keep winding around ourselves.

I do however feel that Francine Rivers, perhaps in a rush to close off the book, was a bit simplistic in Abra’s eventual ‘healing’ experience. The story took us through a heart-wrenching ride of a few hundred pages, only to have everything become okay in the last two chapters. It felt a bit too rushed, but yet again, seeing Abra restored and finding her identity in God is something that you will spend the whole book looking forward to.

Rating and Recommendation

I would give this book four out of five stars.

I would recommend this book to anyone from adolescence to adulthood, male or female. This is a real story that many of us can identify with, even if the actual events have not happened in our lives. There is no one who has not had some painful experiences in childhood, in teenage years, in adolescence … you may even be experience the painful ‘roots-and-routes’ now.

Life experiences shape us. They mould us into identities and lifestyle choices, and if we are not intentional about handing ourselves over to God to help us to extract the life lessons that are good, and untangle ourselves from the bad, we will find ourselves spiraling, like Abra was.

But Jesus loves us so much, that even for those of us who make His work so hard, by running from Him 24/7, and sabotaging His attempts to grab our attention, He never gives up trying. He never gives up on placing lifelines all along the way to snatch us out of the mire and set us up on a healing path.

Long story short, read this book.

And read the bit below about The B.O.O.M Walk Program too. It is very much connected with this book, Bridge to Haven.

Written by Toyin Oladiran for The Narrow Gateway


 The B.O.O.M Walk Program by Toyin Oladiran

We all come from somewhere. We all have our battle scars. We all have those life experiences, past or even ongoing, that have forced us into shadowy corners in our lives, preventing us from living fully, loving fully and most of all, serving God to the uttermost.

Some of us have carried on in this way, and gone on to do life ‘normally’, to become pastors, engineers, fathers, builders, lovers, secretaries, government officials, wives, teachers, sports coaches, gym instructors, you name it. Yet many are living a façade; a classic tale of smokes and mirrors. Many are carrying around, and being defined by those pivotal life experiences. Many have learnt to accept that this is just the way life is – living with and from the baggage.

What’s your scar? Where does it come from? Is it still driving your thoughts and responses to life? Are you tired of your scars keeping you wedged off into the fringes and sidelines of life, constantly angry, bitter, frustrated, rejected, insecure, proud, self-righteous … etc?

That’s what you and I will be tackling with the HOLY SPIRIT in The B.O.O.M WALK PROGRAM.💥

This Program is for EVERYONE…
…Yes, I said EVERYONE!

Be careful now. Do not think that only people who struggle with what we erroneously call ‘the big sins’ like murder, slavery, adultery etc struggle with the ‘Old Man’ (‘B.O.O.M’ stands for ‘bow out, Old Man’). Yes those are reflections of the ‘Old Man’ at work, but for the vast majority of people, the traits of the ‘Old Man’ are way more subtle, and internal.

I’m talking anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-righteousness, pride, fear, insecurity, rebellion against God, inferiority complex, lack of self-control…the list can go on.

The ‘Old Man’ thrives in secrecy… it’s all about the state of the mind, isn’t it?

Come on. Do not be afraid! And do not settle for more of the same!

Click here now to indicate your interest and to begin to prepare your heart and your spaces. The kind of transformation we are talking about here does not come by the click of a finger, neither does it come by lurking in a spectator’s seat. You need to take a bold step, own who you are and where you are at, and come along, for The B.O.O.M Walk Program.

I cannot WAIT to work with you. And if I am so excited about it, imagine how God, the Incredible Lover of your soul feels?😉

Hugs and Love,

Toyin Oladiran (Christian Transformational Coach and Creator of The B.O.O.M Walk Program)


The Narrow Gateway

We back your bold and brazen quest for #thatGodlife that is found by those who dare to enter by “the narrow way”.

Click here to get your free access to our edgy programs, podcasts, videos, blog-posts. Get the practical support that you need, to do life differently; to respond to life by taking the road less travelled.

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