Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

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RATING: 4/5

BLURB: “When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet unassuming, Katie is determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to lower her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community. But even as Katie starts to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts her…”

REVIEW: I have read many of Sparks’ books over the years as he is the favourite author of one of my closest friends, but ‘Safe Haven’ has definitely made it into the ranks of my favourite Sparks books. The story of Katie, a beautiful but fearful woman who has run away from an abusive husband and given herself a new identity, is extremely gripping and also very emotional. Although we only find out about Katie’s past through flashbacks, or through the eyes of her psychotic husband Kevin, the glimpses we get are enough to make us instantly sympathise with her character and to hope that her new life works out. When Katie begins to make herself at home in Southport, befriending her mysterious next-door neighbour Jo and forming a relationship with widower Alex and his children, Josh and Kristen, the reader feels the happiness that she herself feels in making a new life for herself. As Katie and Alex’s relationship begins to progress, however, so does Kevin’s search for his missing wife, leading to a shocking climax of the novel that will have readers on the edge of their seats. The portrayal of the abusive relationship, Kevin’s descent into madness and the blossoming love between Alex and Katie are all very believable and make the novel all the more enjoyable. I would highly recommend this as one of my favourite Sparks novels.

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