Sometimes sad things happen to good people, and they end up thinking it’s their fault that the sad things happen, and then they truly believe they’re not good people anymore. This is the story of one of those people, and a series of events that help him to overcome that sadness and realize his life can go on, and have good things in it, and that is okay. This is also the story of a family mystery. A woman has disappeared and it has caused great anguish for her sisters and mother. It was a great, contemplative read for me as I’m stuck in quarantine in Seattle. I loved the British setting and the warm, rich characters. Thank you so much to Harlequin/Park Row Books for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time through NetGalley. Read on for a synopsis and my candid, unbiased review. This book released on April 28, so go check it out!
Fredrik Backman meets The Cactus in THE SECRETS OF LOVE STORY BRIDGE (Park Row Books; April 28, 2020; $25.99 US/$32.50 CAN), in which a cynical single father has a surprise encounter on the famous love lock bridge, sparking a journey of self-discovery that may lead him to a second chance at love.
Single father Mitchell Fisher hates all things romance. He enjoys his job removing padlocks fastened to the famous “love lock” bridges of Upchester city. Only his young daughter, Poppy, knows that behind his disciplined veneer, Mitchell grieves the loss of her mother, Anita.
One fateful day, working on the bridge, Mitchell courageously rescues a woman who falls into the river. He’s surprised to feel a connection to her, but the woman disappears before he learns her name. To Mitchell’s shock, a video of the rescue goes viral, hailing him as “The Hero on the Bridge.” He’s soon notified by the mysterious woman’s sister, Liza, that she has been missing for over a year. However, the only clue to where the woman could have gone is the engraved padlock she left on the bridge.
Mitchell finds himself swept up in Liza’s quest to find her lost sister. Along the way, with help from a sparkling cast of characters, Mitchell’s heart gradually unlocks, and he discovers new beginnings can be found in the unlikeliest places…
This book was such a sweet and thoughtful look at people and families, friendships and love, and guilt and forgiveness. Mitchell, the main character, is a total grump at the beginning but once I learned his backstory, I really felt for him. He definitely wormed his way into my heart. His daughter Poppy is absolutely adorable and so well-written. I could totally imagine her in real life. I also loved the women of the family that Mitchell ends up helping, especially Liza, who is so quirky and interesting.
One of the best things about this book is that is really written about everyday people living everyday life, and yet, there is almost a magical feeling to it all. The idea of all the locks weighing down the bridges and having to be cut off, and how futile that is, but how there is also a story behind each lock and if you think about it that way, it’s easy to get sentimental about it. I could just picture it!
I loved the bit of mystery in the story as well. I wasn’t certain what happened to Yvette, and with each new tidbit revealed, I had new theories. It kept me engrossed in the story for sure! And each character gets what they deserve, so to speak, which makes the ending satisfying. I especially enjoyed watching Mitchell’s journey as he learns to accept his past mistakes and stop beating himself up for them. I highly recommend this one as a soothing and engrossing escape!
About the Author
Phaedra Patrick is the author of The Library of Lost and Found, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which has been published in over twenty countries around the world. She studied art and marketing, and has worked as a stained-glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full-time. She lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.