Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central/Hachette
ISBN #: 978-0-446-54765-9
Pages: 292 Hardback
Publish Date: October 11, 2011
In the small town of Oriental, North Carolina, people tell lies, capture secrets and hold revenge in their hearts. Like other small towns, some of its citizens move away and start lives anew. They move away to escape their secrets and avoid the hurts that once held them captive. Yet, despite their relocations, their roots are tied to their hometown and the love that bounds them there. Amanda and Dawson are two such people. Both moved away from Oriental to start their lives over again. However, neither of them chose the life that they had dreamed of in high school, when they were completely and solely in love with one another.
Amanda Collier came from a wealthy family whose sights were set on her going to college and marrying well. Dawson Cole was born into a less fortunate family. Despite her family’s unwillingness to accept or approve of their relationship, Amanda fell deeply in love with her once-in-a-lifetime soul mate. He was an outcast from a renegade, criminal-minded family with a bad reputation which proceeded them. He left his home and moved in with Tuck, a local auto-mechanic. He kept his meager room and board by working, the majority of the proceeds of which were stolen by his menacing, threatening family. Luckily Tuck understood and allowed Dawson to stay with him. It was there that Amanda would come and visit Dawson. Tuck was the constant, supportive friend who was seemingly always there for Dawson and, later, for Amanda.
Years after life had separated their great love due to instance of tragedy, Amanda and Dawson were brought back together via Tuck’s passing. As they meet up at his home to sort out his belongings and attend his funeral, they were faced with messages from Tuck. He knew and loved them both. As such, he had letters filled with words of wisdom and love for each of them as they rediscover the long-lost love they had for one another. Although they are able to face this great love and open their hearts to one another, their fates would take their worlds in directions they could never imagine.
The Best of Me is one of the best novels to come from Nicholas Sparks. What amazed me the most about this read was the way in which Sparks painted such a vivid, vital cast of characters, all of which the reader wants to learn the fate of. Like most small towns, everybody is related to another in some manner and this story provided that same feel… that everything and everybody in the story were connected. In following the fates of these characters, Sparks surprises the reader with not always providing the anticipated results as the pages turned. Rather, what the reader anticipated didn’t always materialize in the expected way.
The twists & turns, the underlying love story, the uniquely imaginable characters, and the well synchronized story telling cumulate into a heartfelt and memorable novel.
On Sher’s “Out of Ten Scale,” I am giving The Best of Me a rating of 9 out of 10. It has all of the components that a good novel needs… love, family, tragedy, spirituality and betrayal. A seasoned writer, Nicholas Sparks provides it all!
Disclosure to new readers: I’m a HUGE Nicholas Sparks fan! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Nicholas Sparks. I have read all of his books, own all of his books and the movies based off of them!