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Bridges by @LindaGriffinA is a Best Books of '22 pick #sweetromance #romance #giveaway



Title: Bridges


Author: Linda Griffin


Genre: Sweet Romance


Book Blurb:


In 1963, Neil Vincent, a middle-aged World War II veteran and “Christian atheist,” is working at Westfield Court as a chauffeur. He likes the peace and quiet after his military career and the abundant free time, which he spends mostly indulging his passion for books. He is in an ongoing casual relationship, but not interested in a commitment. Mary Claire DeWinter is a young, blind Catholic college student who comes to Westfield Court when her grandfather is dying. To her shock, he leaves the entire estate to her, but to secure the inheritance, she has to marry within a year. Her domineering aunt pressures her to marry a rich man who teased and bullied her when she was a child. Neil and Mary Claire are divided by age, status, and religion, but they begin an innocent friendship based on a shared love of books and ideas. Neil wants to help her chart her own path, even though he will be out of a job if she doesn’t marry. Can they maintain their friendship and perhaps cross the bridge to more?


Excerpt:


The reading of Austin St. James’s last will and testament took place in the library. Mr. Prentice, the family attorney, sat at the head of the long table, with Mrs. St. James, Mr. Lennox, the two familiar pallbearers, and Mary Claire seated around it. The rest of the staff, unwilling to brave the damask-covered sofas, sat in chairs arranged in a line against the wall. Everyone was muted, respectful, and sober.


The reading began with small items and minor cash bequests for the servants who hadn’t been at Westfield Court long. Based on seniority, Neil should have been among them but wasn’t. Jane was next. She was to have her choice of any two pieces of his late wife’s jewelry. Mrs. St. James sniffed, and Neil glanced at Jane, who was quite pleased. She loved jewelry, and some very expensive items were included in the collection. He wondered what she had done to deserve them and suspected he knew. Mr. Lennox, who appeared most emotionally affected by his employer’s death, received several bequests, some of merely sentimental value, and was obviously most touched by the gift of the old man’s finest watch.



Neil was thunderstruck, but nobody else reacted with anything but boredom, except for Mary Claire, who lit up with her sweet, sunny smile. He glanced around the room. Thousands of books were shelved here—the cash value might be more than Jane’s inheritance. The monetary value was not what he appreciated, of course. What would he do with them all? Would he be allowed to keep them here? He certainly didn’t have enough space in his room above the garage.


He had missed the reading of the gifts to Mr. St. James’s friends, the pallbearers, but they looked well satisfied. He tried to pay attention, but his mind was distracted by the shelves full of books, his books. He forced himself to listen.


“To my beloved granddaughter, Miss Mary Claire St. James DeWinter, my sole surviving grandchild,”—as if poor, disowned Phillip no longer existed—“the house at Westfield Court and all my remaining possessions and assets—” Edna St. James sat very straight in her chair and glared balefully at her niece, and several of the others gasped, but Mr. Prentice was not finished. “Providing only that she fulfill two necessary stipulations. Firstly, that she permit my daughter-in-law, Mrs. Edna Carrington St. James, widow of my beloved son Marcus, to remain in residence at Westfield Court for as long as she lives, and secondly, that she, as a young woman in need of protection and guidance, marry within one year of my death and remain married. If she fails to marry within the stipulated time or is divorced or widowed and fails to remarry within a year, Westfield Court and the entire estate is to be bequeathed to the State of Massachusetts for whatever purposes it may deem fit.”


Everyone stared at Mary Claire. She was so white that her scars were more visible in contrast, and Neil half rose from his chair in case she was about to faint.


“Is that even legal?” Mrs. St. James demanded.


“Yes, ma’am,” said Mr. Prentice. “I believe it is.”


“After all the years I spent managing this house, not to mention his precious Marcus, he’s left me at the mercy of this little—” She stopped, rose to her feet, bristling with injured dignity, and stalked out of the room.


Jane, bless her heart, went to Mary Claire, put her arm around her, and spoke softly to her. She nodded, and Jane led her out of the room.


****


Neil was on tenterhooks until Jane came up to his room. “All those books,” she said, smiling. “You did well, my friend.” She kissed him and started unbuttoning his shirt.


“So did you,” he said. “Is Mary Claire all right?”


“I think so. Poor kid. Nobody’s going to marry her, of course. I think we’ll all be out of a job. I might have to sell my baubles.” She shrugged. “Easy come, easy go.”


“Don’t underestimate her,” he said.


“You a little sweet on her?” she asked with her usual nonjudgmental perception.


“Far from it,” he said. “Today she wanted to drive the car.”


“The naughty girl!” Jane said, delighted. “But you know, love, it’s her car now. She can do whatever she wants with it. Just be sure you get out before she drives it off the bridge.”


“You’re right,” he said. “She’s now our employer. She’s so young…”


“She’s what, eighteen? When I was eighteen—”


“Ah, but you were born older than she will ever be,” he said and kissed her.


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):









What makes your featured book a must-read?


N.N. Light's Book Heaven said, “There's a certain cadence to this story and it unfolded naturally, like classic literature. The romance was slow-burn and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it...If you enjoy vintage romance with a classic vibe, pick up Bridges. Brilliantly written, this is one of the best books I've read this year.”


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.


Runs December 27 – January 5, 2023.


Winner will be drawn on January 6, 2023.



Author Biography:


Linda Griffin is a native of San Diego and has a BA in English from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. As soon as she learned to read, she knew she wanted to be a “book maker” and wrote her first story, “Judy and the Fairies,” at the age of six. She retired as fiction librarian for the San Diego Public Library in order to spend more time on her writing. Her stories have been published in numerous journals including, Eclectica, Thema Literary Review, and most recently The Avalon Literary Review. Bridges is her fifth novel from the Wild Rose Press, after four romantic suspense titles, Seventeen Days (2018), The Rebound Effect (2019), Guilty Knowledge (2020), and Love, Death, and the Art of Cooking (2021). In addition to the three R’s—reading, writing, and research—she enjoys movies, Scrabble, and travel.


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1 Comment


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 29, 2022

Thank you, Linda, for sharing your book in our Best Books of 2022 Bookish Event!

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