BOOK CLUB: Last Bridge Before Home

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Author: Lily Malone
ISBN: 978-1-4892-5050-6
Copy courtesy of Harlequin Mira

Last Bridge Before Home is Lily Malone’s sixth full-length novel, and the third in her Chalk Hill series.  However, this is the first of Malone’s books that I have read and I was not aware until I had finished it that it was the third novel in a series, so I can safely say that it stands alone (I purposely don’t read the “about the author” even if it is at the beginning of a book until the end).

For those who are familiar with Malone’s work, this novel is about the third of the Honeychurch boys, the middle son, Braxton, known affectionately as Brix, and the girl he loves Jaydah Tully.

When I began this book I expected it to take the usual route of a rural romance, but very quickly a much darker theme emerged which left me alternately having to take breaks to deal with what I was reading and in tears.

We are all sadly aware of the incidence of domestic violence in our community, but Malone’s book shows how easily it can be hidden even in small rural communities and how easily people can slip through the cracks.

Everyone knows that Keith Tully is not a nice man, so they avoid him.  Jaydah is too afraid of the consequences to tell people what her home life is like, so no-one, not even Brix the person she is closest to, has any idea what is really going on up at the Tully household.

So when Jaydah finally decides to act, to get her family away from the man she calls “the monster” everything has to happen with the utmost secrecy, and at the last minute Jaydah has to admit to Brix that there is still a secret within the secrets that she hasn’t told him yet.  Will this last secret means she is asking too much of the man she loves?

Meanwhile, Brix is dealing with the sudden news that his mum has an inoperable, and terminal brain tumour and a dark family secret is about to be let out of the bag.

Last Bridge before Home is a beautifully written book, with strong believable characters and a storyline that deals with some of the hard truths of what happens behind closed doors.

I highly recommend this book, but make sure you have a box of tissues handy!

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Last Bridge before Home by Lily Malone. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

13 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Last Bridge Before Home

  1. Thank you to Harlequin Mira and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this wonderful book. The Last Bridge Before Home was a great finish to a fabulous series. The trials and tribulations of the lives of the characters and the way they are dealt with had me turning pages far into the night. The whole series is a must read.

  2. I loved this book and didn’t realise it was the third one of a series . Would love to read the first 2 now .
    I really enjoyed the story line and how it showcased how flmedtic violence evolves. I liked the fact that the character that showed her kindness, compassion and strength to fight her way free was in fact a strong male figure . The whole book was easy to read from beginning to end.

  3. Quite a raw story at times when the violence of the father was at its peak, however, an insight into what does happen in some families. Quite sad but strong!
    So very proud that Jaydah took a stand after many years of secrets she felt she couldn’t share with her friends or community. However, once revealed and love shone through everyone came together to support.
    Brix, who loved Jaydah, wasn’t going to let things get in the way even when independent Jaydah put up defences.
    A tough story but one I couldn’t put down.

  4. “Last Bridge Before Home” looks like a traditional rural romance – and I literally mean looks like it, down to the cover that resembles the majority of rural romance novels. But it treads different ground, while still providing an enjoyable romance.

    Jaydah and Brix have had an on/ off relationship since they were teenagers. They love each other, but Brix doesn’t understand why Jaydah has so many secrets. Or why she so often refuses help for rather simple things. She’s an adult woman; why does she still bow to her father’s wishes?

    We soon find out it’s because her father is an abuser. Jaydah would leave if it was just her; but she has others to protect.

    There is one rather noticeable plot flaw in the novel. Australian birth certificates specify whether you’re a twin (and indeed, whether you’re the older or younger). So every time Jaydah provided her birth certificate – to be enrolled in school, get a driver’s licence, get a job, open a bank account, to name a few – this would have been exposed. I am pretty sceptical that in a smallish country town like Chalk Hill, no-one noticed.

    Unfortunately for this novel, I read it straight after the searing “Sheerwater”, which also deals with domestic abuse. Any novel would struggle to escape the shadow of that excellent, unforgettable novel. But it particularly drew attention to a lack in “Last Bridge Before Home” – the abuser is a shadowy figure. We have no real grasp of what motivates Jaydah’s father, or how he feels. This novel is almost entirely about Jaydah’s point of view. The only characters whose perspective we see are her mother and Brix, and that only to a limited extent. It feels a little shallow, although that may be an unfair comparison – Malone is writing a very different kind of novel.

    Unlike many romances, Jaydah and Brix are essentially a couple from page one. They have had no problem forming a relationship, or indeed sustaining it. But living it in a manner most people would consider “normal”? Being open about it, living together, creating a family, sharing things… this they haven’t been able to do. For this novel, this is the end goal past all the obstacles, rather than the first embrace.

