38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Simple, Absorbing Well Written Love Story
At age sixty, Adrienne Willis is faced with the fact that her daughter Amanda has been unable to regain her emotional equilibrium after her husband died of cancer. Adrienne becomes increasingly worried about the impact on Amanda's two young sons. Amanda rejects her mother's attempts to lend support, since she believes that her divorced mother does not "know what it is...
Published on October 24, 2002 by Tucker Andersen
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cardboard Characters and Predictable Ending Disappoint
As a fan of Nicholas Sparks who reads all his work, I am amazed at how predictable and unappealing his latest novel is. I can't overlook the fact that the plot is a virtual copy of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, that the ending is evident within the first few pages, or that the characters fail to ignite any sympathy but remain cardboard cut-outs from first page to...
Published on October 8, 2002 by Antoinette Klein
Most Helpful First | Newest First
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Simple, Absorbing Well Written Love Story,
At age sixty, Adrienne Willis is faced with the fact that her daughter Amanda has been unable to regain her emotional equilibrium after her husband died of cancer. Adrienne becomes increasingly worried about the impact on Amanda's two young sons. Amanda rejects her mother's attempts to lend support, since she believes that her divorced mother does not "know what it is like to live through something like " the death of a loved one. Adrienne decides that Amanda needs to learn about a part of her mother's life that has been kept secret from her family, and as she reviews the items she has saved from her NIGHTS IN RODANTHE and as she rereads the letter from Paul (Flanner), by the end of the first chapter not only has the complete plot been revealed but we guess the conclusion in a general way.
Thus, the attraction of this story is its simplicity and spareness as the author gives us enough details to fulfill our curiosity but makes no attempt to embellish it beyond the necessary minimum. In a flashback to fifteen years ago, Adrienne agees to watch a coastal inn for a friend who has to attend a wedding. Because it is past the tourist season and a hurricane is forecast, Paul Flanner (a very successful surgeon who has just sold his practice to go to Ecuador to be with his son) is the only guest. They are both attempting to recover from failed marriages, and their few brief nights together become a life changing experience for each of them. This is the eternal story of our search to instill meaning into our lives, and the question of what constitutes real love.
I have read none of Nicholas Sparks' other books or THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, but did see the movie MEASSAGE IN A BOTTLE. My only response to the critics of this book who compare it to those other works is that their disappointment seems to be based on their expectations, rather than on an evaluation of what the author was attempting to do with this story. In fact, I WAS GLAD THAT AN AUTHOR HAS DECIDED FOR ONCE THAT LESS CAN BE MORE, and the essence of a really good and compelling story about human emotions can be strong enough to stand on its own without a lot of embellishment. I believe that this story succeeds in fulfilling that goal, and therefore while I understand the very disparate reviews which it has received I strongly recommend it for those readers interested in what it purports to be, a story of life and rembrance of the healing power of love, even when fate has intervened to make those recollections bittersweet.
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholas Sparks does it again........,
I just finished reading Nicholas Sparks latest creation "Nights in Rodanthe". Let me tell you...run do not walk to the store to purchase this one. I have read every single one of Sparks novels thus far. He writes like no other. His imagery is fantastic....as you are reading it is like a movie unfolding before your eyes. I will not outline the story for you here because I think that ruins it for the reader. Expect to cry (as usual). But expect to learn something and also to reflect on your own life as well. I think that is what I love most about Sparks is that everything is "real". You can relate by having experienced similar things or by knowing someone who has. I just wish he could write faster because as soon as one of his novels is released, I read it the same day...and then am stuck waiting, craving for the next one. I also highly recommend Message in a Bottle and The Rescue.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get out your hankies!,
NIGHTS IN RODANTHE by Nicholas Sparks
Another love story by the author of MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE and other tragedy-laden romances, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE recalls an older woman's memories of a love lost, but not forgotten.
