Ava’s life fell apart long before she arrivedin rural Greece. She left her husband, struggled with losing her daughter, and lost her job as an art teacher. Moving to the dilapidated farm house that Ava inherited from a grandmother that she barely knew only adds to her stress. Then an elderly woman mistakes her for her grandmother, sparking Ava’s interest in her family history. As she searches for clues about the woman who abandoned her home during World War II, Ava struggles to put her own life back together.
The Other Side of the Bridge has two narratives: Ava’s in the present as she struggles separation from her husband and Sophia–Ava’s grandmother–while she works with the resistance against the Nazis in World War II. Ava’s is the primary story line, and the connection between two is the struggle both women face on their journey to find their love. But that was a pretty weak connection. Ava’s struggles, while difficult, aren’t comparable to her grandmother’s. Her grandmother reluctantly risks her life several times while Ava grapples with the drama of whether or not her husband loves her. I wished that the focus had been more on Sophia, or at least that Ava had faced similar stakes.
Ava’s story shows a woman struggling to put her life back together after her marriage falls apart. She gains depth in her character through her relationships with the villagers, and they break her out of the woe is me introspection. She also recognizes that she doesn’t know everything when she’s dealing with living on her own or accidentally butting into other’s lives. If the story didn’t shift back and forth between her and her grandmother, it would have been easy to sympathize with her emotional state. I just had a hard time with that as Sophia had so much more at stake: the lives of her and her family.
The Other Side of the Bridge presents a great example of women’s fiction. It is listed as a romance as well, but I’m not sure why. It isn’t really one since romance doesn’t play a part in either story until the last pages of the book. I would consider this book women’s fiction.
This book would be perfect for a weekend read or during travel.
Rating: three of five stars
The Other Side of the Bridge by Katharine Swartz is published by Kate Hewitt Limited and is available as an eBook.
*I received this book in return for an unbiased review.