    Plot wise there aren’t a lot of surprises here, which is fine, because it’s generally not what fans of this genre are looking for. For those fans, Malone delivers: a couple clearly meant to be together, obstacles in their path, and a supporting cast of (largely) nice people. It’s a pleasant journey.
    Malone tries to bring extra depth by exploring domestic abuse, and truthfully, if I’d read it at a different time, I’d probably think she’s done this pretty well. She doesn’t judge her characters, she clearly depicts how people become trapped, and the challenges Jaydah faces in getting away from her father are vividly explored.

    Romance fans will thoroughly enjoy this: it’s well written and delivers much what they’ll expect. Readers who are less explicitly fans of the genre will likely find it pleasant and readable, but not a novel that rises to great heights.

  5. The Last Bridge Before Home was a great read. It centres around the relationship between Brix and Jaydah who have known each other for a long time. Jaydah finally opens up about her abusive relationship with her father and she makes a plan to get to leave home. A wonderful book. Hard to put down.

  6. I really enjoyed reading ‘Last bridge before home’ by Lily Malone. It was a romance story with a twist! I liked that the story had something different and was about something that is currently very big world wide news, but has always been around. I think it gives hope to those in a similar position that they can lean on others and get support that can really help them.

    I’ve only just realised that this book is part of a series and I am keen to get my hands on the other books to learn more about the character’s lives.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to read >:o)

  7. Last Bridge before Home was a dark romance. The story draws you in wondering whether JT can break free the violence that has surrounded her home life all her life and if she does can she also free other members of her family. The story envelopes issues of how some people JT could trust and how others that should have protected her let her down and in spite of adversity strength of character can surface but has JT left her escape all too late…
    Good read. 4.5/5
    Thank you Lily Malone and Harper Collins Publishers for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this book.

  8. On the outside Last Bridge Before Home, it appears to be a traditional romance novel but it’s not long and you realise that this story will have a very dark undertone.
    I haven’t read a lot relating to domestic violence and there is a lot of confronting content in this story.
    Outside of that, the story is fairly predictable in how it progresses.
    I haven’t read the first two in the Chalk Hill series and while I didn’t feel like that put me at a disadvantage I also didn’t relate to the supporting characters as much as I could’ve.
    While I sympathise with the story and Jaydah’s background, it was in many parts hard to read and not enjoyable content.
    Outside of that though, it was a perfectly fine romance novel.

    1. Also, thank you Beauty and Lace, Lily Malone and Harper Collins Publishers for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

  9. Having read the first two books in this series I was very excited to be picked to review the final book. As expected I absolutely enjoyed this book. Thank you for picking me to read and review The Last Bridge Home.

    It’s not what I expected for JTs story but I feel that Lily did an excellent job to her as a character. Another enjoyable read. Thank you beauty and Lace.

  10. Last Bridge Before Home by Lily Malone is not just a romance but covers the very serious and difficult topic of domestic violence.
    The main character , Jaydah Tully after years of keeping secrets develops the courage to take a stand and also open up to Brix about her abusive relationship with her father.
    Although it is the third book in the Chalk Hill series it can be very easily read as a stand alone novel I will definitely be reading the previous two.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I will definitely be recommending to others.

  11. Great Read by Lily Malone and thanks to Harper Collins!!

    Unfortunately my book got packed into a removalist shipping container by the removalists before I could rescue it (they packed my house quicker than my brain could handle).

    I was part way through the book when we moved 3600km away and I had to wait on our things to arrive before re-reading and finishing the read… but I am so grateful for it.

    A truly great read! Brix and Jaydah have a lot of history and reading the third in the Chalk Hill Series was sensational.

    PLEASE NOTE: if you can not handle confronting and detailed experiences of domestic abuse-verbal and physical… this is not the story for you.

    That aside I felt that Lily gave Jaydah a voice, she set her free and gave her wings.

    Brix thinks his life is simple, predicable and steady. He is only missing one thing…Jaydah.
    Jaydah is stuck in hell, a hell loop she cannot escape and even of she felt strong enough to she knows she wont for the sake of those she loves most.
    A serious of unfortunate and confusing events set of a chain reaction for Jaydah and Brix, with them meeting again, picking up on their past and forging a new and confronting path.
    Courage and stength allow Jaydah to face her fears. Brix is forced to say goodbyes too soon to someone of such great importance but after celebrations of the highest magnitude.
    Actions have consequences though and that often means right when you have sorted yourself out you’re hit with another test, one that is often more difficult than ever.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this read and couldn’t put it down. I was compelled for there to be justice and for good and love to prevail.

    Thankyou beauty and lace, I’m so sorry it is late but it travelled almost completely around Australia before I could get a chance to read it.

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