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Romantic,
Insightful,
Interesting

3 reviews

The Bridge at Valentine
by Renee Thompson

Published: 2010-08-01
Paperback : 240 pages
4 members reading this now
3 clubs reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
In this remarkable retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, The Bridge at Valentine presents a realistic and poignant portrayal of life in 1890's Idaho. July Caldwell, the daughter of a sheepman, and Rory Morrow, the son of a cattleman, find themselves embroiled in their fathers' bitter feud to ...
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Introduction

In this remarkable retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, The Bridge at Valentine presents a realistic and poignant portrayal of life in 1890's Idaho. July Caldwell, the daughter of a sheepman, and Rory Morrow, the son of a cattleman, find themselves embroiled in their fathers' bitter feud to control the rangeland. The battle over grazing rights pits family against family, resulting in a tragedy from which July and Rory struggle to recover. But with tragedy comes triumph and hope for the future--and ultimately, a young woman's determination to strike out on her own.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Everyone sat in silence, not quite certain where to next take the conversation. Preston again glanced at July. He cleared his throat and coughed into his fist. The cue wasn’t lost on Eliza, for it was she who sensed the real reason for his visit, she who suggested July and Doctor Forbes retire to the porch for a cup of hot chocolate. “I’ll make yours with top-milk, July,” she said, knowing she liked it that way. When July reminded her mother she hadn’t yet finished her chores nor carded the mattress on Lilly’s old bed, Isaac rose from his chair. “Take our guest to the porch,” he said. “Your mother’s bringing hot chocolate.” ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the Author:

1. Who was your favorite character? Why?
2. What characteristics attracted July to Rory, and Rory to July?
3. The author created a protagonist willing to oppose her Mormon father to love a Gentile, while conveying the message that women trapped by fate or circumstance always have a choice, but with choice comes consequence. What choices might July have made to change the outcome of the story?
4. What choices might Rory have made to change the outcome of the story?
5. How was July’s relationship with her father different from that with her mother?
6. If you were July, would you forgive your father for keeping you from the man you loved? Did Isaac deserve forgiveness?
7. Was Preston a good husband to July? A good father to Vallie?
8. July tells Pun at the end of the book that he was like a father to her. How was this specifically so?
9. The author has said she wrote the book, in part, to explore how trouble comes not from the head, but the heart. In which cases did July use her heart to make decisions, and what impact did this have on her relationships?
10. Are young adults today still pressured to follow in the footsteps of their parents, and if so, how?
11. What are the corollaries between the land conservation battles we’re fighting today and those fought in 1890?
12. Discuss July’s relationship to the land.
13. Did the author confront or change your mind about any political, economic, social, or cultural beliefs you may have held with regard to race, religion, gender or class?
14. Which scenes were the most memorable? The most inspiring?
15. Was the ending satisfying? Why or why not?
16. What do you think the future holds for July and her daughter Vallie?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Note from the Author:

I had just read John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, an allegorical novel in which Steinbeck combined biography and fiction, a notion I found intriguing. As it happened, I had also just finished reading my grandmother’s Book of Remembrance – a Mormon journal of sorts, in which she described her life as a young girl in Idaho. Her father, a sheepman, recounted a story in which a cattleman named Alex Durty shot and killed another sheepman, Tom Nook. After reading this, it occurred to me I could do what Steinbeck had done – employ the use of a classic template – in his case, the story of Cain and Abel, from the Book of Genesis, and in mine, Romeo and Juliet, from the play of the same name – to structure a story and make it my own. The result is THE BRIDGE AT VALENTINE.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Bridge At Valentine"by mcbrenner1 (see profile) 11/16/10

An easy read that kept me interested in finding out how it would end. Typical love story. Characters very well defined.

 
  "Enjoyed this book!"by amacon (see profile) 01/08/11

 
  "The Bridge at Valentine"by tboyd (see profile) 01/07/11

Slow to start but overall a good story with several interesting twists that kept me reading.

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