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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 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
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 10, 2010
Katie Feldman has moved to a pretty, little Southern town to start a new life. She is attracted to a local shopkeeper but is guarded and nervous and with good reason: She's expecting to be murdered.

This is a rather simple story that is part romance, part thriller, and part fantasy. Sparks is a good writer and the book is a quick read. The first half was a bit too sweet but the last half was so intense and scary my heart was pounding and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen. The fantasy subplot is the weakest, bordering on being corny, and could have been left out in my opinion.

Recommended for those who enjoy an idealized love story about a perfect couple, with the added drama of a crazed mad man on the loose. 3.5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2012
I really liked this book and the story moved along at a nice pace. I became attached to all the main characters and was sad when the story ended. The descriptions of the main characters and the places in the novel makes the reader feel as if they are actually there. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 17, 2011
Wow, this is definitely one of the better Sparks books I've read, I sure hope he keeps going in this darker, less sappy direction with the next one too. I picked up SAFE HAVEN during a very busy time in my life and still found it unputdownable. Full of twists and turns, mystery and surprise and a HUGE suspense factor throughout. Of course we also get the romance (nicely done) and it again takes place in a small North Carolina town again (write what you know) but this was way darker then anything of Sparks' I've read before.

The story slowly and deliciously unravels throughout so that we don't ever get a huge background dump with any of the characters multiple POV's instead their lives, secrets and issues are gradually introduced which I loved. And the bad guy here, jeez he was horrible, and I mean that in a good way. The kind of character that you love to hate, but I also really enjoyed getting into his head, as he slowly fell apart, very intriguing stuff and really well done. I highly recommended this one even for those non- Nicholas Sparks fans; I think you'll be surprised.

The story here is somewhat reminiscent of A BEND IN THE ROAD but way better, it also reminded me very much of that older Julia Roberts movie Sleeping With The Enemy but again its better then that too. I won't give too much away here with the synopsis, its well worth discovering on your own. Cheers.

Katie is on the run, but the good people of Southport don't know that they're just wondering what the pretty new waitresses' story is and why she keeps to herself so much, after all everyone here knows everybody else. For the first time in months Katie is allowing herself to breathe again, she's found a good paying job, a secluded place to live, and avoiding any personal ties should allow her time enough here to save some money before she has to move on again. What she hadn't counted on however was being drawn into the lives of anyone in this small town. First it was her outspoken single neighbour Jo, who only made her realize how much she missed having friends and then it was Alex, the widowed shop owner and his two adorable children. Slowly Katie is letting her guard down, growing attached and falling in love, allowing herself to dream of a future with a man that won't hurt her. But Kevin is good and he's on her trail.

I've just learned that this is going to be made into a movie, can't wait. I just got a chill.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
This book was great, I loved it. I couldnt put it down. Anything by Nicholas sparks is enjoyable to read. I would recomend this book to anyone who enjoys a love story with a bit of thrill.
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on March 3, 2013
When I started reading this book I was caught up into it right away, i was so involved in reading about the characters I just hated putting it down.
I went through the book almost guiding the couple along as if more willing them along, not happy when they didn't listen to me (as if i were the parent).When it came to the end (as in other really good books I have read of Nicholas Sparks) I wanted it to continue!
I can only hope that the movie lives up to the book!
Thanks you Nicholas for another great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
This book was so captivating. Love a good love story where you fall in love with the characters. Definitely enjoyed this book and then movie throughly. Enjoy
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on August 7, 2013
No no no! But so many positive reviews show that anything would sell. Spoilers follow so read at your own risk!

The book reached the culmination on pg 100 and everything but that woman has imaginary friends (schizophrenia?) was predictable. I am only surprised that Sparks did not do his usual throwing in a terminal disease in the mix.

Boring and I am afraid that in spite of some wonderful novels by Sparks maybe I overgrew the cheap romance section.
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on March 4, 2013
This is now one of my favorite books! I thought it was so well written, and the love story was so sweet. It was not too sappy, of course, because of the drama added. I absolutely loved this book! It had been chosen as a read for the book club I am in and I am so glad they chose this one! I will definitely be reading it again and again! Nicholas Sparks never disappoints!
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on July 1, 2013
I enjoyed this story and really liked the characters. Most women in this situation don't fair so well but it's nice to read about one who did. There was a bit of "imaginary" to the story that took the sting out of the harshness of the abuse the main character had to deal with.

I would recommend this book and can't wait to see the movie now.
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