The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

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The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

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Buy The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Incredibly readable, but I felt too manipulated at the end so I missed out on the expected weeping!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Sphere
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1847443205

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Since watching the film of The Notebook years ago I've always fancied reading some Nicholas Sparks books but never quite got around to it until I saw this, his newest offering. Here we have the tale of two childhood sweethearts whose love was always threatened by the fact that they were from opposite sides of the tracks - he from the rough, poor family that is forever on the wrong side of the law, and she from one of the better, respected families in the town. After life forces them apart they go on to live very different lives, but it seems that neither one has ever forgotten that early passion. Drawn back together for the funeral of an old friend they are both forced to look at the choices they've made in their lives and where they go to from here.

The writing seems very natural for the most part and has an easy, engaging style. I felt immediately drawn into the characters' lives and wanted to know more about them and what was going on. So it's certainly the sort of book you'll just want to sit and read in big chunks with a nice cup of tea and plenty of snacks to keep you going. Even without having read Sparks before I had the expectation of getting a good romance story with interesting characters and that certainly was the case. It's nothing new, two lovers forced apart by family circumstances and then, in later life, meeting again and wondering whether to revive their lost love, but I rather liked the way it was done. Dawson especially is an interesting character, with a tumultuous past, and I felt I was definitely rooting for him.

He creates the romantic relationship well, and I liked the way the story and back history of each character is revealed. I particularly liked Abee's character and the way we, and the characters, find out more about his life throughout the book. The villains of the story are predictably 'hick' villains, but there's still a sense of danger as to what they will do and who it will affect.

I knew that there would be emotional turmoil involved. When I saw The Notebook I wept, and carried on crying long after the film had finished, much to my husband's surprise (and he remained dry-eyed throughout!) So I expected there to be some tugging of heart-strings. What I didn't expect was to feel so manipulated. I was disappointed, and I felt as if Sparks was dragging me towards a bit of a mandatory sob, man-handling my emotions, forcing my feelings and, ultimately, he failed because I didn't cry at all and just found I felt rather used at the end. I was disappointed, because I had enjoyed the book, and I wouldn't have minded a bit of a cry, but it just felt too forced by the end. I could see the ending coming before it came and perhaps that spoilt it for me too, and it wasn't that the situation he concludes with wasn't a real tear-jerker, it was just the way he tried to get me there felt too constructed.

Because of this I'm afraid I've made this only a 'maybe' to buy. If you're already a huge fan of Sparks then you're going to be buying this anyway, but if you're not sure whether you'll like it then I'd suggest borrowing it first to see how you go. It hasn't put me off trying another of his books, but I was a little disappointed not to get my tissues out at the end of what was otherwise a fast, engaging read.

You might also like to read The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks or to try another tear-jerker, Where the River Ends by Charles Martin

Buy The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks at Amazon.com.

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