The Bridges of Madison County

by Robert James Waller

Hardcover, 1992



Classic Literature. Fiction. Literature. Romance. HTML:Fall in love with one of the bestselling novels of all time �?? the legendary love story that became a beloved film starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. If you've ever experienced the one true love of your life, a love that for some reason could never be, you will understand why readers all over the world are so moved by this small, unknown first novel that they became a publishing phenomenon and #1 bestseller. The story of Robert Kincaid, the photographer and free spirit searching for the covered bridges of Madison County, and Francesca Johnson, the farm wife waiting for the fulfillment of a girlhood dream, The Bridges of Madison County gives voice to the longings of men and women everywhere �?? and shows us what it is to love and be loved so intensely that life is never the same… (more)

Library's rating


(1376 ratings; 3.4)


Audie Award (Finalist — Romance — 2015)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Monica71
Do I feel guilty about loving a book about adultery? No. Because I am a realist. This is an amazing book about life and the insanely difficult choices that fall into our laps when we least expect it. Or do they happen because we are dying inside and are unaware of it, reaching out for a life
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preserver? Do you agree with the decision she ultimately makes? That depends on weather you lead with your heart or your head, or in this case both.
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LibraryThing member Nialle
Is this what is known as a Gary Stu? Anyway - sentiment spread thickly on a slice of pasteboard. It got me through three waiting room hours, but then I had to admit to having read it, which produced exactly two kinds of responses: "I'm sorry" or "Robert Redford."
LibraryThing member chellerystick
I finally read this one which was popular when I was a teenager. I think now was the right time to read it. It is about an austere affair, something with few accoutrements besides minds, bodies, and four days of hot, quiet summer. I would say that there is something of the declensionist point of
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view here... that passion is vanishing... and yet it bottles up a little of that passion. I suspect this is why it became so popular. Adulthood is rarely that intense of an experience and this novel reminds us what falling in love is like. It also affirms it as an adult possibility--the characters are in their 40's and 50's at the time of the affair--rather than being one more high school romance. It is a fairy tale in which the "happily ever after" is not their dissolving their past to create a blank future, but rather carrying that light with them into their future responsibilities. The poetry was not awful, the sex was not awful, and the book was quite short, so I did enjoy myself as I read it.
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LibraryThing member AliceAnna
Oh. My. God. Utter drivel. Purple prose. A train wreck of a book. I couldn't not read it because it was so appallingly bad that I just couldn't look away. The "Plan 9" of novels.
LibraryThing member foof2you
An easy read, an interesting story, yet one wonders why women are all agog about this story. If ANY man did what this woman does would be road kill. Raises some very interesting questions between the sexes.
LibraryThing member LadyBlossom
Everytime I read this book if moves me so deeply, a love story so intense that the passion is felt inside me, a simply story yet it reaches deep into my soul and touches it in a way no other book ever has.
LibraryThing member aarthimuralidharan
Very romantic. The portrayal of characters and the first person narration is superb. Though the story is slightly beyond the realms of reality, it explains something which could happen to anyone. It is all about this lady, Francesa who meets the man of her dreams when she is already married and a
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mother of 2 kids.
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LibraryThing member KLSimpson
This was one of the first books that actually made me cry! A beautifully written love story.
LibraryThing member Omrythea
Ah.. a tale of tragic love. Weep with the sadness of it all... Well done.
LibraryThing member connect2jamie
I loved this when I initially read it back in 1992. I don't know if I'd like it as well now--I need to reread it. I know I definitely liked it less when I saw the movie...hmmm.....
LibraryThing member cal8769
Very moving, a true love story where you want the couple to succeed even though they are adulterous.
LibraryThing member InsatiableB
The Bridges of Madison County. It just has such a romantic connotation and I think it always will. Maybe not so much because of this novel but more for the experience I shared there.

I read this book because my sister in law got married here. I wanted to get the full feel of the place and why it
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was famous for being a romantic landmark.

I'm not going to say much about the book. I didn't really like it much. It was sort of idealistic and blabbered on and on in flowery language about love and what it meant to Francesca and Kincaid. Who were having an affair, by the way, no matter how pretty the words are to describe it. I've heard the movie was better...I'm willing to give it a shot.

But boy, was it fun to go there and see what was described - in a rather lovely fashion - in the book.
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LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
This book was perfect for me in so many ways - I have now succeeded in reading a soppily romantic novel that can only really appeal to women who read mostly Cookson or Binchy; and doing so cost me no more than a long afternoon. That same day, I also read the equally short parody, "The Ditches..."
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by some anonymous ghostwriter. At least "Bridges" carries with it some literary merit.
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LibraryThing member LARA335
This edition titled:'Love in black and white.

