NIGHTS IN RODANTHE
Nicholas Sparks

 


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Warner Books, August 2004 (reissue)
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

When thirty-one year-old Amanda loses her husband Brent through an untimely death, she sinks into a deep depression. Adrienne Willis, Amanda's mother, has been trying to help care for her grandchildren while her daughter grieves, but Amanda isn't getting better. Adrienne decides it's time open up a secret part of her life to her daughter, to show her sometimes you can be fortunate enough to love more than once in your lifetime.

Adrienne Willis, a middle-aged single mother with three teenagers, was having a mid-life crisis. In the three years following her divorce from husband Jack, Adrienne was still so shattered by his betrayal she couldn't move on. She didn't accept any invitations, just threw herself completely into raising her children. Until one weekend when a friend asked her to help out at her Bed and Breakfast in Rodanthe. While the kids were on a ski trip with their father and his new wife, Adrienne planned to cover for her friend and enjoy some solitude at a remote B & B on the North Carolina coast. But that weekend a major tropical storm blew in and she was forced to ride out the storm with a lone houseguest.

Paul Flanner was a fifty-four year-old workaholic who lost his wife and only son through neglect. As a successful surgeon he missed his son's childhood and when Paul's wife divorced him, he realized he didn't know his son. In an effort to change his life, he sold his medical practice and made plans to go to Ecuador to join his son, after he ties up some loose ends in Rodanthe. His son, Mark, runs a remote hospital and clinic in Ecuador and Paul hopes to get to know the man his son has become. But Paul never imagined how that weekend in a coastal village would change his life.

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE is a timeless love story with a sad ending. Sparks is eloquent at capturing the poignancy and angst of troubled hearts, but I would enjoy his stories better with an occasional happily ever-after ending. However, it seems Sparks trademark is the sadness of his tales. Short and beautifully written, this story brings to mind the novel BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY in that Adrienne reveals a love affair that her children never knew anything about.

Nicholas Sparks is also the author of THE NOTEBOOK, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and A WALK TO REMEMBER, three of his works which have been made into movies.

August 2004

 

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