Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of Spoilers*
Complete with a new identity Katie arrives in the small town of Southport, North Carolina, where she quickly gets a job as a waitress at a local restaurant and rents out a rundown cabin on the outskirts of town. She has to pinch pennies to survive and is always putting away money in case she has to run again as she knows Kevin will never stop looking for her.
She can’t afford a car so Katie has to walk everywhere. Weekly trips to the nearest store, brings her into contact with the owner, a widowed father of two, Alex. After awhile, she starts having feelings for Alex and the kids, but she tries to fight them, but with an extra push from her friendly neighbor, Jo, Katie decides to give love another chance.
But when Kevin finally figures out where she is, will Katie’s new life come crashing down? Will Alex’s love be enough to save her?
Honestly the synopsis of this book did not speak to me and I really had no interest in reading it. But I have read a few of Nicholas Sparks’s novels and I know I always enjoy them. Although he sometimes loses me in his endings, the books are still good. So, I read this one and I’m glad that I did! And, for the record the ending of this book was pretty good. Safe Haven is different from anything else I’ve seen from him, but it’s still a wonderfully spun story that only Nicholas could have written; it just oozes his touch from page to page.
The book started out slow with Katie coming to Southport and it took us through her day to day experiences as she began rebuilding her life. We knew she was running from something, but didn’t learn what from (although you can guess) until she starts showing us in the form of flashbacks as her feelings start to surface for Alex and she decides to come clean to him; bringing the memories flooding back. I’m not a big fan of flashbacks as a rule, but they were done beautifully in this book and it’s truly when the story starts getting good and also when Katie’s character starts gaining depth.
I liked Alex, but he wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked to have seen. He seemed one-dimensional and a bit too perfect. He was ex-military, a store owner, and a devoted father who lost the love of his life tragically. He is always understanding and knows the right things to say. Overall, I found him unbelievable and that’s before you add in his prematurely grayed hair. But I still enjoyed his relationship with Katie especially when they were able to joke and flirt with one another; she even got in a few cracks about his hair!
Jo was also another character that I wanted to see more depth to. I understand why Sparks wanted her to be vague considering how this book ends, but with her seeming like such a big part of the story based on the synopsis, I was expecting more. I think that if he had developed her further that it would have made the conclusion of the novel all that more powerful.
Kevin is just the opposite though. He may actually be the most developed character in the entire book. But where you have Alex cast as Mr. Perfect, Kevin seems like evil incarnate. He is an easy character to hate and we see him slowly lose his marbles while drinking himself stupid and spouting off Bible verses at all the ‘sinners’ around him. I guess he missed the one about throwing stones at glass houses. And, Katie made it way too easy for him to find her, but I guess we wouldn’t have had an exciting ending if she didn’t which I knew even as I was yelling at her!
Not only was the ending great, but it was proof positive that Sparks is a master of evoking emotions from his readers. It was a gripping and emotional ending to a gritty tale of second chances and a tear-jerker, as always with Sparks!
During the last half of this book, I couldn’t put it down! It’s easy to see why it will follow in the footsteps of some of Sparks’s other novels to being turned into a movie, Safe Haven will be appearing in theaters this February!