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The Bridges of Madison County

Cover: 'The Bridges of Madison County'

Staff Review: "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller


I read this book many years ago, but after listening to the soundtrack of the recent musical based on the book and the movie, I decided to revisit the story that I had remembered. "The Bridges of Madison County" by Robert James Waller, is a love story; a story of a love that was unexpected, short-lived, forbidden, but so powerful that it haunted the two main characters’ lives forever.

In the summer of 1965 while Francesca Johnson’s husband and two children were attending the Illinois State Fair, Robert Kincaid, a ruggedly handsome worldly photographer, packs up his pickup truck and travels to Madison County, Iowa to photograph covered bridges for National Geographic magazine. Robert stops at a farm to ask directions to a local bridge. When Francesca agrees to show him, their chance encounter leads to a mutual desire that is undeniable.

Over the next four days, Robert and Francesca fall madly in love. She has never felt such passion. Robert asks her to leave with him saying, “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live." Will Francesca leave the responsibilities of her comfortable but provincial life? The author writes from different perspectives and gives a moving visual of this bittersweet love affair. In an especially poignant section of the book, Francesca celebrates her birthday 22 years later, reflecting on her life and lost love. "The Bridges of Madison County" is a quick and enjoyable read for those who would enjoy a melancholy love story.

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

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