March Read: The Secret Bridge

Hey everyone! It’s time for my review on my March read, The Secret Bridge by Amy Le Feuvre. As always, my content review will be first and will contain spoilers, so if you’d prefer not to be spoiled, scroll down to my personal review!

The Synopsis (Taken from Lamplighter):

We are brought into Bridget’s world, where she finds herself penniless and alone, resisting the kindness of Godfrey Bullingham. Her intelligent, practical mind can accept neither pity nor charity. But time brings change. Relationships are built and promises are made, but secrets complicate a once peaceful life.

Now a young bride, Bridget is challenged: “Acquaint thyself with Him.” From that day forward, her quest to know God takes front and center as she wrestles with life and uncovers the mysteries surrounding her.

The Secret Bridge encourages us to become more acquainted with Christ, waiting for Him as a bride awaits her bridegroom, and falling more in love as we read His letters and eagerly anticipate His coming!

Content Review:

Positive Messages: In a book like this, many of the positive messages are intertwined with the spiritual ones, which I will talk about below. That being said, there are some worth mentioning here which are not directly tied into spiritual ones.

Godfrey Bullingham shows good character right away, as, seeing a young girl all alone, he does what he can to help her, helping her find a room when she discovers her caretaker has died and she has nowhere to go. Eventually, when she can find no work after several weeks, he offers to marry her (even if he becomes a little overly pushy in it). He is also said to have been a peacemaker between quarrelers on a ship. He also likes to please others, especially his family, but he doesn’t allow his desire to please to overcome his will to do what’s truly right. And when he meets some of his wife’s family, despite their coldness and rudeness towards him, he remains cordial.

Audrey, Godfrey’s sister, secretly wants the feud to end between their family and the neighboring Fitzroy family, and also supports her brother’s marriage to Bridget. Despite Bridget’s friendship with the Fitzroys and her mother’s annoyance, she still wants to be her friend. And eventually even her mother comes around to Bridget and takes a kindly interest in her.

Despite her secret, Bridget wants those few who know of it to tell the truth in what they say, without giving the secret away. She also refuses to take sides in the quarrel, even though she finds herself right in the middle of it, and finally at the end, she makes the first step towards reconciling the families even though she did nothing wrong. As time goes on and she becomes a Christian, she wants to help others besides herself for a change. She also defends her dead father’s reputation when someone speaks ill of him, and does her best to respect the wishes of both sides of the feuding families. She truly wants to do what’s right and believes her husband will too.

A man saves two girls from being crushed by a falling chimney during a thunderstorm. Two little kids are arguing, but when they hear a man who’s like a substitute parson around those parts, they stop and repent. An older woman softens towards a younger one despite the girl being the daughter of someone she’d had a falling out with years before. A character’s grandmother, though outwardly cold and proud, truly cares about her and wants to save her from the fate of her rebellious mother, and the granddaughter loves her despite her prior treatment of her mother. The young heir of the Fitzroys wants to put aside the feud and forget it, saying he’s already sunk his pride, in part because he’s in love with Audrey.

Rating: 5/5

Spiritual Messages: Since this is a Christian book, there is some spiritual stuff in this, however it’s not as much as I’ve read in some books. A girl quotes a bible verse and talks about Naboth’s Vineyard. A man says he’s not religious, but will pray every night for his wife while he’s away. When he returns, she tells him about her spiritual journey. She prays for him to become as close to the Lord as she is, and the substitute parson encourages her in it.

The substitute parson around the parts Bridget lives comes and talks to her about Jesus, telling her to acquaint herself with Him. He’s said to quote the Bible a lot, which is shown throughout the book. People want him to become a preacher, but he prefers to go from house to house ministering to people that way. He explains how to come to Christ, and then helps Bridget grow in her walk with the Lord, telling her to lay up the word in her heart. He also discusses topics like being God’s children, backsliding, and God being the Great Physician.

Bridget attends church where they talk of Ruth and Naomi. She also seeks to discover God, and discusses it with her husband’s sister. She reads Ephesians and comes to Christ, then writes to her husband about it. At one point, she feels like her life is a lie because of her promise and wonders if she’s “backsliding” because of it. She tells a woman it’s grace, not works that gets people to heaven, and also wants to follow Jesus and do good. She even starts a Sunday school for the common children around those parts as part of her ministry, along with praying, and reading her Bible.

