Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central Publishing
First Line(s): As Katie found her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair. Carrying three plates in her left hand and another in her right, she wore jeans and a T-shirt that read Ivan's: Try Our Fish Just for the Halibut. She brought the plates to four men wearing polo shirts; the one closest to her caught her eye and smiled. Though he tried to act as though he was just a friendly guy, she knew he was watching her as she walked away. Melody had mentioned the men had come from Wilmington and were scouting locations for a movie.
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
My Thoughts: I was unsure about reading this book. Nicholas Sparks book inspired movies do not seem like they would be the types of books that would top my "to read" list, but I have a thing about reading books that are turned into movies - not sure why I like them so much - but I thought since most of his books are made into movies, I'd give this one a go. My first impression was not the same as my last impression.
The beginning of this book - like the beginning of most movies based on books by NS - was slow. I had a hard time keeping pace and attention. I felt it was rather predictable - which I predicted correctly all along - but then again, I believe the author intended for you to. Girl runs away from husband. Girl lands in small town. Girl falls in love. Husband comes looking for her. Pretty typical...but then there was a twist that I had not seen coming!
Overall, it actually turned out to be a good book. The ending is what grabbed me the most. At one point, I couldn't put the book down. While most of the book was predictable - and was all the way through - there were some twists at the end that I had not anticipated. Twists that made this book what it was - a NS tear jerker. Although I did not cry while reading the book - I have a feeling that the movie will have a whole other impact - even though I know what is coming.
There was something in this book that just annoyed me to no end. The way the author portrayed the ex-husband, Kevin. I know he was supposed to appear as a drunken lunatic, but that doesn't mean that the book needs to make him speak or think like a caveman. It really irritated me. This man was a professional; obviously he spoke English somewhat well or people would have questioned his mental state.
As I stated, I enjoyed this book. After the first few chapters it kept me engaged and I actually started to fall in love with the characters - and was hopeful for where the storyline would go and a happy ending. The suspense at the end of the book and the "twist" made me need more. Unfortunately, this book was not a series, and the author leaves the book in a final state ending - but I was glad for that. Too many books leave you wanting more!
Safe Haven is an enjoyable read. This book was "fresh air" for me. The storyline/interest captivation really developed at the end of the book. I will be checking out the movie next - I'm excited to see that Josh Duhamel is Alex! He will definitely have my attention!
Safe Haven gets 4.5 stars.