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The Beginning: An eShort prequel to The Bridge

The Beginning: An eShort prequel to The Bridge

The Beginning: An eShort prequel to The Bridge

4.5/5 (11 ratings)
64 pages
57 minutes
Sep 18, 2012


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes this e-short prequel to her upcoming novel, The Bridge, shedding light on the love story behind the bookstore and how it came to be a place of hope and encouragement.
Sep 18, 2012

About the author

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books were developed into a TV series. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. She and her husband, Donald, live in Tennessee near their children and grandchildren.

Book Preview

The Beginning - Karen Kingsbury



Fall 1971

The pains began at two-thirty in the morning.

A sharp, twisting sort of pain that woke up Donna Barton and sent panic coursing through her veins.

Charlie! She screamed his name, and immediately he sat up in bed beside her.

What? He was breathless, frantic. Ready to carry her to safety or tackle monsters on her behalf. For a few seconds he looked from one side of the room to the other getting his bearings. Then he seemed to remember. His eyes met hers. The baby! Even in the dim moonlight it was easy to see the color leave his face. Is it time?

Donna closed her eyes. The pain moved in waves down her stomach, across her lower spine. She tightened her legs, fighting it. I’m . . . not sure.

It must be. He threw off the covers and ran across the room to a small heap on the floor. Yesterday’s clothes. He pulled on the pair of shorts and T-shirt.

Sweat beaded on her forehead. Hurry, Charlie. Hurry. This was the hottest North Carolina fall in fifty-two years. The heat and humidity made her feel like she was underwater.

He ran to her, his eyes wide. Your bag’s ready. Stay here. I’ll get your clothes.

Something cool. She needed something cool. Maybe my— Her pain doubled. Charlie! Fear mixed with desperation. Each word came slowly. What if . . . what if it’s too . . . strong?

It’s not . . . it’s normal. His voice was higher than before, strained and breathy. Like he was trying to convince himself. We have to get you to the hospital.

The pain didn’t fade like Donna expected a contraction might do.


Yes, that was what she was feeling. This pain was good and right and normal. Pains that would bring their baby into the world and make them a family. A beautiful pain that would erase all the pain she’d already lived through. They needed to go. She would wear her nightgown. She slid her feet onto the floor, but her lungs refused to work. Help . . . me!

Baby, don’t move! Charlie was at her side, her bag flung over his shoulder. I’ll carry you.

Donna felt her body go limp as he scooped her into his arms. Her breaths came in short, shallow gasps. I’m . . . scared.

Hold on . . . I’ll get you there.

She couldn’t keep her eyes open. Somewhere in the back alleys of her mind she felt herself moving, felt him carrying her. But the pain became a thick, dark, suffocating lava, pulling her in, covering her, consuming her. His voice was only a faint whisper now, and finally she couldn’t fight the pull another minute.

In the blackness that overcame her, she reminded herself once more of the truth. This was a good pain. Her past swirled before her, the terrible sad reality alive again. Before the chapter when she met Charlie Barton, Donna’s story was dark and depressing, one pathetic page after another. The only child of a couple of drug addicts, Donna never stood a chance. Other boys and girls went home to hugs and help with homework.

Not Donna.

She would walk through the front door to her parents crashed on the floor or keeled over on the dirty sofa. Drugs sat in the open, plastic bags of white powder and dark green crushed leaves. Needles and mirrors and razor blades and matches. It was the sixties, but even so, Donna’s parents were ahead of the drug game.

Donna wanted nothing to do with their world so she found one of her own. The world of books. She earned

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What people think about The Beginning

11 ratings / 4 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    The Bridge was my first Karen Kingsbury book, and I loved it so much, I was so happy to find out that there was a prequel story, because I didn't get enough from the Bridge, I didn't want it to end. I really hope and pray she makes this a series, I could read about these characters forever, I loved them all, and what book lover dosent love a book about books!! As far as this being a prequel story, You can definitely read this after reading The Bridge as well. It does dig a little deeper into the characters that are in The Bridge but there's nothing you'd need to know from this book that would ruin The Bridge for you without having read it beforehand. I know Karen Kingsbury is a huge name in Literature, and I'm extremely late to the party, but if her other books are as compelling as this short story, and book combined, then I definitely will be reading a lot more from her.
  • (5/5)
    I quite loved reading this book. I’m hooked cos I plan on reading every book Karen has written.
  • (5/5)
    I have read the Karen Kingsbury story, The Bridge, last year and loved it. So I was excited to get the short story, The Beginning, because it is a prequel to The Bridge. It was so good to remember Donna and Charlie Barton, the owners of the bookstore called The Bridge. It was good to go back and read how each of them came to find one another, fall in love and start their dream of a bookstore. This is a very short story, but full of warm memories and precious moments in their life. Charlie made Donna laugh, I liked that about him; and they both loved to read, so starting a bookstore seemed the right thing to do. They will suffer a great loss in their marriage, but they were hoping that through the bookstore they could be a part of changing and helping others and that then their pain would start to grow dim. God would begin to heal them and then use them. As Charlie prayed that "the Lord might bring people who needed something to get them from the pain of yesterday to the possibility of tomorrow. People who needed God and the two of them." You will also meet Edna from the book The Bridge and see how the scrapbook got started that will tell and show people down through the years how much of a difference The Barton's made in the lifes of so many. This was so good, it makes me want to get out "The Bridge" and read it all over again!
  • (2/5)
    I will give Stine this much credit- you don't suspect that Hope is all those people, but when you find out, it makes sense. We also have the question to wonder about of how Hope manages to balance all these people, and how she lives her life. There were things I definitely didn't agree with, however: first years don't get singles (with private bathrooms!), and when a dorm is half empty people aren't put into triples like the three Ms, not to mention the fact that hope was getting checks made out to Jasmine. How is that supposed to work?