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"A New York Times hardcover bestseller for 56 weeks and a paperback bestseller for well over a year, Nicholas Sparks' first novel, The Notebook (1996) has nearly three million hardcover and paperback copies in print combined."
"Written in the opaque language of a fable, the novel opens in a nursing home as 80-year-old Noah Calhoun, "a common man with common thoughts," reads a love story from a notebook; it is his own story. In 1946, Noah, newly returned from the war, is trying to forget a long-ago summer romance with Allie Nelson, the daughter of a powerful businessman. Allie, soon to be married, feels compelled to track Noah down. One steamed-crab dinner and a canoe ride later, they fall madly in love again. We then learn that Noah, now aged and infirm, is reading his notebook to Allie in an attempt to jog her memory, severely impaired by Alzheimer's disease, and, miraculously, he succeeds, much to the amazement of the hospital staff. There is something suspect about a romantic relationship that reaches its acme when one of the partners is in the throes of dementia, but then, this is well within the confines of the romance genre--love conquers all, even Alzheimer's, leaving the medical experts (and this reviewer) confounded. If you want to read a novel in which the romance is grounded in something real, and the magic is truly magical, read the work of Alice Hoffman. If you want to read an upscale Harlequin romance with great crossover appeal, then read The Notebook."
Paperback - 226 pages (December 1999)
"Nicholas Sparks', Message in a Bottle has nearly 700,000 hardcover copies in print and was on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list for 28 weeks. The Warner paperback edition has over 1.5 million copies in print. In spring 1999, it was released as a major motion picture starring Kevin Costner, Robin Wright Penn and Paul Newman."
"If you thought The Notebook was a tearjerker, get out the hankies, pull up a chair, and get ready to have your heart monkey-wrenched by Nicholas Sparks's second star-crossed love story, Message in a Bottle. When Theresa Osborne takes a much-needed summer holiday at Cape Cod, she finds a lot more than a break from the hustle and bustle. On an early-morning jog along Cape Cod Bay, she comes across a corked bottle with a scrolled-up message inside that reads, "My Dearest Catherine, I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together..." It bobbles around in the same vein for several more paragraphs and ends with "...am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry. Garret."
Garret may eat quiche, but no bother--before you can say "Look! I found two more letters!" Theresa is hot on his trail and determined to find this mysterious yet sensitive message-in-a-bottle man. She finds him at a sleepy North Carolina port, working on his beloved sailboat, The Happenstance. From there, a romance buds and blossoms into a colorful bouquet of emotional baggage. Theresa has problems with her past--or, more accurately, her past is a problem. She is so scarred from her "I'm a super churchgoing guy now that I've run out on my wife" ex-husband that she hasn't tried to date since her divorce some three or four years before. And who is Catherine? And what's Garret's bag, anyway? When Theresa finds out, she plunges to the depths of her soul and uncorks a whopper of a secret about herself, bringing Garret to terms with who he really is."
Paperback - 370 pages (January 1999)
A Walk to Remember "'When I was seventeen, my life changed forever'... So begins Nicholas Sparks' touching tale of Landon Carter, a teenage boy living in the small town of Beaufort, North Carolina in the late 1950s. Landon is a typical teenager who just wants to have a fun senior year before heading off to college. The last thing he anticipated is Jamie Sullivan, the sweet, pious daughter of the town's Baptist minister. But on the evening of Beaufort's annual Christmas pageant, Landon will undergo a change of heart that will forever alter the course of his life. In the months that follow, Landon discovers truths that it takes most people a lifetime to learn- truths about the nature of beauty, the joy of giving, the pain of loss, and, most of all, the transformational power of love."
"Sparks (The Notebook, 1996; Message in a Bottle, 1998) carries on in his determined effort to make people cry, this time with an old premise, slow windup, and wobbly pitch. In 1958, high-school senior Landon Carter is 17. Even though his father is a US Congressman, Landons best friends are on the taunting, swaggering sidefootball players and such, who hang around at the local drive-in and flaunt their disrespect. So its strange indeed when Landon gets involved with the nicest girl in town classmate Jamie Sullivan, who carries a Bible everywhere she goes, does endless good deeds, and is the only child of the widowed Rev. Hegbert Sullivan, the churchman whom Landon and gang love to throw taunts after from hiding places behind trees. But Landon has enrolled in a drama class (for the easy A), and that class is responsible for putting on the annual Christmas play, written by Hegbert, which will be special this year because the authors beloved daughter will have the female leadshes an angel who ministers to a sorrow-filled widower. When Jamie asks Landon if he wont please be the male lead, what can he say? And what can he do, as rehearsals go on, when he starts not only respecting Jamie, but liking her? Embarrassing as it is before his friends, Landon starts helping her do good deeds, and, on performance night, seeing her true beauty for the first time, falls in love with her. Oh, say it isn't so since great, deep sorrow lies ahead. For Jamie has a secret that, when she tells it to her loving Landon, explains everything the Bible she carries, new meanings in the Christmas play, even Jamie's reasons for finding it really special this year. Sparks pulls out all the stops as Landon, from a vantage of 40 years later, tells the story out to its teary end. Weepy wisdom aimed at the holiday trade."
Paperback - 240 pages (September 2000)