Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bridges of Madison County” as Want to Read:
The Bridges of Madison County
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bridges of Madison County

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  69,383 ratings  ·  3,795 reviews
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 ag ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Grand Central Publishing (first published April 1992)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bridges of Madison County, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Danita L Because Waller is a terrible writer and the only way for him to express the 'ruggedness' of Kincaid was to add orange suspenders, lol, because he…moreBecause Waller is a terrible writer and the only way for him to express the 'ruggedness' of Kincaid was to add orange suspenders, lol, because he fancied himself as Kincaid, see author photo.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 24, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fireplace owners
Shelves: horrid
Recipe for Bridges of Madison County Firestarters

1. melt 20 oz. parafin in 4 1/2 quart slow cooker set on low--should take about 20 minutes.
2. set several sheets of newspaper on kitchen floor next to slow cooker.
3. Tear pages out of binding--I find about seven at a time works best. Discard binding.
4. Crumple each page individually--you can do it two or three at a time, but recipe will go farther if you take the time to crumple each page individually.
5. With tongs, dip each crumpled page into the
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You guys have completely lost the plot.
You simply can't say that this is not a good book. It's well written, the story stands its ground and there is that bit of intrinsec poetry which can make a good read into an excellent one.
And remember, it is a book! What is this bigotry of saying that you don't like it because she has an extra marital affair?
The story works and the main doubt the author underlines is for her between leaving her obligations and following her heart, regardless of the adulte
Jun 24, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one/ Would be Fiction writers
The Book, cough, cough: Called a novel, it's more a novella, barely over 170 pages--the better to save money on printing costs--set in large type on small pages. Set between a frame story (utterly forgettable) employed to give the reader a sense of being privy to a real event, voyeurism at it's best--one of my acquaintances actually tried to find the characters from the novel in the real world using the Internet, convinced Waller could never have made the story up. She was half right: Waller did ...more
Jun 01, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: those with head injuries
This was a bestseller for 2 years when I first became a bookseller.

It is no coincidence that I started to hate most people with a deep and abiding passion around that time as well. Robert James Waller writes sex scenes that are so moronic you wonder if he's ever had it himself.

Bottom Line: I've read more romantic things on Craigslist.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller
The Bridges of Madison County (also published as Love in Black and White) is a 1992 best-selling romance novella by American writer Robert James Waller. that tells the story of a married but lonely Italian-American woman (war bride) living on a 1960s Madison County, Iowa, farm. While her husband and children are away at the State Fair, she engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington, who is visiting Ma
Feb 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: absolutely no one
Recommended to Molly by: everyone including their aunt Sally
Sometimes I wish that negative stars were allowed...this book deserves the Anti-Star. I wanted to read this book because everyone I knew had read it and love it and wept over it. "The greatest love story of all time." blah blah blah.

~~Spoiler Alert~~

I have a serious pet peeve. A love story does NOT involve adultery. (Period!with a capital P) I have also started to question anyone who thinks that a "great" love story can only happen if you cheat on your spouse, or steal another persons spouse or
Debbie Petersen
Jul 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Shelves: absolute-drek
If it were possible to rate a book in the negatives, this one would earn a negative 10. Truly one of the most terrible books ever. Maudlin, whiny and ridiculous. A woman whose husband and children are away has a brief affair with a photographer just passing through. Of course, the few days spent with this complete stranger prove that her marriage is a sham and the photographer is her true love...but wifey sacrifices herself in martyrlike fashion and suffers to allow her substandard husband to co ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
I wonder what Waller, the 8 year old doofus responsible for "The Bridges of Madison County" is like in real life. Like, is he for instance the dashing "last cowboy" he so "romanticizes"? Or more like the tepid housewife who looks at the nothingness that is Iowa (oh forgotten state! what did you ever do to deserve this?) and nods in approval. Did he grin in a stupid daze with his mouth full of Oreos... all the way teeheehee to the bank? All I know is that this belongs in the same category as (The ...more
Katie R. Herring
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was absolutely wonderful. I started it like an hour ago, and I already savored its 170 pages. Crying, the last fifty or so. It's similar to Night of Rodanthe, but its better, sweeter, shorter and sadder.

