Thursday, August 02, 2012

Safe Haven

Title: Safe Haven
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Published: 2010

Listening to True Believer renewed my interest in Nicholas Sparks. It's not like I have fuzzy feelings toward the guy, but I was just in the mood to pick up another of his titles.

So I picked up this one.

The story opens up on Katie. She's the new girl in town and it's obvious that she wants to keep to herself. Soon, it becomes apparent that she doesn't want to be found. But we really don't learn that too early in the novel.

We are also introduced to Alex. He's a widowed father of two small children. Katie meets Alex because he owns a small grocery store near the house that she's renting. At first, she's hesitant to interact with him. But it's a Nicholas Sparks novel and, of course, sparks eventually fly between these two major characters.

It isn't long before we find out that Katie isn't really Katie at all. She's Erin and she's on the run from her abusive husband. Thing is, Erin stayed in a nightmarish situation for years. She was beaten, manipulated and emotionally crippled by a guy who she once believed would love her forever. Eventually, she determined that she could leave and survive or stay and die.

In a way, I enjoyed this novel a lot more than most of Nicholas Sparks' work. It was dark, it was gritty, and there was a real sense of realistic foreboding in these pages. In another way, I didn't like it, and it's probably for the same reason.

See, I've known people like Katie/Erin's husband. Abusive, manipulative, controlling... They're scary kinds of people. When the story switched to the husband's point of view, it was pretty spot on for a sociopath. It's almost like Sparks did a character study of someone I once knew. In that sense, it was kind of scary how realistic it was.

That being said, it was a nice change of pace. I've never read a Nicholas Sparks book that gave me a suspenseful feeling as I reached the climax. The whole time I'm waiting for someone to die, so I really wasn't sure what to expect nearing the end.

I'm not saying that I'll rush out and read the rest of the guy's reading list, but this one was a good read.

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