Tuesday 12 July 2016


I discovered this book via the kindle scout program, and the cover caught my eye, then the blurb captured my interest enough to encourage me to read the excerpt. Once I read the excerpt I instantly voted for the book to be published. . . .. and I was really pleased when it was chosen, which meant I was sent an e-copy to read and review.

Title: Bridge Daughter
Author: Jim Nelson
Publisher: Kindle Press (via kindle scout program)
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia
Release Date: 7th June 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Young Hanna thinks her thirteenth birthday will be no different than the one before—until her mother explains the facts of life. Hanna is a “bridge daughter,” born pregnant with her parents' child. In a few months she will give birth and die, leaving her parents with their true daughter.
A mature bookworm who dreams of college and career, Hanna is determined to overcome her biological fate. Navigating through a world eerily like our own, she confronts unyielding attitudes and instinctive fears as old as humankind itself.
Then Hanna learns of an illegal procedure that will allow her to live to adulthood…at the cost of the child’s life.


Approaching reading this e-copy I was really looking forward to learning more about the dystopic society. I also think reading the excerpt and being a part of the kindle scout program voting has increased by anticipation for reading the book.

2% After discovering this one via kindle scout I knew that I had to read it!"

30% In just one word? "Intriguing"....don't want to put it down!"

The cover is really cleverly done, as it represents the main concept of the book really well. The sky on the cover looks weighed down and quite turbulent, There's a wide expanse of water and the only way across is via the bridge, which look narrow and lonely. You'll understand these "little nods" to the actual plot when you read the book. To explain in detail would reveal too many spoilers, but believe me this cover fits the book and its contents perfectly. Before reading the book I would possibly have thought it's genre to be a spiritual one, then I guess after reading the book you could apply the word spiritual to it too.
Would this cover make me pick this book up in a bookstore? This is a toughie, because on cover alone. . . I'd have to say I'm not sure I would. However if it was filed/dis[played under the heading of Sci-fi & Dystopian, then I definitely would.
The central issue about this dystopian society is that reproduction has totally changed and is not done in the same way anymore. It's a much more complicated procedure. The society also has much different approach and attitude toward reproduction too. I'm struggling to explain more whilst not giving away spoilers. Girls can become pregnant from the age of 13! and having a baby is considered a great and special gift. Bridge Parties are the popular party that every girl seems to want. Though not all members of society think they are either a good idea or ae very appropriate for their own daughters to attend. We see this in the book with Hanna's mothers reluctance for her daughter to attend her friends bridge party. Hannah Driscoll is the central character in the book and it is her 13th Birthday, she is sneaking about in her bedroom full of excitement wondering if "it" has happened. She swiftly retrieves a pink box which is hidden under her mattress. She pulls out the item from the box and rushes to the bathroom. The other item secreted under her bed mattress is a book from the "before time"so it is very old. This book covers reproduction, though it is in the "old way". This book is considered child like and simplistic in it's descriptions. In fact this book that Hannah treasures has some quite comedic elements to it, for example the section that talks about the father and son cooking dinner whilst the pregnant mother rests. . . it's funny because the father and son are clueless and end up burning the dinner! The book does impart some practical advice about pregnancy and the reader can follow the pregnancy from conception to birth. Hanna flicks through the book, looking up her "symptoms" to see is they could be a sign she too may be pregnant! Even though Hanna has this book, she is still totally confused as to how her friends Alondra and Cheryl were pregnant. Though Hanna seem excited about the possibility of being pregnant, both a coveted, and special state to be in she still has he doubts about it, she isn't totally convinced she truly wants to be pregnant at all. Though Hanna has been home schooled she secretly longs to attend college, doing something about the plants and flowers she loves so much. Hanna's mother is unaware of the "old times" book and "pink box" that her daughter has. Hanna knows she did something wrong and bad when she stole the pink box containing the "test" in it when she took it from So Hanna peers at the test which she has carried out exactly how the instructions say and she has two purple lines. . . . which even after reading the instructions over and over Hanna doesn't understand. She reads and re-reads what it means when you have two purple lines on the test until her parents call for her to have dinner. It's a little dinner party and her aunt and uncle will be attending so Hanna almost forgets about her two purple lines and the two long words she doesn't understand. It's not until much later when she feels ill and dizzy that she blurts out the two long strange words with an unknown meaning. Though Hanna has no chance to ask what is wrong and why everyone looks so shocked and seemingly horrified as she floats into the darkness.
I enjoyed the pace of the book and adored the slow revealing of the dystopian societies ways to reproduce and it's thoughts and feelings on pregnancy. The book is so good at making you ask lots of questions as you read it. Are all the questions answered by the end of the book? no. This book really slowly build the suspense up a little at a time, then just when you think you are going to receive all those answers (the main ones being, what does two purple lines mean? and what do the two mysterious and long unknown words are? and what do they mean? Is it good or bad?) the book ends!!! Oh No!!
So to say this book leaves you wanting much more is an understatement! I'd be reading the next one now if it was available!
Did I enjoy the book? Yes! Would I recommend the book? Yes, I've already been bending my daughters ear about it. Though to be totally truthfully I have been rattling on about this book since I read the sampler on Kindle scout and voted for it. I was over the moon when they chose to publish it. Would I want to read another book in the series? Yesss! I would read the next book now if I could. In my opinion this book genuinely is a strong start to a potentially brilliant series. so I definitely want . . no need to read more.
Would I want to read other titles by Jim Nelson? I will certainly take a look at anything written by this author, especially if it is more like titles similar to this.

