Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (no spoilers)

Book: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publication: September 17th, 2013
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

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 rodeo, 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.

My Thoughts:
The Longest Ride was by far not my favorite Nicholas Sparks book, but in saying that I'm always up for a good love story and Sparks didn't disappoint in that aspect. The Longest Ride took a long time to get interested in. There was never a time when I didn't like the book, but there were times I was bored and wanted to just skip those parts. Once I got into The Longest Ride I was hooked.

Ira was a character I often struggled with. The beginning of his chapters were often dry and repetitive. The flash backs of Ira and Ruth's marriage was the part I liked best. It showed the difference in time period. Their love radiated off the pages. That is how I fell in love with their characters and the story of their lives.

Then there was Sophia who had just broken up with her boyfriend. She meets Luke, a cowboy, by chance and that is where their love story begins. Luke is a bull rider with many secrets and the secrets have the power to destroy their relationship. I believe the writing style was different than in Sparks other novels and there were times I felt it was hard to connect to Sophia and Luke. I did very much fall in love with their love story and was dying to know their ending. I enjoyed Sophia's chapters the most of this novel. I was very connected to these characters by the time I reached the end of the novel.

Nicholas Sparks crafted a novel full of fear, excitement, love, anger, joy, and pain. I felt myself on the roller coaster of life. The last 100 pages of Nicholas Sparks novel kept me up late into the night to finish. I had to know the ending. I have to say that Nicholas Sparks didn't disappoint. Ira, Luke, and Sophia finally connected as characters in a way which I would have least expected it. The ending was nothing like I predicted and I enjoyed the fact that although I have read several Nicholas Sparks books he is still able to craft novels that keep me up late at night and surprise me. This is not the first Sparks book that I have stayed up late to finish and I guarantee it won't be the last. Nicholas Sparks continues to prove himself as a superb author. 

Thanks for reading


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