Adrienne Willis is 60 years old and is trying to help her daughter Amanda deal with the recent death of her young husband. Amanda does not seem to be able to cope with the death, ignoring her young children's needs and falling apart before them all. Adrienne decides to tell Amanda the story of a man she loved many years ago, but due to circumstances that kept them apart, they did not have a "happily ever after". She hopes that this story will help Amanda with her own loss.
Fourteen years ago, three years after Adrienne's husband Jack had left her for another woman, Adrienne honors a request to help take care of a friend's Bed and Breakfast Inn while her friend goes away on vacation. Adrienne has yet to move on with her life since the divorce, and time spent at the Inn may be what Adrienne needs. There is only one guest that weekend, and it is Paul Flanner, a surgeon who is going through his own nightmare of a past, and happens to stay at the Inn while he conducts some business in town.
Adrienne and Paul connect and as they get to know each other, they fall in love. Paul, however, has already committed to spending time in South America and be with his son, who also happened to be a doctor. He tells Adrienne that as soon as his work is done there, he will come back for her and they would have plenty of time to be together.
Obviously, things did not work out for Adrienne and Paul, since Adrienne was sitting in her kitchen with her recently widowed daughter. What happens after that week in Rodanthe is Adrienne's story to her daughter, and what Amanda learns from her mother helps bring her back to the world of the living.
This was yet another heartbreaking story by Nicholas Sparks and I highly enjoyed it. I have read all of his books, and I still come back for more. What I find interesting is that people he knows inspire him to write most of his books, and this book was no exception. Inspired by his own courtship with his wife, Sparks yet again has written a winning book.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding romantic novel,
"Nights in Rodanthe," by Nicholas Sparks is a phenomenal love story. I've read "The Notebook," "A Bend in the Road" and "A Walk to Remember" by Nicholas Sparks and with my past experiences reading his literature I knew to keep a box of tissues by my side. Sure enough I used about half the box reading "Nights in Rodanthe."
I must be honest, I'm not one to read a book in one sitting but sure enough I was up till 3 o'clock in the morning reading "Nights in Rodanthe." I couldn't put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next or how it was going to happen.
I was a little disappointed with the way the book began because by page 7, I already knew how the book was going to end. Amanda, Adrienne, the main character's daughter, is going through a hard time due to the lose of her husband to cancer and accuses her mother of not knowing what she is going through. In the book, Nicholas Sparks writes "Adrienne had said nothing, but when Amanda left the room, Adrienne lowered her head and whispered a single word. Rodanthe." (Chapter 1, page 7)
Despite the fact I already knew the ending from that simple paragraph I still couldn't put the book down. I had to know every detail to Adrienne's story and how she and Paul, the love of her life, met, fell in love and hoped to spend the rest of their lives together. I had to know what kept them apart and even though I already knew what happened to them, I had to know how it happened.
I strongly recommend "Nights in Rodanthe" to all romanticist. The novel is full of romantic scenes and if you've ever been in love you'll be able to relate with Adrienne and Paul as they fall in love. The book is hard to put down and I often found myself rushing through one page to get to the next to find out what was going to happen. One word of advice, keep a box of tissues handy.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cardboard Characters and Predictable Ending Disappoint,
As a fan of Nicholas Sparks who reads all his work, I am amazed at how predictable and unappealing his latest novel is. I can't overlook the fact that the plot is a virtual copy of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, that the ending is evident within the first few pages, or that the characters fail to ignite any sympathy but remain cardboard cut-outs from first page to last.
I give him credit for attempting to write a passionate middle-aged love story, but must he rely on such hackneyed stereotypes as the lonely, desserted wife and the workaholic man who never stopped to smell the roses? And while it is true that people can change at any age, the transformation of Paul Flanner just doesn't ring true.
Sparks has not forgotten how to write a tear-jerker, however, and this one will leave you at least misty or most likely crying a bucketful of tears. But this is Nicholas Sparks, so you didn't really expect "happily ever after," did you?
