‘Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are those in which the ending is a surprise.’ So begins THE CHOICE. It perfectly describes its author’s works of art. Nicholas Sparks comes up with another must-read tearjerker about great love. Travis Parker is an attractive young man who seems to have everything: a nice job, great friends and family, his own house with an excellent view, adventures that can fill a book – except love. He has gone through several relationships but they all peter out like a soggy fuse on a firecracker. Enter the new neighbor, Gabby, a woman who falsely accuses him, consistently avoids him, overtly antagonizes him, and then makes a point of repeatedly mentioning that she is in love with another man. A woman who is unlike every other girl he has ever dated, the woman who complements him and makes him fall in love at long last. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heart-wrenching question of all: How far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?
Nick’s latest book is reminiscent of his third and first, my top 2 favorites – A WALK TO REMEMBER and THE NOTEBOOK. Its setting is the same as the former, in Beaufort, North Carolina, but its style is the same as the latter in that it is essentially separated into two sub stories – the far past and the present. In the first part, Nick illustrates how it all begins, with the main characters still in their youth, going through romantic scenes and overcoming obstacles and third parties to their eventual union. In the present, Nick shows the characters several years later, having gone through marriage and family and who now have a more serious conflict to deal with, which brings readers to tears. He cleverly paints a picture of the years missed by injecting flashbacks of substantial narratives that answer the readers’ questions at the end of the first part of the book’s story. I have always loved Nick’s style. He uses simple words but weaves them together in such a beautiful way. He also brings out ideas that make me think. One of the passages that struck me in the book:
“Three weeks ago, he’d seen hail fall from the sky, only to be followed minutes later by a spectacular rainbow that seemed to fall from the azalea bushes. The colors, so vivid they seemed almost alive, made him think that nature sometimes sends us signs that it’s important to remember that joy can always follow despair. But a moment later, the rainbow had vanished and the hail returned, and he realized that sometimes joy was only an illusion.”
Nick remains to be my favorite romantic author of all time.