January 8, 2019

Visiting The Bridge

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

The Hallmark movie The Bridge is known by many. The award winning, two-part movie was taken from Karen Kingsbury’s 2012 New York Times Bestseller The Bridge. It has become a Christmas tradition in many homes. If you have read the book or seen the movie you are aware it is about a young couple that met while attending Belmont University in Nashville TN and made The Bridge bookstore in Franklin TN their place to study. There they met the owners who became a great inspiration not only to the young couple but to many other patrons of their bookstore. Over the Holidays I was fortunate to make a visit to the inspiration for Karen Kingsbury’s book.

Landmark Booksellers in Franklin was Kingsbury’s inspiration. Kingsbury said this about Landmark Booksellers, “It has such heritage and history, and you can feel it in the floorboards and the atmosphere inside. I went inside and just loved the charm, history and smell of the old books.” After my visit I agree. The 1808 era building is one of the most historically distinguished building in that area. It claims fame to having visitors like Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett. I hope you will visit their website in order to get their entire history. But as in the movie the owners, their books and their inspiration are the draw here.

Joel and Carol Tomlin found a passion for books and a vocation they could share. They can boast having over 35,000 new, old and hard to find rare books and over 2,000 signed first editions. They proclaim they are “A Booklover’s Paradise”. I was fortunate to get to spend some time with Joel and he took me on a personal tour. I was amazed at the rare finds and the historical documents. Joel and Carol provide that personal attention just as the actors Ted McGinley and Faith Ford that played them provided at The Bridge. I told Joel as far as good looks, Ted McGinley didn’t do him justice.

On a prominent wall proudly displayed are pictures of famous Southern authors. There are approximately 22 photos. Joel is quick to offer up a free book if you can name all 22 authors. Although I failed Joel was excited that I knew as many as I did. Joel said he has only had one customer name them all and he was a literary professor at a major university. Study up before you attempt this on your visit and it may be worth a free book.

The Tomlins have something for everyone. A Children’s reading room, reading areas, meeting areas, author visits and personal recommendations. I walked away with two books both recommended by Joel. One thing I saw proudly displayed on the checkout counter were the books of local authors and it was an impressive group. 

I encourage you to make the visit to Landmark Booksellers and see firsthand the passion of these booksellers. You will receive a warm welcome and you leave happy you took the time. There is always that chance you too will be inspired just as Karen Kingsbury was to write her book turned into movies..     

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