Reading Patricia Sand’s The Bridge Club feels a little like taking a long road trip with a friend, she drives as we listen to her narrate this story of eight female characters, a condensed version of their lives, her voice like the gentle thrum of the engine, lulling us at times into a companionable silence, we listen and observe the passing landscape of years, immersing into these lives as if they were our own.
After forty years of friendship a group of friends are to spend a weekend at a mountain cottage, a location they have been to many times before, only this weekend will see them face a challenge unlike any other they have had to live through to date. Acknowledging the importance that this group of friends has been in each of their lives, affectionately referred to as BC, the Bridge Club, they each share their SOS, ‘support of sisters’ moment before facing the ultimate test of friendship that awaits them.
They could each identify at least one time or experience, some lasting longer than others, when family or other support was not the answer and the BC had come to the rescue.
In this way each of the characters are introduced and we learn of a significant event in their lives that required this band of sisters to come together and thrash out a problem in a way that left no other option than to resolve the dilemma shared. It gets inside the minds of how a group of women think and they aren’t always necessary in agreement, but by the end they will have agreed on a course of action that has the support of them all and often some kind of intervention as well.
We live through marriage, divorce, adoption, coming out, the premature death of a spouse and it will culminate in that weekend away, where it becomes apparent what the past forty years of friendship has been preparing them for, for nothing less than a rock solid lifelong friendship could endure what they must go through.
A moment of intense quiet followed this exchange, a moment when their connection was almost palpable, with no doubt or hesitation. Their strength flowed from one to the other and bound them together as never before.
By the end of this read, we have had a glimpse into the lives of eight ordinary women, who like every one of us have lived through some extraordinary moments and we can only marvel at how fortunate they were not just to have found each other, but to have kept this bond of friendship together over the years and to have each benefited from the powerful gift that it offered, that magic synergy where the combined intention and actions of a dedicated group surpasses the sum of each its parts.