Charlotte's Bridge tells the story of a girl's coming of age at the turn of the last century whose life is haunted by two images: One, the conjured, idyllic face of her mother who died giving birth to Charlotte; the other, the body, encased in a block of ice, of a man murdered by her father and half brothers. Against a backdrop in which constant changes produce coincidentally marvelous and frightening experiences, Charlotte Hutchison escapes the sordid, hostile, and criminal world of her childhood to create a life among the civilized people of the town across the river from her natal home.
Pursuing what she believes is the purity of her mother's legacy and desperately seeking to sever the present from her past through acceptance and love, Charlotte clutches at stability, security, and respectability. Yet a dark secret plagues her, compromising her ideals and engendering ambivalence towards her friends, her marriage, motherhood, and ultimately her religion. Each reaction, each choice, each step she takes towards the fulfillment of her dreams ironically generates doubts and trials challenging her faith in her worthiness and leaving her with a tenuous and precarious grasp on reality.
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