By Jessica Tanski
SC Staff Writer
“Safe Haven” by Nicholas Sparks is one for the records. The #1 New York Times best seller portrays a girl named Katie who runs away from an alcoholic boyfriend, Kevin.
Kevin is a part of the police system but abuses Katie to the point where it drives her away—literally.
While Kevin is away on a business trip, Katie implements the plan she has been conjuring up for weeks. She cuts and dyes her hair, steals a neighbor’s deceased daughter’s identity, and flees the state.
Sparks does a good job depicting a struggling victim dealing with loved ones who abuse alcohol. Readers get a sense of what it is like, even though they may never experience it.
In this case, the readers become ‘the fly on the wall’ and watch as Katie struggles in a fight for her life.
Often Kevin would beat Katie to the point where she would be bruised and left mentally scarred. Sparks does not skip a beat as the readers join her on her escape.
Katie hops on a bus marked to stop at Philadelphia. Sparks allows his readers to be with her on her journey there. They feel her anxiety and unease as she senses she is being followed.
Once her fears come true, she finally escapes Kevin’s devilish ways and finds a small town in North Carolina that is not easily found on maps. She moves into one of two small cottages at the end of a one lane road in Southport.
It is here where her life starts to take a turn for the better. She finally starts to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Katie meets a new friend, Jo, when she moves into the identical cottage next to hers. They become good friends sipping wine and sharing cups of coffee. Around Jo, Katie allows herself to open up and she begins to take down the walls that have kept her trapped for so long.
It is also in Southport that she meets Alex, a single dad of two whose wife died of cancer. He is the owner of the general store, the heart of the town.
Katie’s love for him grows stronger as the days go on, and as they spend time together.
However, simultaneously her past starts to unravel and catch up with her. As Alex finds out pieces of her past, he feels a need to protect her.
Sparks has a way of manipulating readers’ emotions to allow them to grasp a sense of what the characters are feeling.
Readers will find themselves crying, gasping and clapping along with the characters. Sparks succeeds again with a novel filled with elements of suspense, thrill, love and drama.
Does Kevin ever find her? Is Jo who she really says she is? Read Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe Haven” to find out.
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