I just can't get this book out of my head...

The Bridge Club
Patricia Sands
Self-pub, Oct 2011
Kindle ed, 398 pages, also hardcover, paperback, audible
Genre(s) women's lit
Source Amazon

Other books by this author: Dreams of Tuscany, Love in Provence series, Soga's Second Chance, Cooking with Our Characters, Drawing Lessons

Synopsis:
How far would you go to help a close friend? Is there a place where you might draw the line and simply have to say no? 

Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request.

Where can you find a story about friendship, laughter and the good things in life that also touches on alcoholism, infidelity, porn addiction, illness, and grief? For many women, it's often within their own circle of friends. Whether your BFFs are in their twenties or are seniors, everyone has a story.

The Bridge Club reminds us of the complexities of women’s friendships through an entertaining and often moving tale of eight women whose lives intersect once a month initially to play the game of bridge. What began as one night turns into four decades that span the segments of a woman's journey from youthful optimism to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented in life's later years.

Based loosely on the author’s own bridge club, the story weaves the reader through a maze of life's inevitable scenarios.

This is a novel for anyone who values friendship. Not simply the "Hi, how are you?" type of friendship but rather the kind that weathers all sorts of storms, unselfishly celebrates triumphs, and hums along year after year with never an unkind word. It does exist.

If you have such a friendship in your life you will relate to the women in The Bridge Club. If you don't, perhaps the story will inspire you to search for it.

Throughout the story, each of the characters faces challenges and change in her life. The Bridge Club emphasizes how honest and loyal friendship helped to enable these changes and how these women empowered and learned from each other in the process.

Through laughter, tears, and everything in between the story meets life head on and affirms that building a strong foundation of friendship is a priceless asset.

About the Author:  
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn't somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere ... particularly the south of France.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist and a 2013 Finalist in Literary Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards. In 2015, eLit Books Silver Award (Literary Fiction) ~ and ~ eLit Books Gold Award (Travel Fiction).

Due to tremendous reader response, The Promise of Provence became Book #1 in the Love In Provence series. Promises To Keep ~ Book #2 was released in Summer 2014. I Promise You This ~ Book #3 was released on May 17, 2016. The series explores a mid-life coming of age and allows readers to lose themselves in the beauty of the south of France without leaving home. Patricia was invited to join the Lake Union imprint (Women's Fiction) of Amazon Publishing in January 2015.

Celebrating the rewarding friendships and bonds women share, her stories examine the challenges life often throws in our paths. Location features prominently in all of her novels.

Her philosophy is that it's never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it! Hearing from readers (both men and women, from ages 20 to 84) is her greatest reward.


My Disclaimer:  
I purchased this book at full price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✰✰✰✰✰  
As soon as I finished this book, I went back and reread the first chapter to see if I had missed something. No, I hadn't missed it, I simply hadn't realized how important it was when I read it. The scene is set right there in the very beginning for the ending, and by allowing that to slip my mind, I had let the ending sneak up on me totally unprepared.

This book has definitely gone to my favorites list. I will have to read it several more times in my life. It has a lot to say. These eight women come together in a group to play bridge. Well, they do play bridge, but the group is so much more than that. The women support each other and socialize together over forty years. They know things about each other that no one else knows. 

Each of them has a crisis in their life and the book tells how the group helps each woman through the time when it happens. For each of them, it is something different. One of them discovers she is gay, another loses her husband. One woman needs to find her way in a traditional world when she is not a traditional person. Another has to face alcoholism. And still another a husband with an internet porn addiction. Then, in the end, they all come together to help one of their number deal with the ultimate crisis.

How this group of eight women deals with each other and each of these situations is amazing. Some of them have made connections with professionals in their careers that are helpful, one has very strong faith, and they are all there for each other with respect and love. 

This book definitely takes a box of tissues and some tea to read. And it must be done in one sitting because you can't put it down once you start it. I would recommend this as a fabulous book club choice as well. It would be great for discussion in a group. I highly recommend this to women's lit readers or to any women who like to read about women facing life and the changes or passages of life. No wonder this book got so many award nominations.

This review is dedicated to Kathy, Lesley, and Maria with love, respect, and sadness.