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SPARKS DELIVERS ANOTHER MESSAGE OF LOVE
on September 16, 2010
While reading in a waiting room the other day my concentration was interrupted by a woman who looked at my book and enthused, 'Oh, I just love him!' The 'him' was, of course, Nicholas Sparks, popular author of 16 novels, six of which have been made into motion pictures. My new found friend's enthusiastic tribute to Sparks stopped only when she was called in to the doctor's office. She will be one of many who will stand inline for SAFE HAVEN, such is the appeal of Sparks, and his easy to read messages of love.
With SAFE HAVEN we meet Katie, a beautiful young woman who has sought refuge and anonymity in the small community of Southport, North Carolina. She rents a small cabin and works at Ivan's restaurant. Katie has no car, and walks wherever she goes. She's a bit of a mystery to Alex, a widowed store owner, and Jo who soon moves next door.
Katie is determined to reveal nothing about herself lest she be found by Kevin, her alcoholic husband, who kept her a virtual prisoner in their home and savagely beat her without reason. On their honeymoon she was beaten for leaving her sun glasses by the pool; at home she's been thrown down the cellar stairs, her head knocked against the kitchen table. She endured all forms of physical abuse that left her bruised and sore. Kevin often swore that it would never happen again but it always did. When he finally pulled out his gun, a Glock, and held it to her head she knew she had to somehow escape, run for her life.
Yet despite her resolution to remain private she finds herself drawn to Alex, a kind, good hearted man who his doing his best to be both father and mother to his two children, Kristen and Josh. Katie develops a fondness for them, and they feel the same about her. Over time she is able to relax, to enjoy being with Alex and the children. It isn't long before she must to admit to herself that she's in love with him and dares to think of what being part of a happy family might be like.
Meanwhile, of course, Kevin is searching for her. He's a policeman and a smart one, but not smart enough not to let vodka get the best of him, turning him into a raging psychopath intent upon finding and killing Katie as well as the man he believes has taken her away.
Sparks spares little in describing the dark side of love and, as always, underscoring its redeeming powers.
- Gail Cooke