Published: 16th October 2018
Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she’s been dating her boyfriend, an orthopaedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family’s cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future. Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother’ early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable, but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty and personal happiness against each other in devastating ways.
Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy.
Deep in the heart of Zimbabwe where giraffes and hippos roam freely, Tru Walls enjoys living a simple life as a safari guide for those who have visited from all over the world. During his six week stint in the African plains, he is disconnected from the one person who holds his heart: his ten year old son Andrew. It is when Tru receives a personal letter from the desk of his biological father that allows him to visit America for the very first time and after several plane journeys, he finds himself alone in a three-storey house on Sunset Beach where he lies in wait for the man who has many questions to answer. During his first full day in North Carolina, Tru takes a walk along the beach in desperate search of a cup of coffee when he comes to the rescue of Scottie; an excitable dog owned by Hope Anderson. It is during the first few chapters that readers will learn that Tru and Hope have a lot in common: both of them are in search of answers from people who could potentially change their lives. In a matter of chapters, I had been swept away into the lives of our two main characters, the mesmerising setting and the knowledge that the words of Nicholas Sparks could truly take them anywhere.
“One of the great things about a leaf is that it reminds you to live as well as you can for as long as you can, until it’s finally time to let go and allow yourself to drift away with grace.”
Although Tru and Hope only have a few days to spend in one another’s company, they exchange stories from their lives over cups of coffee, a meal at the local fish restaurant, a glass of wine on the porch and as they visit Kindred Spirit. The swapping of the stories not only introduced themselves to the other person, but also to the reader as despite being told a brief outline of their lives, it was really nice to hear some deep truths about what had gone on within their days. With parts of their lives been passed over in conversation, I began to think about what would happen between the two and whether chemistry would work its magic and a new relationship would bloom. What about living in separate countries? Tru couldn’t leave Zimbabwe because of his son, nor could Hope leave North Carolina due to her Dad’s illness. The spark was there, but the practicality of it seemed unrealistic. Yet if anyone could make a relationship seem worth it, it would be Nicholas Sparks.
“It was a tidal wave of sensation and emotion and he suddenly felt that every step he’d taken in his life had been on a path leading to her, as if she were his ultimate destination.”
As Tru prepares to meet his biological father for the very first time and Hope attending her friend’s wedding, it gives the pair the chance to miss one another but within a handful of hours – everything changes. The close bond that has developed between them throughout the past few days is about to be shattered as the couple decide to go their separate ways: back to Zimbabwe, back to an unhappy relationship but I sincerely hoped that it wouldn’t be the end for either of them and with the hope of a letter stored in a glove compartment, things may all change in the second part of Every Breath. I briefly touched on Tru meeting his father for the first time and despite this being the sole reason why he flew to America, I felt as though it was over within a couple of pages. I did wish that there would be more to the meeting, more questions asked but I guess Tru didn’t want or expect a lot from his father. I desperately wanted Nicholas Sparks to include the proposal in which Hope received from her on-off boyfriend Josh because that would have allowed the reader to lean even more towards Tru that they already do.
“Real romance was spontaneous, unpredictable and could be as simple as listening to a man read a love letter found in a lonely mailbox on a stormy September afternoon.”
The second part of the narrative takes place many years later in which Tru and Hope have lived their lives in separate country with no communication, but of course, it doesn’t quite end there as one chilly morning, they unexpectedly reconnect at Kindred Spirit and it is such a beautiful ending to a fantastic plot. I won’t spoil the ending but it is one in which Nicholas Sparks himself plays quite the part and to my surprise, I loved this added addition to the love story. I thoroughly enjoyed Every Breath; the different settings of Zimbabwe and North Carolina, the personalities of Tru and Hope, their individual stories of their lives and the way in which a happy dog brought them together. My favourite book from Nicholas Sparks has always been The Choice, but I have a feeling that Every Breath has battled its way to the top of my life. If you enjoy being completely swept away in the lives of two characters, make sure you pre-order yourself a copy as it is truly spectacular.