Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites.
This week I’ve chosen “The last bridge” by Teri Coyne for my Throwback Thursday post. It was first published in July of 2009 and was, for me, a 5 star read.
Blurb: For ten years, Alexandra “Cat” Rucker has been on the run from her past. With an endless supply of bourbon and a series of meaningless jobs, Cat is struggling to forget her Ohio hometown and the rural farmhouse she once called home. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to the home and family she never intended to see again. It seems that Cat’s mother is dead.
What Cat finds at the old farmhouse is disturbing and confusing: a suicide note, written on lilac stationery and neatly sealed in a ziplock bag, that reads: Cat, He isn’t who you think he is. Mom xxxooo
One note, ten words–one for every year she has been gone–completely turns Cat’s world upside down. Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother’s death, Cat must confront her past to discover who “he” might be: her tyrannical, abusive father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother, Jared, named after her mother’s true love (who is also her father’s best friend)? The town coroner, Andrew Reilly, who seems to have known Cat’s mother long before she landed on a slab in his morgue? Or Addison Watkins, Cat’s first and only love?
The closer Cat gets to the truth, the harder it is for her to repress the memory and the impact of the events that sent her away so many years ago.
Taut, gripping, and edgy, The Last Bridge is an intense novel of family secrets, darkest impulses, and deep-seated love. Teri Coyne has created a stunning tapestry of pain and passion where past and present are seamlessly interwoven to tell a story that sears and warms in equal measure.
The title of the novel is explained in the book on page 100. “Let’s just say this is the last bridge. I’ve burned all of the others. I have nowhere else to go.”
The protagonist of the novel is Alexandra ‘Cat’ Rucker. Living in New York working as a waitress in an ‘adult’ bar she is a young women with a tragic past, no self-esteem, and a critical alcohol problem. When Cat receives a telephone call from an old neighbor telling her of her mother’s suicide, she returns home to rural Ohio for the first time in ten years.
Her mother has left a cryptic suicide note which states “Cat, he isn’t who you think he is.” In an attempt to decipher what her mother meant, Cat must confront her past.
Reunited with her sister and brother who return home for the funeral, she experiences chaotic emotions. When she left home she intended never to return. Now, the past is returning – bringing with it such a degree of pain, that she feels she can’t go on. Cat is also reunited with her first love, and his presence in her life once again brings her no solace.
Cat is a protagonist I won’t soon forget. For a young woman of twenty-eight she has suffered more than any one woman should have. Although severely emotionally damaged, she is still very likable. As you read, you want to know more, and thus you follow her through her turmoil.
“The last bridge” does not fall within any genre. It is general fiction at its finest. Worthy of a recommendation from Oprah, this title by first time novelist Teri Coyne is outstanding!
Teri Coyne is an alumna of New York University. In addition to writing fiction, Coyne wrote and performed stand-up comedy for many years. The Last Bridge is her first novel. She divides her time between New York City and the North Fork of Long Island.