I started reading The Beginning today, not yet having read The Bridge, but I'll get around to that later. I must admit that I didn't even read the description about it before starting reading the book.
The Beginning is about several different people. It begins with Donna and Charlie who are about to have their baby. It happens late at night and they rush to the hospital. Soon, though, they have lost the child and they turn to a town called Franklin for the answer to their problems. They open a bookshop called The Bridge to handle their grief and eagerly expect some customers. Meanwhile, a woman called Edna is experiencing loss of her own. Her husband had been off fighting in the Vietnam war. One day, she receives news that he has died. She's lost her husband and is devastated. She barely leaves the house for a long time. At first, her parents are supportive, but soon they need to return home. After that, her friends provide whatever support possible, but they too stop coming around. She realises that she is fast running out of money, looking for a local job to support herself. One day, she notices the book shop. When she enters, she finds Donna who helps her find a book to read. Edna keeps on coming back, appreciative for the stories she reads.
The Beginning is such a beautiful story! It's sad, yes, but at the same time, it has an absolutely heart warming tale. It tells of Donna, Charlie and Edna's losses. However, it also looks to how they're coping with that loss and what their future will be like because of books. It is so moving and very well written. Each character and moment is so special. Definitely worth five stars!