Thursday, 3 November 2011

Book Review: String Bridge by Jessica Bell

This is a big month for Jessica Bell, whose literary novel String Bridge releases in Kindle and paperback, and I'm so excited to be part of her blog tour! Here's a little bit more about Jessica and her book-

Jessica Bell is a literary women's fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter who grew up in Melbourne, Australia, to two gothic rock musicians who had successful independent careers during the '80s and early '90s.

She spent much of her childhood travelling to and from Australia to Europe, experiencing two entirely different worlds, yet feeling equally at home in both environments. She currently lives in Athens, Greece and works as a freelance writer/editor for English Language Teaching publishers worldwide, such as HarperCollins, Pearson Education and Macmillan Education.

In addition to String Bridge, Jessica has published a book of poetry called Twisted Velvet Chains. A full list of poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary magazines can be found under Published Works & Awards, on her website.

From September 2012 Jessica will be hosting the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca, home of Odysseus.
You can find her online here.

As for String Bridge, this is from the Amazon blurb-

Greek cuisine, smog and domestic drudgery was not the life Australian musician, Melody, was expecting when she married a Greek music promoter and settled in Athens, Greece. Keen to play in her new shoes, though, Melody trades her guitar for a 'proper' career and her music for motherhood. That is, until she can bear it no longer and plots a return to the stage--and the person she used to be. However, the obstacles she faces along the way are nothing compared to the tragedy that awaits...

The book is available on Amazon, Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble. It also, rather excitingly, has its own soundtrack (composed by Jessica - I KNOW, is there anything she DOESN'T do??), which you can find here.

And what did I think of this book?

Read it. I don't want to say too much about the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but String Bridge is painful, and exhilarating, and the 'tragedy' so tantalizingly teased in the blurb? Oh boy.

Characters are important to me and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't always like Melody or agree with her choices, but I rooted for her. And I hated her husband from the off. It's a huge point in the book's favour that these characters make it feel real.

I will admit that, personally, this isn't a genre I often read. And I know why: it's because I sometimes struggle with literary fiction and there were times I struggled a little here, with small sections where I just wanted more to happen. But I never wanted to stop reading.

Finally, music plays a huge role in this story and I loved that about it. From the title to the main character Melody's name to the huge impact music and love of music has on the plot, it's not just a device: it's an inextricable part of the story. Often books play on a passion without really making that passion a living, breathing part of the story; sometimes, though, that passion comes through and it does here. You may not always like Melody - or you may, I don't know, I can only speak for me - but you'll understand her because Jessica makes you understand how she feels about music. That's what, to me, really made this book shine.

Big congratulations to Jessica!


  1. Thank you so much, Sangu, for reading and posting a review! Your support means the world to me! Cheers!

  2. Great review. I've been reading the reviews and they echo my thoughts. Maybe when I get to my review I should just write, 'ditto what ___ said.' ;)

  3. A really even-handed, engaging review. It made me want to read it. I wish both you and Jessica the best, Roland

  4. It sounds like an interesting book! I'll check it out.