May 25, 13
Read on August 15, 2012
A solidly built narrative that sinks into a quicksand of improbable coincidences and cringe-inducing tropes. The stereotyped characters are manipulated like the parts of a well-oiled machine. The manly self-reliant war veteran, the warm and beautiful divorcee with her precocious son, the wise and understanding grandmother, the mean and corrupt ex-husband. Oh, and the loveable dog.
Suspense and a cliff-hanger ending are provided by the raging torrents of a flooded river. Tension is generated by increasing the pace of the POV switches with ever-shorter chapters.
So predictable and gooey that I was skipping more and more pages the nearer I got to the end, interested only in which of the characters the author would kill off.
I've watched a couple of movies based on Nicholas Sparks' books, but wasn't overwhelmed by either. I would probably never have read this, my first Nicholas Sparks book, if I hadn't seen a lively debate on IMDB about the authenticity of the movie based upon it.
Not for me, but I can see why Mr Sparks sells so many books.