I want a love like this, but one that can happen. Not one tainted with already present responsibilities. Ie: I am NOT supporting adultery, I banish the thought. She should have divorced and moved on-- be brave if true love finds you.

It ended as happily as a novel like this could.

Its also mad
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
'The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it's been broken into a million pieces.'

 photo bridges of madison county_zpsaonv7g85.jpg

 photo bridges of madison county 2_zpssuklrmii.jpg

The story and the plot are beautiful and realistic in a way that few books nowadays manage to be, and it impacted me deeply. A very emotional read.

 photo anigif_enhanced-buzz-10033-1374283936-5_zps2vrnrde3.gif
Megan Huff
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely beautiful.

I read it over the summer because I had just taken a photography class and I was interested in a lot of related stuff. I found the book on my mom's bookshelf and picked it up mainly because of the fact that the man is a photographer.

I read that book in a day, I couldn't put it down. It was probably one of the greatest works I have ever read and possibly will ever read.

I would recommend The Bridges of Madison County to anybody who wanted to read a good literatu
Maria Clara
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, por Dios! ¿Cómo puede ser que haya tardado tanto tiempo en leer este libro? ¿Cómo puede ser que hasta hace dos días, no se haya decidido a entrar en mi vida? Por Dios, qué historia tan bonita; tan mágica, tan llena de sentimientos...
Jul 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
The literary version of Thomas Kinkade.
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Joyzi & Jzhun
Shelves: love-story
In 1993, this novel topped the Bestselling Novels List in the US. Why? Check the others in the lists around that time. They were novels by Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Daniel Steele and Robert Ludlum. It reminded me when in 2001, the soulful operatic voice of John Groban made his first waves in the music industry. The market was then dominated by the likes of Limkin Park, Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Nelly and Shakira. On that same year the simple, acoustic yet heartfelt song Pagdating ng P ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who read "People" magazine religiously?
A friend sent me a copy a kajillion years ago, so I dutifully read it. I still adore the friend, and have liked plenty of other books she recommended, but I was actually ANGRY with her for WEEKS for causing me to have read this book. This was my all-time "worst book I ever read (to the end)" until I read "The Devil Wears Prada."

I wouldn't disparage anyone who DOES like this book, obviously, but to say it wasn't my cup of tea would be...WILDLY kind. How to describe the experience? Let's see. It's
Jan 27, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who make furniture out of books.
Shelves: bad-bad-bad, fiction
I always felt that this was one of those books written for women who are menopausal and in a marriage that dried up and need to hold on to a fantasy that they don't need to actually do anything in order to make their life better - it will just happen. It will just drive up to their house and hump them and it will be ok because their marriage sucks and they decide to stay in said crap marriage rather than run off - because running off would be cliche. Happiness is cliche and should be shunned.

Feb 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, now-come-on
This book was laughable. Francesca is a housewife living in Iowa where no one--not her children, her husband or her neighbors--see her for the beautiful, fascinating worldly woman she is. Until that fateful day when Robert Kinkaid, a handsome, fascinating worldly man shows up on her doorstep asking for directions. And talk about great timing! Her husband and teen-aged children just happen to be out of town for the next four days. How convenient.

Francesca and Robert have four crazy, wonderful day
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5/5 αστεράκια
Feb 24, 2009 rated it did not like it
I'm embarrassed to have read this maudlin piece of shit.
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"It's clear to me now that I have been moving toward you and you toward me for a long time. Though neither of us was aware of the other before we met, there was a kind of mindless certainty humming blithely along beneath our ignorance that ensured we would come together. Like two solitary birds flying the great prairies by celestial reckoning, all of these years and lifetimes we have been moving toward each other."

This book. Oh my God, this book.

I just finished it earlier this morning and I have
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
**5 " Once in a lifetime story" STARS**

Robert James Waller, you've made me a walking contradiction. Review to come once I get my thoughts in order... it may take a while.

Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
El libro me gustó bastante cuando lo leí, aunque hay escenas que están pensadas para hacerte llorar si o si. Lo que recomiendo encarecidamente es la película, una auténtica maravilla sobre el amor a cualquier edad.
Phyllis Eisenstadt
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing

My only regret is that this novel was not longer. It is one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read, and Romance is not one of my favorite genres in contemporary literature. With an economy of words, Waller says much, and there is much emotion to be felt via the two protagonists. Because of its brevity, I will not say any more for fear of creating spoilers, which would be doing a great disservice to this splendid tale.

Read it! You will be glad you did.
Lucy J Jeynes
Jul 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-again
I read this on a plane so luckily I had an endless supply of sick bags handy. Truly one of the worst books I have ever read. Partly because it masquerades as a "proper novel". Bleargh. Retch.
Jeannette Nikolova
Apr 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

* Spoilers ahead. Though, honestly, if you've read even one Nicholas Sparks book, none of this should come as a surprise. *

So, I looked at the bestseller lists for 1993 and this one was the top book for the entire year. I needed a book published in '93, because of the 2015 Reading Challenge: A Book That Came Out the Year You Were Born. I later found out that it was actually published in 1992, but I consider my duty done, since I couldn't find anything else conn
Charlotte Stein
Jun 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
May God have mercy on the souls of all those who braved this hideous creation.
Sharon Metcalf
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, owned
Perhaps I'm exaggerating but The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Weller is a masterpiece of only 171 pages in length.    I found it to be a simply magnificent tribute to love.    Every word perfectly chosen, none of them redundant.      I know it's been made into a movie yet I've never seen it nor do I know anything about it.    However, reading the book felt a little like watching a movie unfold.   So clear were the images, the descriptions vivid and the feelings..... aah the feelings ...more
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This short novel, ostensibly about an affair between Robert and a married Francesca, has its share of critics. I think there is a stark reality to this book that can be missed. First, this book is completely plausible. A fleeting affair with a great deal of mutual nostalgia later. Yes the drama is muted and there are quite literally 1,000 ways the author could have made the story more dramatic. Secondly, while the writing about their relationship is limited, the writing about the landscape is de ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this book is ice cube slowly melting on hot skin. His essence which he wore like a mantle regally, reached into her strangled mute soul and caused it to speak again, to live again.
Excellent good read!

Here's the thing. I think those of us in the avid readers club sleep a lot of books that go to cinema. We may think, I saw the movie, I liked or didn't like it, why bother with the books. This is a thought process that we are all guilty of and I am working diligently to correct t
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Worst Bestsel...: Episode 61 - The Bridges of Madison County 2 27 Nov 09, 2016 03:35PM  
Books, Wine, and ...: The saddest love-story ever? 22 104 Jul 20, 2015 10:46AM  
review 62 170 Dec 28, 2014 03:20PM  
I started liking it better once I stopped seeing it as a love story. 10 121 Apr 30, 2012 10:36AM  
  • Hatter Fox
  • Pioneer, Go Home!
  • Povijest pornografije
  • The Horse Whisperer
  • Tomorrow's Kingdom (The Gypsy King #3)
  • Love, Greg & Lauren
  • A Viela da Duquesa
  • Looking Back
  • Sacred Ground
  • The Christmas Box Collection: The Christmas Box / Timepiece / The Letter (The Christmas Box, #1-3)
  • On Golden Pond
  • The Rich Are Different
  • The Road Taken
  • The Virtuoso
  • Kneginja iz Petrinjske ulice
  • Three Wishes
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Big City Eyes
Robert James Waller was an American author also known for his work as a photographer and musician. Several of his books have been on the New York Times bestseller list including 1992's The Bridges of Madison County, which was the top best-seller in 1993. Both that novel and his 1995 novel, Puerto Vallarta Squeeze, have been made into motion pictures.
“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it's been broken into a million pieces.” 327 likes
“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.” 257 likes
More quotes…