Author: Nicholas Sparks
Date Read: October 19, 2013
Summary: Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again.
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.
Review: Let me start out by saying, yes, this book is entirely predictable and entirely typical Nick Sparks. It has all of his major themes, grief, military vet, abuse, fires, yada yada yada. But it still grabbed me. I really enjoyed Katie and totally fell for Alex. Who could resist a dedicated father who puts his kids well-being first while still being totally emotionally available (despite being a widower)? Sparks did a great job of telling Katie's background through detailed flashbacks and I think these were what made you respect Katie as a character. You saw what she went through and how she had to be unbelievably strong to survive.
This book is going exactly where you think it is going until the very end. I didn't see that coming. I think that twist was unlike other Sparks novels I had read but it was well done and fit into the story well. If you are looking for a love story a la The Notebook, Safe Haven will not disappoint. And now I can't wait to watch the movie :)