I always enjoy the chance to review interesting books, and this latest opportunity to review a book from Lamplighter Publishing was no exception. I got to read a delightful novel from 1899 - The Secret Bridge by Amy LeFeuvre.
Lamplighter Publishing brings rare books from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries to modern day readers in The Lamplighter Collection. These wholesome stories highlight positive and godly character traits and feature positive role models. The books are carefully edited to include footnotes with Scripture references and explanations, but with the stories themselves left in their original format as much as possible.
The Secret Bridge by Amy LeFeuvre is one of the latest additions to the collection. The novel was written late in Amy LeFeuvre's life and was published in 1899. LeFeuvre was a prolific British author of books and stories filled with Biblical principles. In The Secret Bridge, she weaves an intriguing story of a young woman in a predicament that seems quite foreign to us in today's world, and her determination to live honestly and in peace with all her neighbors despite the secrets she has been asked to keep.
Bridget Channing returns to England after her father's death, thinking she has a home with an uncle she has never met. But she finds that the uncle has recently passed away as well, and hadn't left anything for her in his will. Since she's lived her entire life with her father in India, her own education is unconventional and without any family or friends to turn to, she has no way to support herself and her funds will soon run out. Fortunately, Godfrey Bullingham, a young gentleman on the ship had tried to befriend her and took an interest in her circumstances, and he seeks her out again in London to find out how she is managing. His concern and affection leads him to offer marriage to her and to convince her that he can care for her.
Bridget does agree to marry Godfrey and after a private ceremony with only one witness, he takes her to his family home and settles her into the farmhouse. The family lives at the main estate, but they are away when the newlyweds arrive. Godfrey is in the Navy, and must return to sea, and to Bridget's surprise, he requests her promise that she won't reveal anything about their relationship and marriage to his family until he returns home. Keeping the secret doesn't sit well with Bridget, but she respects her husband's wishes and agrees to do so. When the Bullingham family returns, Bridget soon has a new friend in her sister-in-law, Audrey, but she has also become acquainted with another local family, the Fitzroys, and discovers that the Bullinghams and Fitzroys have been hostile to each other for generations. Many generations earlier the king had granted the Bullinghams the very house Bridget now lives in, after confiscating it from the Fitzroys. Bridget finds she has more secrets to keep, because neither matriarch wants Bridget to be friendly with the other.
To complicate matters further, when Bridget finally decides to go through the packet of letters and few personal items she has from her mother (who died when Bridget was an infant), she realizes she is the granddaughter of Mrs. Fitzroy. And when Mrs. Fitzroy realizes this truth, it turns into yet another secret Bridget must keep.
The undercurrent to the entire story is Bridget's determination to know God better and love him more. As she learns more about God from the Scripture she studies, she learns to trust him with the complicated relationships in her life, and to pursue peace and truth.
Since this story was written well over one hundred years ago, the setting and the language may be unfamiliar to modern readers, but footnotes are provided that define some of the words that are more challenging. The story telling is charming, and although not action-packed as we tend to expect nowadays, I found myself eagerly turning pages to discover how Bridget would satisfy her need to be truthful without breaking promises or betraying trust.
What I liked best:
- an unusual storyline, skillfully told, with an endearing main character
- Biblical principles woven into the story, and I appreciated the Scripture references in the footnotes
- wholesome - no objectionable content
- kept me fully engaged as an adult reader, yet the story would be suitable for readers from middle school age up.
What I need to mention:
- younger or struggling readers may find the writing style and some of the unfamiliar vocabulary challenging, and may enjoy the story more if it's read aloud.
My bottom line: The Secret Bridge is a lovely story for young and old, and I believe it fits beautifully with the aim of Lamplighter Publishing, which is to develop "Christlike character one story at a time". The character Bridget is a fine example of doing just that, as she immerses herself in the story of Scripture in order to know Christ and become more like him. And of course, it's just good storytelling!
Would you like to read The Secret Bridge or other Lamplighter books? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: www.Lamplighter.net
Pricing: The Secret Bridge can be purchased for $28.00.
Recommended Ages: Readers aged 12-99
Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.
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