They say you can't judge a book by it's cover. But when it comes to: The One-Way Bridge by Cathie Pelletier, this eye-catching, inviting cover comes with a thoroughly entertaining story!
I'm a newcomer to Cathie Pelletier's work. In case you are too, she is the award-winning author of 10 novels and grew up in Maine. She is also an accomplished songwriter.
The One-Way Bridge is her first and much-anticipated novel in six years and is set (as are many of her other books) in the imaginary small town of Mattagash, Maine.
From the Amazon product page:
Welcome to Mattagash, the last town in the middle of the northern Maine wilderness. The road dead-ends here, but Mattagash's citizens are fiercely proud.
Yet this simple town connected by a single one-way bridge is anything but tranquil. While neighbors bicker publicly over trivialities such as offensive mailbox designs and gossip about suspicious newcomers, they privately struggle to navigate deeper issues—scandals, loss, failed ambitions, the scars of war...and a mysterious dead body in the woods.
With her trademark wit and keen eye for detail, Pelletier has assembled an unforgettable cast of endearing and eccentric characters, from scheming mailmen and peeping toms to lovesick waitresses and loggers whose underhandedness belies their ingenuity. The citizens of Mattagash will make you laugh and cheer for them as they stumble into one another's lives and strive to define themselves in a changing world that threatens to leave them behind.
The One-Way Bridge is an extraordinary portrait of family, loneliness, and community—and the kinds of compromises we all make in the name of love.
What really stood out in this story for me were the characters. They literally jump off the page. You feel like you know these people. Sharing their joyful moments, sometimes painful memories, their dreams, expectations, losses...
There's Orville Craft, the soon to be retired, quirky, postal delivery man. Billy Thunder, a bad-boy, small-time hustler; who is hiding out in Mattagash after he's written one too many bad cheques in the big city. Harry Plunkett, who owns the mailbox featured on the cover and has several long-standing "bones to pick" with Orville. Beautiful Blanche, owner of the town's café. The place where the townsfolk like to gather to catch up with the latest gossip. Blanche also has a secret admirer. Just a sampling of who you will meet in Mattagash, after you cross the one-way bridge into town.
There were many, many LOL moments in this story and memorable, touching and poignant passages too. What is seen on the outside is often not the complete story as we share the secrets, regrets and aspirations of the residents of Mattagash as they await the first snow of winter.
This was the first novel I've read by Cathie Pelletier but it certainly won't be my last. I'm looking forward to another visit to Mattagash, Maine and in the near future. I read The One-Way Bridge in a couple of days; it's that kind of book. Hard to put down and satisfying from the first page to the last.
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.