Review:The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

Description (from the author’s website)

Emily must realize that her dreams didn’t have to die with her first love.

When Emily Shaw, a young widow, learns that her late husband’s last surprise for her involves returning to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to realize an old dream of theirs, she reluctantly embarks on a summer of discovery in the midst of grief. There, in the oasis of the beach community, she meets a host of townspeople with their own broken dreams and unexpected situations. As the island citizens divide over the fate of a nostalgic bridge, Emily happens upon a man who just may be the one to restore her faith in dreams, hope, and possibly love.

“Whalen’s novel is incredibly charming.” —Romantic Times, 4 Stars

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

Author Marybeth Whalen’s idea for The Bridge Tender (A Sunset Beach Novel) came from the real debate over replacing an old bridge with a new one for Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

In the novel, Emily is a lonely young widow, who at age 27 finds herself purchasing a home on Sunset Beach.  That is where she and her husband, Ryan, spent their honeymoon.  Ryan had taken out a life insurance policy with the wish that she purchase the home of their dreams after he died.
Emily is very lonely, but becomes involved with the people on Sunset Beach.
The focus of this novel is about how Emily copes with her grief and at the same time struggles to move on.
Her best friend, Marta, is embarking on a promising new relationship and spends much of her free time with her new boyfriend.  Emily makes a new friend, her next door neighbor, Claire.  Emily takes on the cause of a young girl, Amber, also, alone, who needs her help.  Emily also becomes attracted to the Bridge Tender, Kyle.
I was very impressed with the analogy of accepting a new bridge, while respecting the old, with Emily accepting her new life while respecting her past.

I Googled Sunset Beach, North Carolina and the images are amazing!  Here is a link:
sunset beach north carolina

About the Author (from


Marybeth Whalen is co-founder of She Reads and the author of THE MAILBOX, SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY, THE GUEST BOOK, THE WISHING TREE, and THE BRIDGE TENDER (to be released in June 2014). Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble words and run car pool. She’s always at work on her next novel. Marybeth, her husband, and their six children live in North Carolina.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book (ARC), The Bridge Tender (A Sunset Beach Novel) by Marybeth Whalen , free from the publisher,  Thomas Nelson/Zondervan, HarperCollins Christian Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

6 thoughts on “Review:The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen”

  1. This sounds like a lovely story, Pat! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I haven’t read anything by Marybeth Whalen (another Southern writer!) but I’m tempted to do so now.


  2. This sounds like a heartwarming story. I also like that the inspiration came from an actual debate over replacing a bridge!


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