Reviewed by Lisa Lickel
Bridge to a Distant Star by Carolyn Williford
"For readers who reach for grace, for explanations and stories that defy the humdrum, you will find something of yourself in each of these families who feel stuck on the treadmill of life and ordinary faith."
One degree of separation.
I assumed by the title that this novel was science fiction, and am not wholly disappointed to learn that it isn’t. Williford tells three stories in this book, with a bridging tale that shockingly reduces six degrees of separation that separates every human from another to one.
Williford borrows from a real bridge collapse decades earlier to bring her modern tale to life. Three vehicles fall into TampaBay when a storm-tossed ship damages it. The passengers of those vehicles tell their story. The first is about a couple facing the reality of a marriage that has lost its spark. Maureen and Bill have two daughters, a middle school student with an all-too-knowing attitude and too-big ears, and a little girl who clings. Reality bites, and Maureen’s friends and life unravel and re-weave around her while she feels like bubbles rising and popping. A few days away would give her time to think and regroup. She and her youngest daughter head out to a beach resort, across the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
The second story is a heart-wrenching account of a young man’s fight and win over a devastating disease that has already nearly ruined his father’s life. Charles and Fran overcome their natural horror and denial of their son’s condition as the boy works to survive. The couple finally share some of their deepest secrets and fears and grow closer. To celebrate, they head for a long-needed weekend on the beach, on the other side of the Sunshine Skyway.
The third story is Michal’s, a young college girl with a background as wide as the word and as narrow as her dorm room. Michal, who plans on being a missionary, has had to endure things that most women won’t have to meet during their whole lives. When a young man’s confusing pressure and a near-rape send her close to the edge, her roommate’s betrayal sends her over. Michal wants only to run to her aunt Sarah for comfort and peace. Sarah lives a bus ride away in Florida, across the Skyway.
When the water stops churning,
the survivors are entwined in miraculous ways that only the Master could
have orchestrated. For those who don’t
like surprises, or who abhor body counts, for which Williford defends herself,
Bridge to a Distant Star will disappoint. For readers who reach for grace,
for explanations and stories that defy the humdrum, you will find something
of yourself in each of these families who feel stuck on the treadmill of
life and ordinary faith.
Lisa Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society, belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater, and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com, and Facebook.