Today’s review is part of author Jessica Bell's official tour for the debut of her novel STRING BRIDGE. A complete schedule of the tour can be found here. Today, A Backwards Story is posting a review and showcasing a unique companion CD!
If you think you're interested in purchasing STRING BRIDGE by Jessica Bell, please consider doing so today, 11/11/11! (And because I am silly, I am scheduling this post to go live at 11:11 am...) Jessica is trying to hit the Amazon Bestseller's List. As a bonus/thank you, if you email your receipt to Jessica [jessica.carmen.bell(at)gmail(dot)com], she will send you the book's companion CD for FREE!! The CD was written and performed by Jessica herself, and samples can be heard on Amazon and iTunes.
The book can be purchased from...
[No affiliate links here!]
Amazon Kindle USA ($6.99)
(Not on Nook yet! ;_;)Amazon Kindle UK (£5.08)
There is an interesting rhythm to STRING BRIDGE not present in other novels. Author Jessica Bell is a poet and a song-writer, and the rhythm of her writing flows gracefully through the pages of her debut novel. This book can be devastating and brutal, but also speaks of truths often buried beneath the rug. The main character, Melody, starts off weak, but develops a backbone as she overcomes various obstacles seeking to bring her down over the course of the novel.
There is nothing easy about STRING BRIDGE. Bell is the sort of author to be savored by fans of authors such as Jacquelyn Mitchard. Bell explores the nuances of being trapped in a life that was never planned out. Melody always wanted to make something of herself and her music, but after marrying Alex and having a daughter, Tessa, her husband asks her to quit...and high on being a mother, she does. She regrets this decision and itches to make music once again, but is fearful of her dominating husband. Their marriage is no longer great. At times, Melody hates Alex and wishes they weren't married. At first, readers see Alex solely from this perspective, but as Bell dives further into the heart of her characters and forces them to open up, both sides of the story come to life. Both husband and wife have made mistakes, and they do try to salvage their relationship before it hits the rocky shore and breaks apart. Melody truly grows as a character despite her tumultuous past and weathers through the storm of tragedy to come out intact and stronger for her experience.
Bell has a way of pulling the rug out from beneath a reader just when it seems the novel's direction has a set path and changing things up again. There is one part that would be too spoilery for me to comment on that has both pros and cons for me. A pro is how it affects Melody and changes everything, and a con is the way it allows tricky plot points to tie up nicely. I've never been married or had a child, so while I couldn't fully relate to all of Melody's struggles, Bell fleshed her out with so much depth that I still felt for her plight. Relationships aren't always perfect, and Bell manages to capture one in the throes of a stage many writers steer away from. This book isn't always pretty, and can in fact be downright heart-wrenching, but it reads as very real.
I also love the idea of a companion CD designed to be STRING BRIDGE's soundtrack. The CD, entitled MELODY HILL: ON THE OTHER SIDE, was both written and performed by Bell. It is named after the main character and designed to showcase her thoughts and feelings throughout the book. It's rare for soundtracks to be written (and sold) exclusively for books, though earlier this year, fellow literary women's contemporary author Jodi Picoult included such a CD with her latest novel, SING YOU HOME.
(Includes a haunting original song by Jessica Bell off the book's soundtrack!)