Moving, spare, brief encounter love-story. Amazing sense of place and characterisation. Read it and weep.
LibraryThing member realbigcat
Probably one of the greatest love stories ever written. It's the simplicity of the story that's magic. People can relate to Francesca as there ordinary lives become complacent. The dream of being swept away by a stranger, giving up everything you hold dear for one last chance. Robert Johnson said
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it best, "Francesca I know you had your own dreams." Waller is a truly great writer whom I admire greatly not just because of his writing skills but the fact that he is also an accomplished musician, world class photographer and was Dean of a business school. Read the book and then watch the movie. Better yet also listen to the audio version of Waller reading the book. I have many times and surely will again.
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LibraryThing member hamiltonpam
I saw the movie first, but it did not ruin the book. It was a great read.
LibraryThing member mrsrjd
I listened to this book on the heels of The Horse Whisperer and so felt I'd had more than my share of idealized, justified adultery pushed in my face. Moralizing aside, The Bridges of Madison County was by far a more palatable story of forbidden love, or lust. Bridges seemed nearly poetic in style
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and the characters, while not fully developed, danced well to Waller's cadence. I would recommend this book to fans of romance and/or poetry.
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LibraryThing member crazy4reading
I read this book for a TIOLI challenge. One of my categories for the 12 in 12 challenge is to read some books for TIOLI. I did this one because it was short and I knew I could read it in about 5 days. I did just that.

This is the story of a woman and a man that she met one day. Francesca and Robert.
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Francesca is a farm wife and mother. While her husband and children are at a state fair showing their prize cow Francesca meets Robert Kincaid and photographer. When she sees him for the first time she feels drawn to him.

As I read the story I felt the attraction between the two of them. I was feeling her loneliness and lack of love from her marriage. She loved her husband but was still missing something and Robert Kincaid brought that yearning to the front.

The ending was very heartwarming. It brought tears to my eyes. I am glad that I took the time to read this book.
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LibraryThing member jessicariddoch
this is a lovely book. written in such as way that I am not certain whether it is based on fact or is complete fiction. The idea that love could be that strong that even with no contact it could last so long for both of them.
It is also quite short and easy to read so reccomend to all.
LibraryThing member HadriantheBlind
Pure kitsch. A sub-par romance novel inexplicably elevated to popular status a while ago, and clogging up the shelves of used book stores everywhere.
LibraryThing member EricKibler
I picked this up shortly after it came out in paperback.

The quintessential "throw across the room" book. When a meal shared by the lovers-to-be was described as "quiet food", I should have stopped there. Yet I wasted more time before actually throwing it.

Now whenever I'm reading a bad book, I use
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the "Bridges of Madison County" test to decide whether or not to throw it across the room. I'll generally take pity on even a bad book if it's not as bad as Waller's "masterpiece". A throwing book must be truly bad to deserve the dubious honor.
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LibraryThing member koalamom
What a beautiful, wonderful love story, the kind of love that lets you go but still not want to do so. The kind of love that transcends everything. The kind that just can't really be real until it happens to you.
LibraryThing member saskreader
I worked in a bookstore during the frenzied craze surrounding this book. I resisted for about a year, then finally read it. It just wasn't very good. When I heard a movie was being made, I had extremely low hopes; however, the movie turned out to be surprisingly well done.
LibraryThing member bcrowl399
I loved this book. I remember tears through some of it. It was a beautiful poignant story. The movie was good, but my imaginings of the backdrops were much more vibrant than what I saw in the film.
LibraryThing member moonshineandrosefire
Neither Robert Kincaid nor Francesca Johnson are in the first blush of youth when they first meet in Iowa in the 1960's. However, that brief yet intense meeting has the potential to alternately haunt them and comfort them for the rest of their lives. Their memories of their time together are
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perhaps strong enough to last a lifetime.

Robert Kincaid is a fifty-two-year-old photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He is a strange, almost mystical traveler of Asian deserts, distant rivers, and ancient cities who is known for his world-class, poignant photographs; whose work can melt the hardest heart. Yet, he is also a man who feels out of harmony with his time.

Francesca Johnson is a forty-five-year-old housewife, once a hopeful young war bride from Italy - so filled with excitement and dreams for a brighter future. However, living in the hills of southern Iowa with only flickering memories of her girlhood to keep her company, Francesca is lonely. She is ostensibly happy and content with her life, yet when Robert drives through the dust and heat of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca's farmhouse lane asking for directions, their illusions suddenly fall away.

As the photographer Robert Kincaid uses light to capture not objects, but rather his own kind of truth, what occurs beside the old bridges of Madison County over the space of four days, becomes a prism transforming Francesca's and Robert's emotions into a shared experience of uncommonly rare and stunning beauty. An experience which will haunt them forever. This is a story of a love too beautiful and too strong to die. A story so movingly poignant that it will transform the reader's ordinary emotions into something incredibly wondrous and brilliant.

The result is a passionate and deeply moving book, filled with lyrical prose and a vibrancy that places Robert James Waller in the forefront of current fiction writers. I must say that I thought this was a truly lovely, sweet love story. It was such a well-told story, deeply passionate and almost timeless. I give this book an A+!

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller is actually the second book that I've read by this author. Although this is also his debut novel. I must also say that while I've never watched the 1995 film adaptation, starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, I've only seen bits and pieces. I much prefer the book to the movie. Although, having only seen some of the movie, I suppose this is to be expected.
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Warner Bros.

Original publication date

1992 (1e édition originale américaine, Warner books, Inc)
1993-06-11 (1e traduction et édition française, Albin Michel)
1995-08-29 (Réédition française, Presse Pocket)
2007-01-17 (1e traduction et édition française, Albin Michel)


044651652-X / 9780446516525
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