Bridge to Haven

Written by Francine Rivers
Review by Liz Allenby

In the 1950s, teenage foster child Abra leaves her small-town California home, escaping the ordinariness of provincial life in the flashy company of Hollywood’s Dylan Stark. She leaves Dylan to find company in agent Franklin Moss, who helps her reinvent her image to transform her into a starlet with the new name of Lena Scott. With his assistance, she travels in the most star-studded circles in Los Angeles, populated by the likes of Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor. Instead of the happiness she expects, she finds misery when faced with her new fame. Franklin remakes her image to suit his Hollywood ideal, so she appears in films as a made-up doll, with little connection to her own identity. The book follows her redemptive path as she learns that the ordinariness of small-town life glitters in comparison to the dull realities of Tinseltown.

The novel begins with an interesting premise: foster child runs away from family and hometown in order to experience the fast life. At times the plot lacks energy, yet at other points the style is riveting. The strength of the book lies in the many setting details of time and place. The author carries us back to the 1950s Hollywood glamour of Elizabeth Taylor and Billy Wilder. She captures the wide-eyed world of the starlet and the men who preyed on such young girls, then cast them aside.