Nicholas Sparks is known for writing his novels with a formula in mind: before even reading a work, readers seem to know how the novel is going to end and its basic premise. As an avid reader of Sparks’ novels and former creative writing student, I can definitely see how some would think that there is a formula to these novels.
Firstly, it is easy to see the similarities of many of Sparks’ main female characters. They are usually suffering from something that might be revealed in the beginning or held in secret until some point in the novel, and they are running from those secrets. They end up meeting another character that is there to bring her comfort and form a bond that will carry them throughout the climax of the novel.
Having read a number of Sparks’ novels, I thought I knew what I was getting into when I picked up Safe Haven (mind you, I read this novel before the movie was even announced). But still as I sat down and immersed myself in this novel, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride that Sparks ended up taking me on.
The book follows Katie as she settles down in the small town of Southport, North Carolina, and her arrival is met with whispered questions and rumors as to why such a beautiful young girl would decide to settle into the small town. Katie, is running from a tragically emotionally charged past that continues to affect her as she meets Alex Wheatley, a widower struggling to raise his two kids.
Katie and Alex form a friendship that helps both to heal from the tragic hand that life has dealt them. Alex helps Katie begin to feel settled in Southport, and Katie begins to enjoy life in the small town, until that this until her past catches up with her.
It’s at this point that this novel really stands out as a romantic thriller because of the emergence of Katie’s past: Katie’s ex finds her and threatens her life and those she has met in Southport. In the climatic moment of this novel, you’re heart will pound, and you will just hope that everything works out in the end.
This novel goes above and beyond what I have come to expect from Nicholas Sparks, and I urge all English majors, especially creative writing students to read this novel because Sparks has to be doing something right to constantly creating bestsellers.
About the writer:
Kathryn is a junior English major from the small town of Hampshire, IL. She writes because she feels it cleanses the soul and finds it easier to express feelings through writing than with actions. Kathryn is also a huge Michael Phelps fan and has seen almost every single Mark Wahlberg movie.