Hmm ended a bit abruptly....left me wanting much more! Looking forward to the next book!

What made you chose a Sci-Fi, dystopian genre?
The genre kind of came and found me.  This is my first science fiction novel.  When the inspiration for bridge daughters hit me, it came as a surprise—where did that come from?—but I wasn’t shy to explore the idea.  I was a huge fan of science fiction when I was young, although I shifted away from it in my twenties.  Today writing science fiction feels a little like returning to my home town.

As far as the dystopian elements, that was not by design.  When my reading habits migrated away from science fiction, they moved to the hardboiled school, writers like Chandler, Hammett, and James Cain.  Perhaps I’m the only one that sees it, but there’s a touch of noir’s mortality and fatalism in Bridge Daughter.

Where did you get your book plot ideas from for the Bridge Daughter Series? What/Who is your inspiration?
The central idea of Bridge Daughter is how, in this alternate world, girls are born as surrogates for their mothers, passing away after giving birth to the “real” child.  It came to me in a flash while working on another book.  I’m still not certain where the notion originated, but once I had it, I began connecting it with other bits of inspiration I’d collected over time.  That included a character I’d developed for an abandoned project (a young girl who learns origami to make friends) and a desire to write a novel my four nieces could relate to.  From that I had Hanna, the protagonist, and her dire situation.

Do you have the whole of the Bridge Daughter Series planned out now? If so how many books will there be in the series?
I’ve planned three books in total for the series, one taking place thirty years after the events of Bridge Daughter and one thirty years before.  The series will be a generation-spanning family drama taking place in the California Bay Area, my home.
(Now I'm already looking forward to reading the rest of the series ~Jeanz)

As I wrote Bridge Daughter I fleshed out Hanna’s family history, in particular her mother’s side of the family.  Hanna’s strong-willed grandmother has roots in my mother’s family, women from the American South who were anything but belles of the ball yet raised their children with grace in austere conditions.  As I fleshed out the grandmother in the novel, transplanting Southern rural fortitude to 1950s Northern California, I knew I had to write more about her.

Then, after completing Bridge Daughter and coming to peace with its ending, I wanted to write what happens next.  Hanna is one of my favorite characters.  There’s more to tell about her and about this alternate world’s bridge daughters.

Do you basic plot/plan for each individual book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
Every writing project works out a little differently.  One of my books (Everywhere Man) grew from a short story I thought I’d finished.  Another (Edward Teller Dreams of Barbecuing People) I wrote from the hip, only outlining and organizing and pruning it down at the end of the process, which I would not recommend to anyone.

For Bridge Daughter, I outlined before writing.  I’d never written a science fiction novel before.  I had many, many qualms writing a book about pregnant thirteen year-old girls.  Planning an outline up front gave me the confidence to keep writing.  I stuck close to it all the way to the end.

How long did it take you to write Bridge Daughter, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
From conception to a complete first draft took about ten weeks, which is blazing fast for me.  Fortunately I was between jobs and could give Bridge Daughter my more-or-less undivided attention.  I set it aside for a month before returning to it.  I had the final draft ready a month after that.

It’s a cliché, but the book wrote itself.  Once I got started, the chapters flowed quickly.  The ending was the largest struggle.  I grappled with it from the very beginning.

How did you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for Bridge Daughter?
Early on, before I even started outlining the novel, I knew these young girls would have a special title to separate them from “real” daughters.  My nerdy self started devising medical- and biological-sounding terms.  Then I realized that their name would originate in ancient times, just as “mother” and “father” are some of the oldest words in any language.  Ancient peoples would have looked to their surroundings for a word.  The idea of these daughters acting as bridges seemed fitting.

Once I had “bridge daughter,” I used it as a working title thinking something better would come along.  It grew on me until I decided it really was the best title.
For the cover, I wanted an image of a bridge conveying a journey or a transition.  I didn’t want a monumental or architectural bridge, rather something scaled for humans.  The photo’s lush overgrowth and still water is in keeping with the book’s concerns with biology, fertility, and reproduction.

Who designed the Cover of Bridge Daughter? Did you have a lot of input into the process?
One rule every Kindle author hears is “Don’t make your own cover.”  I violated that rule.

I’m no graphic designer but I have a working familiarity with graphics software, so I muddled through the process.  I have no idea if it looks amateurish or not ... I feel more comfortable evaluating my own writing than my own covers.

Is there anything in Bridge Daughter that you would change now if you could and what would it be?
As I mentioned, the ending was difficult.  My final guide was Hanna herself, being true to her character and all her strengths and flaws.  I’ll admit, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice, but when I consider the alternatives, I honestly don’t see Hanna making any of them herself.  I’m always afraid of putting my thumb on the scale.

You mentioned to me that you are working on book two.  Is there anything you can share with us about the Series?
Bridge Daughter takes place in an alternate 1983.  The next book is set about thirty years later, more like our current time.  It explores bridge daughters in the age of the Internet and social media.  In this alternate world, the social revolution of the 1960s and 1970s came for everyone but them.  Will bridge daughters get their due?

Jim Nelson’s home page - http://j-nelson.net
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/j.nelson.net

On Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/_jimnelson_

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