I have watched all the films based on Nicholas Sparks books and some are on my favourite film list but I’ve never read one of his books. I rectified this by reading his latest – The Longest Ride.
Synopsis from Nicholas Sparks’ website:
Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.
Like with all Nicholas Sparks stories, this is mainly a love story. It’s told from three point of views – Ira, a ninety-year old man who has just had a car accident and is trapped and seeing visions of his wife; Sophia, a college student who has just broken up with her cheating boyfriend; and Luke, a bull-rider who lives on a ranch and is keeping a secret. The story is about Ira and his wife – how they met and how their love spanned their lifetimes despite frequent struggles, and Luke and Sophia who meet in a bar and fall in love despite having seemingly nothing in common. Tied up with these love stories is the passion of these characters – Ira and Ruth’s passion for art and Luke’s passion for his ranch.
The story is heart-felt and easy-to-read, it kept me turning the page and moved me even to tears at one part. I had never really heard of bull riding before and that world and the world of Luke’s ranch was interesting to read about and the setting worked well almost as an extension of the characters, and I liked the contrast between his world and Sophia’s college world, and their contrast with Ira and Ruth’s world of art. I was grateful this was mostly a story of love and hope and there wasn’t a tragedy to ugly cry over but instead my tears arrived when the characters came together and old love and new love entwined. It was interesting as well that so many books now lean towards the erotic side of romance but this one was pretty chaste, I’m guessing this is the case for his other books and actually I was fine with that – it gave it an almost kind of old-fashioned feel, which worked with these characters I think. I hoped the stories would connect in the way they did but Sparks surprised me with just how they connected and I loved how it ended.
I can see how the book will work on film and to be honest I’m looking forward to seeing the actor playing handsome Luke 🙂 Recommended for all romance fans.
Have you read a Nicholas Sparks ? What did you think?