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String Bridge Paperback – November 1, 2011

53 customer reviews

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more
$14.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is one of those books that's so familiar, and filled with so much emotion, you'll be crawling for the door." ~Leigh Talbert Moore, author of The Truth About Faking and Rouge 

 "Jessica Bell paints a claustrophobic vision of life where domesticity becomes a ever-diminishing prison cell. With gripping prose and terse dialogue, String Bridge is a powerful debut novel from a very talented writer." ~Talli Roland, bestselling author of The Hating Game and Build a Man
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native literary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written.

Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock 'n' roll duo from Melbourne, she grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician's path, especially when her first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although she spent her years writing and recording dozens of songs she decided she also had a love for the written word, and began to pursue a career as a writer.

Visit her website
 for a full list of published works.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Lucky Press, LLC (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984631747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984631742
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,623,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she'd give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a 30-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, award-winning poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she's written.

Being the daughter of a semi-famous rock 'n' roll duo from Melbourne, she grew up surrounded by song. For a while it seemed logical to travel the musician's path, especially when her first band, spAnk, hit it off in the Melbourne indie music scene back in the late 90s. Although she spent her years writing and recording dozens of songs she decided she also had a love for the written word, and began to pursue a career as a writer.

She started as a poet, drawing from her musical background and etching her thoughts and feelings into verse. Those stanzas soon turned into sentences and paragraphs, and eventually into published books. Her literary voice is said to overflow with "lyrical descriptions, unique metaphors, tight dialogue, and an abundance of sensory detail." She has also been told she has the ability to take a seemingly ordinary three-chord type story and turn it into a main stage event.

In addition to her four novels, two poetry collections (including Fabric, which was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards in 2012), and her bestselling pocket writing guides (Writing in a Nutshell Series), she has published a variety of works in online and print literary journals and anthologies, including Australia's Cordite Review, Writer's Digest, and the anthologies 100 Stories For Queensland and From Stage Door Shadows, both released through Brisbane, Australia's, eMergent Publishing.

One of Jessica's proudest moments was when, in November 2013, her poem, Sugar (which was published in a poetry anthology called Women's Work, edited by Libby Hathorn) was broadcast on ABC National Radio's Poetica program.

Jessica Bell is the Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, the Coordinator of the Writing Day Workshops which take place throughout the United States, and she makes a living as an editor/writer for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Levra on November 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I struggled with this book because of the intense every-single-thought-put-on-paper that Melody had. There are plenty of reviews of what the book was about, so my 'review' is about how this book hit ME.
I would've liked it so much more if it wasn't so centered on Melody's thoughts about every little thing she encountered. I felt like I was slowly going mad, right along with Melody. To that end, that is why I gave this BOOK 2 stars, instead of 1.... The writer IS a good writer, it is just that what she chose to write about was not for me.
When the author was not rambling about Melody, I was enraptured with her way of speech and description.

I wanted to know more about every single character, except Melody and Tessa. Tessa is Melody's daughter and there was good character development for both Melody and Tessa. The other main characters, her husband Alex and Melody's mother and father, could've used a lot more fleshing out, as they were interesting to me.
The ending was abrupt and I was completely floored by that, beCAUSE of how detail-oriented the writer had been about so many other things Melody went through.
(Are there any books out there with satisfying endings, anymore?)
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Bee on November 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Dare you call this chicklit. And as much as I adore chicklit, this is not the tale of a single girl, lost in the city, romping about to find HER MAN. String Bridge goes beyond that. This is after the girl has found her man, her family and is pushed over as she is made to face the hard realities of life. You could call this the after-the-fairy-tale part of life.

Familial love, marital drudgery, long suppressed dreams - Jessica Bell brings it all in and questions it all. What really is more important?

The writing is awe-inspiring. It's easy to see that she's a poet. Don't get me wrong. There's no floweriness. Bell's writing hits hard and yet there's an underlying musical cadence to it.

I was so surprised with this book. I'm a YA book whore. So much so that other genres often get neglected. But reading this reminded me how much I love a good women's fiction. And this wasn't just good. It was effing brilliant.

Bell picks at the nuances of life. The little things magnified. She isn't afraid to mention things that often go unmentioned. Like, sometimes getting irritated with the demands of the daughter you love so much that you'd wish she'd shut up. Or feeling jealous when you see her smiling with her father. Or wanting to throw utensils at your husband like a stark raving lunatic even though he's not really the villain you think of him to be. Or make him out to be. Emotions run high here, so high they spiral into cracks in the main character, Melody's life and her relationships with the people around her.

The author deftly paints relationships like she is really exhibiting the pages out of the tormented mind of a woman trying to find an identity for herself beyond being a mother and a wife.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book took me by surprise! I started off feeling that it would be dull and a chore to finish. No more than three pages in I was hooked! The style of writing was unique; combined with the "realness" of the storyline and characters that felt like you just know them. I did not put this book down other than to sleep, and even that was hard to do (lol!). If there were more stars to give for a rating this book would definitely deserve them!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Terreciel on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's hard to focus on what is good about this book when the writing style is so bad. The author seems to be trying very hard to be poetic, but falls painfully short. Many descriptions are puzzling or downright silly, for example "Their bells jingled like windchimes weighed down with anchors in muddy water."

It's not just the heavy handed metaphors that detract from the story. The author uses italics often to display emphasis. Not only does the effect of emphasis get lost, it's rather an insult to the reader to assume we can't figure out what words should be emphasized. This device should be used judiciously, not generously. The effect here is that everyone sounds like a Valley girl. And I do mean everyone. The characters all sound the same, except for the 4-year old daughter, Tessa, who only sounds precocious.

On the subject of Tessa--Melody goes on all the time about how much her daughter means to her, but Melody doesn't seem to spend a lot of time with Tessa. She just does a lot of angsting about her parenting ability.

Melody doesn't seem to spend much time working either. She has a full-time job but she comes in late, goes on extended coffee breaks with her friend Heather, pretends to be working when she's actually at her desk, and frequently leaves early.

The characters overall are not sympathetic. I was starting to hate Melody. She came off as selfish and childish. Her husband wasn't much better. The depiction of her mother's bipolar disorder wasn't believable; I have personal experience of this disorder. The most believable, sympathetic characters are the minor supporting ones.

I gave the book 2 stars instead of one because the story line was just interesting and unpredictable enough to keep me going.
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