Wednesday, November 2, 2011

String Bridge -- A Review

Jessica Bell’s debut novel String Bridge is the story of Melody, an Australian musician who put down her guitar to raise a family with her Greek husband. Four years later and living on his native soil, Melody realizes she’s become the empty, passionless shell of the person she once was. A return to music is the key to her salvation. But her struggle to decipher her dark feelings, to understand when they are surging from a place of honesty and when they are the result of her own fears or selfishness, threatens to turn all their lives upside-down. And when fate flings tragedy her way, she learns some bridges are easier to cross than others.

 I was mesmerized by this book. The narration is raw and unapologetic, from deep inside Melody’s complicated heart and psyche. Her fragileness and her egocentricity were exposed in a way that felt naked and truthful. I loved the way each scene peeled away another of Melody’s layers, allowing me to eventually understand her as well as she could understand herself.

 Melody’s relationships with the people in her life were as important to the story as her relationship with her music. The genius in Bell’s writing lies in her ability to show each character in authentic light and to therefore demonstrate one of life’s truths: no one is 100% right or 100% wrong in his/her convictions. Responsibility and culpability spin in cycles of blame and redemption in String Bridge, which left me with a healthy dose of pathos for every character, by the book’s end.

Bell writes with poetic flourish, her descriptions lush, poignant and intense. At the same time, her main character is quirky, oftentimes ungraceful and unpolished. The combination creates a style that is fresh, unique, and wholly intoxicating. This character-driven story that dives into the abyss of the human condition is a must-read!

I would be horribly remiss if I didn't mention how Jessica Bell set her first published book apart from this year's debut novels.  An incredibly creative and multi-talented woman, Jessica created and recorded a soundtrack of songs she composed and performed, available now through iTunes and Amazon.  I talked with Jessica about both String Bridge projects in an interview I conducted with her, which I will post here next week, on November 8th.  I hope you'll stop in for that!

Until then, here are several links where you can order your own copy of String Bridge and its soundtrack, Melody Hill, On the Other Side, sold separately.

Purchase links:


Amazon UK: (Coming soon)


Jessica's links:
String Bridge Website:

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.