Published: 13th October 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. At twenty-eight, he’s focused on getting his teaching degree and avoiding all the places and people that proved so destructive in his past. The last thing he’s looking for is a serious relationship. But when he crosses paths with Maria Sanchez one rain-swept night, his carefully structured life is turned upside down. And when Maria, a hardworking lawyer, meets Colin she begins to question every notion she has ever had about herself and her future – and what truly makes her happy. Before the couple has a chance to envision a life together, menacing reminders from events in Maria’s past begin to surface. And as the threat of violence begins to shadow her every step, she and Colin will be pushed to breaking point.
Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy. I never thought I would see the day where I get to read a Nicholas Sparks book at least a month or so in advance. Year, made!
The newly anticipated book from Nicholas Sparks opens with a prologue of vengeance before drawing the readers into the lives of Colin Hancock and Maria Sanchez. Colin is a sweet guy; rough around the edges with a kind soul who deserves a break in life whereas Maria never seems to want a break, always judges a book on its cover and keeps her family as number one priority. When they meet for the very first time during a stormy evening, it was the beginning of what I knew would turn into something beautiful. There is only a slight hint of Maria’s violent past during the first few chapters which true Nicholas Sparks fans will relate to Safe Haven.
“These days, it seemed like Mr. Rights tended to fly off the shelves, perhaps because they were as rare as California condors.”
From the opening chapter, the friendship between Colin and Evan was truly heartwarming. Despite being total opposites, they were the very best of friends and Nicholas wrote their conversations with such ease. As they spent more time with one other doing hobbies which they loved, they perfectly synced together and their two very different worlds shortly became just a distant memory to them and us, the reader.
“He’d wanted her, in his arms, just like this, forever.”
The narrative picks up it’s paces when Maria starts to sense someone else’s presence around her, watching her, sending her flowers with creepy messages and the possibility of killing the family dog. Despite Nicholas Sparks being well-known for a romance writer, he is also fantastic in the mystery/thriller genre. The detailing from the police investigation was incredible; research had been done to another level and I could feel the family’s concern throughout.
“And though she’d been through hell in the last few days, she couldn’t help but smile.”
Aside from the romance between Maria and Colin, the Sanchez family as well as Evan & Lily were such beautiful additions to the narrative. Their personalities were all so uniquely captivating; guiding the two love birds during their journey. The group were extremely close-knit, especially with Maria’s stalker coming closer and closer as the chapters neared towards the end. It was unbelievably powerful, thrilling and one of those plots where you want to know the answer but you also don’t want it to end.
“He smiled, his eyes never leaving hers.”
The ending was… Well, in all honesty I don’t think I could turn the pages quick enough! It was thrilling, nerve-wracking, exciting, frightening yet it was also very romantic in a life or death kind of matter. No spoilers BUT.. Colin will win your heart. He’s quite possibly my favourite Nicholas Sparks male character: move over Logan (The Lucky One) and Travis (The Choice). If you’re going to read this book, you will need waterproof mascara for the final chapter and epilogue because I’m counting my lucky stars right now that it exists.
Nicholas Sparks, you’ve done it again. Bravo.