Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks

Well, as I wrote in my last post (a LONG time ago...) I don't always enjoy Nicholas Sparks. Too mushy, unrealistic-fairytailish for me at times. Don't get me wrong - I fit into the category of the stereotypical girl that loves The Notebook and A Walk to Remember AND Dear John. And though this book isn't necessarily worthy of The Notebook status, I loved this story as well.

The two main characters are Miles Ryan and Sarah Andrews. They both share a common ground in that love has in a way betrayed them. Miles lost his wife, his high school sweetheart Missy, in a terrible hit and run accident (don't worry this doesn't give anything away-it's thrown out there in the first few pages of the book). As deputy sheriff, Miles holds himself accountable for not being able to bring his wife's killer to justice. Sarah on the other hand has moved to the sleepy town of New Bern, North Carolina after a devastating divorce. Though the reason behind her divorce may not seem as tragic as Miles' loss at first, readers learn about the heartbreaking details as the story unfolds and how she fears this will jeopardize her relationship with Miles.

Obviously, this is Nicholas Sparks we're talking about. You know right off the bat that Miles and Sarah fall in love. No question there. They are brought together by Miles' son Jonah, whom Sarah teaches in the 2nd grade and offers to help after school in an effort to help raise his terribly suffering grades. Understandably, Jonah's grades began to suffer after his mother was killed. Unlike his other teachers, "Miss Andrews" is unwilling to let him slide on through because she feels bad for the situation. After all, that wouldn't be helping him- and there wouldn't be a clean cut way to bring Miles and Sarah together!

Right away, it becomes clear that Sarah and Miles are meant to be in each other's lives. She helps him face the demons of not knowing the true details of his wife's death while he helps her feel whole again. However, every couple of chapters is from the perspective of Missy's killer. The reader becomes aware not only of the fact that he's still in New Bern, but that he's very much involved in both Miles and Sarah's lives and living with the tremendous guilt of taking a life.

So the first half of the book is mainly spent developing the love story of Miles and Sarah while the second half of the book, the reader is left trying to figure out which character Missy's killer could possibly be. Was it a deliberate hit and run? Or a terribly unfortunate accident? And either way, how should justice be brought to the driver? And can Sarah and Miles' relationship survive the truth of what really happened the day Missy was killed?

I absolutely recommend this book for an easy, sweet read. Nicholas Sparks has an uncanny ability to make you feel like you really know the characters as well as their pain, joy, despair. I also love his descriptions of North Carolina. Just about all of his stories are set in North Carolina and the way he describes the sleepy towns, the people, the way of life-makes me miss Georgia. It really gives you a taste of the South.

 Hope you enjoy! I would love to read any comments if you've already read the book or hear what you think after you decide to read it :)