However, the most insulting thing about this book to me was the premise that two nights of good talk and good sex can change your life forever and make you wiser, happier, and more together than you could possibly imagine no matter what else happens to you. Whatever happened to building a relationship on trust, friendship, respect, and passion?
Readers have gotten much better from Nicholas Sparks in the past and will, hopefully, do so in the future.
37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are second chances possible?,
When I wrote my review of A Bend in the Road for Amazon, the subject line said, "Hooray - finally a Nicholas Sparks book I loved." I wish I could say the same about Sparks's newest book, Nights in Rodanthe. Unfortunately, I felt about this book the same way I felt about Sparks's other books, The Notebook, Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember. The plots, for the most part have been done before and better in addition to which the characters never grew for me and in the end I didn't care much about them either. The book, which I finished in a couple of hours, includes some standard Spark's literary devices which include the use of a flashback to tell the story and a bit of mystery as to how the book would end. And while the book had some glimmering moments, there just weren't enough for me to think much about once I closed the book.
Adrienne begins this narrative at the age of 60, a divorced woman for 17 years and the mother of three grown children. In order to help her daughter, a recent widow at only 29, to cope with the future, Adrienne relates the following event in her life. We move back in time and meet Adrienne who is 45 and has recently been divorced. We also meet Paul, a newly divorced doctor, who has just left his practice in North Carolina and is estranged from his only child who is a doctor working in Ecuador. On his way to try and reconcile with his son, Paul stops off at a bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, North Carolina to meet with a former patient's family. And Adrienne, trying to make some extra money, is at this bed and breakfast helping out the owner. The stage is set and over a weekend when North Carolina is hit by a violent Nor'easter.................... I think you get the message.
I find the premise of people falling in love so quickly a bit hard to understand and may be it does happen but Sparks didn't convince me in within the pages of this book. And an attempt at a second theme, which concerned Paul's former patient, did little to help out this book from being rather mediocre. As for the writing, I think Sparks tries too hard with too many flowery words to describe the landscape and the dialogue is almost always hard to believe. I imagine Sparks's loyal legions of fans will enjoy this book, but not me. I remain disappointed once again with his attempts to write a romantic novel. Maybe next time!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A bit too formulaic...,
I had read Nicholas Sparks' "The Notebook" when it first came out and remember thinking that it was good. Not great, but not awful. A quick read for sure (as in one night). Last week, I picked up "Nights in Rodanthe", intrigued, having just vacationed there. It is the story of Adrienne and Paul, both divorced, who meet in the town of Rodanthe during a hurricane and fall in love. Told in retrospect, Adrienne is sharing the story in the hopes of consoling her widowed daughter. From the beginning we know that something tragic must have happened to keep Adrienne and Paul from happily-ever-after. There is also a `mysterious' subplot about why Paul is in Rodanthe which falls flat, but I won't reveal too many details because I know there are fans of Sparks that want to discover this book for themselves.
Like "The Notebook", this was a quick read, exasperating at times in its predictability and cardboard cut-out characters. I tried hard, in vain, to search for deeper, subtler meanings. Since the book seems to repeatedly point out that it is set in a small town, by the sea, called Rodanthe, I was hoping to see more of a connection between the characters and the environment. Why did Sparks choose Rodanthe as the backdrop? This story could have taken place anywhere. Had Nicholas Sparks done a bit more research, perhaps he could have incorporated the island legend (as mentioned in "Hatteras Journal" by Jan DeBlieu) about Rodanthe, the Australian flower for which the village is named but has never been known to bloom in the village's history. This would have nicely kept in tune with the tragedy of love never allowed to blossom. There is no discernable reason that this trite twist of "The Bridges of Madison County" takes place where it does. It also lacks any plausible sense of build up in tension between Adrienne and Paul that causes them to declare endless love for each other the way they do after a few days. The character's internal reactions to this burgeoning love are adolescent and the love scenes were unconvincing.
