When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven
This is the first Sparks book that actually caught my eye. And I mean, more than just because Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel adorn the newer covers. The base premise itself wasn’t unique, but Sparks was able to put his own spin on the idea and make it work.
The characters were sufficiently fleshed out and the writing easily drew me in. Katie was so easy to fall for and want to help and protect, even before it becomes known what her big secret that she’s running from. Alex, on the other hand, is this alarmingly charming widow who is devoted to his kids but, at the same time, can’t seem to get Katie off his mind.
Looking back on it, it feels like their romance was a huge rush. But that’s also because of how Sparks just propels the reader through the story. Unable to put down the book, it just all flies by. (Which leads to a second and, perhaps, a third read.) Despite how quickly the story zooms by, as a reader, you’re left happily satisfied with the progression.
This is a great choice for anyone who needs a bit of a heartwarming romance, a strong woman determined not to break, and something that’ll just take you for a journey.
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