Soooo… the moment you’ve all anxiously anticipated (yes—I am an alliteration freak)
The winner of a signed copy of Nicholas Spark’s Safe Haven
Candace Jones Arnold
Winners of unsigned paperbacks of Dear John and The Last Song
Dear John: JM Kelley
The Last Song: Catherine Johnson
Please email me your addresses so I can ship off your faboo prizes! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thank you a katrillion times over for all your entries, your well-wishes, your follows, your email subscriptions… whew—I feel totally loved and supported. Seriously.
And this was FUN! I may have to do another one of these, like, soon. Maybe sometime in November! Cool, right?!
And because my faithful followers know I can’t possibly post something less than 600 words, the rest of you blog readers get… (drumroll)
A review! Aren’t you the lucky one?
Here are my thoughts on Safe Haven ...
I have a most voracious appetite for reading—one that can only be satisfied by retreating to a solo safe haven involving a comfy pillow, a lamp light, a totally phenom book… and NO interruptions. Doesn’t often happen for me so I’m forced to read books in pieces (PS—totally hate). Only a few books can make me totally divorce myself from reality (aka—ignore my kids, husband, and everything else for six hours)—New Moon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Tempted, uh, anything James Patterson…
And this weekend Nicholas Sparks added another—Safe Haven.
The quick gist of Mr. Fabulous’ new novel: (courtesy of his book flap)
When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.
The twelve-out-of-ten stars masterpiece had me at hello. As soon as I met Katie on page one, I needed to know more about her. I needed to know about her disturbing past, the one that brought her to the tiny town of Southport. I yearned to know what deep dark secrets she hid and why such a tender, beautiful woman was determined to keep everyone at a distance.
By the time I’d read a quarter of the book, I was already blinking back tears. My heart fluttered with Katie’s (yes-I’m a sucker for romance) and by the time I knew enough about her battered past, my hands numbed from gripping the book so hard, my page-turning fingers yearning to keep up with my eyes that tore through every chapter.
Safe Haven is the quintessential romance thriller, reminiscent of Sleeping With the Enemy and The Sixth Sense. Both movies totally freak me out, yet I've seen them ump-teen hundred times. I keep coming back for more, always on the edge of my seat, knowing what’s going to happen, yet the suspense of WHEN suspends my heart in my throat for the two hours I'm watching those movies.
Same with Safe Haven—some elements of the story were mildly predictable, yet I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to confirm my suspicions. And the ending—wowsers—Sparks threw in a jagged twist that had me fervently flipping through back through the book, mentally screaming How did I miss that?
And while the editing Nazi in me went crazy when five-year old Kristen served up some sweet tea (instead of Katie) and I felt, at times, the back story went on too long, I completely dismissed the “grrrrs” as soon as they stirred in the back of my throat. Why? Because a) I’m overcritical and b) the rest of the book rings of absolute perfection.
Nicholas Sparks does exactly what I can only hope to accomplish as a writer. He creates characters that are memorable, characters that you want to build life-long friendships with, children I want to raise myself, evil bad dudes I loathe more than I hate serial rapists. And he tells a gripping, compelling tale that has me wanting more, more, more.
Of course now I have to wait another year for him to deliver another book. And based on his track record - I know it will be another round of can't put it down fabulosity.