The character of Adrienne is a sad stereotype of a wife that devoted her life to her husband and children, only to have him leave her during the even more stereotypical mid-life crisis. She is left with bills, children and an ailing father to take care of. Paul is the stereotypical work-a-holic who has remained emotionally detached from his family and estranged from his son. To quote Homer Simpson, "BOR-RING!"
Sparks prose is cliche and unimaginative and the characters lack self-awareness. He includes a few of the letters between the characters in an almost desperate attempt to try and draw upon the sucess he had with this formula in "The Notebook". I say desperate because it seems as if they were thrown in at the end of the book as an afterthought and he pitches them like an adman trying to get us to buy into this fluff. After presenting an excerpt of a letter from Paul to Adrienne in an attempt to show us the depth of Paul's feeling for her, he writes, "[what about]...these [words], from the next letter?" followed by another sappy excerpt and then, going in for the big sell, "Or even these...." I couldn't help of thinking of an infomercial saying, "But wait, there's more!" Maybe Sparks had a book deal to fill and a deadline to meet that caused him to crank this out. Either way it would have been best if it had been left to the pages of "Modern Romance" magazine.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No surprise,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read the following novels written by Nicholas Sparks in this order: THE NOTEBOOK, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE, A WALK TO REMEMBER, THE RESCUE, BEND IN THE ROAD and finally NIGHTS IN RODANTHE. My favorite is BEND IN THE ROAD. I suspect that I like BEND IN THE ROAD the best because it is the least predictable. Like most of his novels, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE is highly predictable. Regardless of its predictability, I enjoyed reading it.
I am sure that those who have read his other novels will respond in the same manner as I did. However, I don't think that people read Sparks to experience a surprise. Sparks is a master of the English language and through his talent of constructing a sentence, he can induce a person to continue to read. Sparks has the rare talent to draw a picture with words. Characters come alive and make a connection with the reader.
The connection to real life that makes NIGHTS IN RODANTHE particularly compelling is the emergence of relationship triangles. I related to at least four relationship triangles. One of the three people has to make a decision reminiscent of Rick's final decision in the film CASABLANCA. To follow a path that fulfill one's emotional needs or to follow a path that is less altruistic but clearly more noble? Should a parent address the loneliness in one's life or focus on the needs of one's children? "That is the question." In real life as in the book, one cannot have it all. Like Rick in CASABLANCA and Paul in NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, only one decision can be made. Once the decision is made, there is no turning back.
The elegance of NIGHTS IN RODANTHE is the author's ability to capture the feelings of making a critical decision and placing these feelings in the heart of the reader who vicariously identifies with the relationship triangle.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Voice Needed,
I know I will upset many of Nicholas' fans (as I have been for many years), but I think his books have become like recycled sitcoms. The same thing every time. I think he just knows how to manipulate a scene to drum up emotion, but it's become old and tired. I have been with him for many novels, but I think it is time to look once again for a fresh new voice. Anyone have any recommendations??
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical mediocre, maudlin Sparks,
This review is from: Nights in Rodanthe (Paperback)
Typical Sparks superficial tearjerker; divorced woman has one-weekend stand with man she has just met, they fall madly in love immediately and she thinks he is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
Very predictable story, not particularly engaging or well-written. I predicted the death (this is, after all a Nicholas Sparks book) as well as the gift having to do with Adrienne's father. As in other of Sparks' books, he leaves the reader feeling somewhat cheated probably due to the constraints of length. I keep thinking I'd like to see Sparks write a longer book, but I suppose when you can make millions of dollars for only 225 pages, why write a book that's twice as long?
It was supposed to be some sort of parable to relate to her newly-widowed daughter but in that respect if fell pretty flat. The best I can say about it was that it was a very quick read. I don't give very many C's in my rating system because if a book is just mediocre I often do not finish it. I even found myself skimming the last of this one. If you thought The Bridges of Madison County was the best book you've ever read, give this one a try. If not, it's a miss at best.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (Mass Market Paperback - August 1, 2004)