EVERY BREATH by Nicholas Sparks

I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for Nicholas Sparks’ first novel in two years – EVERY BREATH!

From the publisher:

In the romantic tradition of The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals — transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’s early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life’s heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope, EVERY BREATH explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties — and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

Sparks used an interesting literary device in this novel – he inserted himself into the story, at the beginning and again at the end. The story starts with some truth as well, the Kindred Spirit mailbox on Sunset Beach in North Carolina, where people leave letters for others to read and pass along. In this fable, Sparks finds a letter, a packet really, that immediately draws him in. It’s the story of two people who met, spent a week together, fell madly in love, then separated for many, many years. Sparks tracks down the man in the story and in exchange for helping him do some home repairs, gets the rights to his story, providing he changes the names to protect their privacy.

While I’ve always believed in love at first sight, I didn’t quite buy Tru & Hope’s story. It’s not that I don’t think two people can fall in love, a forever kind of love, in just a couple of days, but I just wasn’t feeling it here. At least, not at first. Then Hope leaves, for what she thinks are very good reasons, and Tru has to live with that. Well, they both do. And I started to feel it then. And kudos for the most aptly named characters I’ve read in a long time – Sparks obviously put a great deal of thought into every nuance of this book.

The book jumps many years ahead, when they meet again. We learn more about the years they spent apart, and oh, the tears started then. Nicholas Sparks is not King of the Weepies for nothing!

I loved the exotic setting in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and learning about life, death, the animals and the culture there. Tru’s backstory alone makes this book worth the price of admission. This is a fantastical story in some ways, but a hopeful and inspirational one, too. I have a feeling the film will be incredible.

EVERY BREATH by Nicholas Sparks. Grand Central Publishing (October 16, 2018). 978-1538728529. 320 p.

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