Book Review: The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

Romance is a genre I do not read much. Over the past few years, this novel had been recommended by many friends. But I hadn’t taken it up for reading. When a new friend expressed her admiration for the novel very strongly, somehow I felt drawn to it. The cover art too appealed to me. I bought the book without much thought and started on it.

The Bridges of Madison County is a classic romance fiction. The book narrates the tale of Robert Kincaid, a photographer who visits Madison County, Iowa to do a piece for National Geographic magazine about the covered bridges there. Unable to find a particular bridge, he stops at the Johnson farm and asks for directions. From that moment starts the love affair between Robert and Francesca Johnson. The connect between them is strong, drawing them closer without much explicit proclamations of love.

I have thought long and hard about how to review this novel. The story is a very unconventional one. Either you like it, or you don’t. There’s no middle ground. If you take up this book expecting a very pacy, explicit love story, you’ll be disappointed. The story develops slowly, achingly so, making the reader feel the uncertainty that exists in Francesca’s mind at first. Robert is all that she dreamed of, and all that her husband isn’t. That uncertainty vanishes, and the evening develops into something more than just a dinner between acquaintances. As the days pass, their affair becomes deeper, more meaningful. Yet, it is also secretive. The eyes of the society watch every movement, and they wouldn’t understand the emotions that Francesca feels. In the end, just how deep their love was goes unsaid, expressed simply in their hearts, revealed only when there’s no more reasons to hide it.

The book is filled with some quotes that are very memorable. One expresses very succinctly, the meaning of love portrayed in the book.

“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

That certainty for Francesca was Robert, and I remember the scene where their trucks are at the intersection.

The emotions there could be felt very easily. This is a true love story, unconventional though it may be. It’s poetic, written well, mostly engaging. I loved the two central characters, and I feel the author does justice to their love, and in particular to Francesca’s decision whether to follow her heart or not. It’s a beautiful story, and one that I’d read again.


A Score Of 9 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: The Bridges of Madison County
Author(s): Robert James Waller Genre: Romance/Classics
ISBN/ASIN: 9780099421344 Publisher: Random House UK

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
18th June 2017)

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