Bridget witnesses to a sick man along with the substitute parson. The sick man talks about feeling like Peter when he walked on the water and started to sink, and gets saved. The Lord also heals him.

There is talk of a patron saint of a family.

Rating: 5/5

Romantic Content: For the main character being a young bride, there isn’t as much romance in this book as I would assume. Godfrey shows interest in Bridget and helps her out when she finds herself alone, however he knows the chances of her finding employment and making a living herself are slim, so he offers to marry her. He becomes very persistent despite her refusals (due to her believing he only pities her), and she finally agrees. He calls it “love at first sight” when talking to a friend.

A man kisses a girl to whom he’s engaged. A husband and wife hug and kiss, and there is talk of a honeymoon.

A man says he’s tired of society women. People talk of a guy and girl from two feuding families marrying in order to end the feud. The young man is willing, but the girl, despite her secret attraction, denies it thanks to her pride and self-will. Still, his will wins out in the end, and he gets her to finally agree to marry him. He also gets her father’s approval.

A mother invites a girl over her son once admired with the intent to see them both marry.

Rating: 4/5

Violent Content: There isn’t much violent content in this story! King Henry the Eighth is mentioned as being known for chopping off his wives’ heads, and two people nearly drown. A girl nearly falls from a cliff.

Rating: 5/5

Language: There’s no language here, besides one girl calling another “stupid”.

Rating: 5/5

Other Negative Content: While trying to persuade a woman to marry him, a man basically tells her if she doesn’t marry him, she’ll struggle and be all alone and friendless for most of her life.

When a couple marry, the man tells the bride to keep it a secret until she wins the hearts of his rich, uppity family, basically deceiving everyone by going by her maiden name while he is away at sea. On top of this, he basically keeps one of the most major decisions of his life from them, not even asking their advice or getting their approval (though since he knows how his family is, he wouldn’t have gotten it anyways which is why he wants the secret marriage).

Two families have a feud over a piece of property which used to be one family’s ancient home but is now owned by another family. The two ladies of the families refuse to speak to each other, each believing the other to have insulted them.

One rich family admits they would not have befriended a poor, lonely girl or received her presence nicely, and the same family is disappointed in their sons’ choices in wives because their social standing is not what they thought it should be.

A mother cuts off her son solely because he married a girl beneath her ideal class. A girl secretly works on copying a piece of art for another family, the original artwork being a piece of contention between two families. However, when the owner asks her to stop, she does respect that and obeys. The original woman who commissioned the work, however, is annoyed and wants her to still do it via some loopholes. Bridget is not as assertive as she should be with this woman, obeying her over her husband’s requests.

A woman asks another woman for some gossip, and it’s said one woman loves to gossip about her neighbors.

A girl ran away from home because her mother fought with her over who she should marry. She marries another man, goes overseas, and dies young, in part due to her rebellion. Her parents, on their part, cut her off once they found out about her marriage and act as if they never had a daughter, going as far as to burn her and her husband’s letters. When another instance of this happens with another family member, they bad-talk the husband whom they’ve never even met just because of his family name.

Spoilers: Godfrey does not wish Bridget to meet with the family which feuds with his, but she discovers they are her relatives and cannot help seeing them.

Rating: 3.5/5

Total Content Rating: 4.6/5 Stars

Personal Review:

This is my second time reading through this book, and in order for a book to be worth a re-read for me, it has to be a really good book. This is one of those. Though not my favorite Lamplighter book, this story has several concepts which make it into my top ten favorites. Surprisingly, this book does not have much “action”, per se, as the books I usually enjoy, as it is more of a family drama. However, the presence of a family feud, a secret marriage, and a hidden lineage make this book very engaging and made me keep reading to the end and warranted a re-read. While not an edge-of-your-seat story, it definitely kept me turning the pages, and I highly recommend it for those who enjoy family stories and dramas.

Personal Rating: 5/5 Stars

Thank you for reading my review! Does this sound like a book you’d be interested in? Have you read this book before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! God bless! ~ Kay Adelin

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