Safe Haven
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575 of 607 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2010
This certainly isn't a traditional sappy love story that Sparks usually writes. Sure it has the love story and it's set in North Carolina, but he puts in an element of danger. I have read all of his books and I love them all, however I am definitely tired of the "I love you" on the first date that practically occurs in all of his novels. The rest of this novel makes up for that quick love. It truly is impossible to put down. I made the mistake of starting it before bed, figuring I would read a few chapters and go to sleep - Well, I stayed up all night and finished it. They way it's written is strategic and effective in keeping the reader wanting more (which is why I had to finish it in one night). Sparks has said that this is the next movie adaptation and I'm sure it will work well. There is something for everyone: love story, family life, internal conflicts, danger, and a twist at the end. Well worth the money (the physical book is more $ than the Kindle version - so I don't know what everyone is complaining about; he's a best-seller, it came out yesterday - of course it's not going to be $5!) Overall, I loved it and I don't regret my purchase at all. I'm just sad I finished it already! Can't wait for the next one!
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155 of 174 people found the following review helpful
When I pick up this sort of book, I don't expect my world view to be changed, or to become enlightened as if I'd just had a near death experience, what I expect is to safely escape reality and the cares of the world for a little while. Save Haven is just that, a safe haven in the reading experience. I read enough non-fiction to find it very enjoyable to pick up a Nicholas Sparks and leave the cares of the world behind.

Safe Haven may be a bit predictable, but what makes it stand out for me was delving into the mind of a control freak. Katie Feldman has a secret she's running from and it's a big one. She's found a safe haven in a small South Carolina town where she can just live life on her own terms, safe from fear. Of course it doesn't last because stories need endings, and too much happiness can ruin a good story like nothing else.

The hero in this story is a man who does the right thing and loves his children. With only this guy, the story would be pure vanilla. Throw in a 'bad guy' who's good at his job and loves his wife, and you've got some swirls of chocolate thrown in that are delicious.

I like that the main character of the story realizes that the world if full of shadows where things aren't as simple as they might seem. I won't give away anything else in the story because I read one review and it spoiled the ending for me.

Safe Haven is just what you'd expect from Nicholas Sparks, but I think that's a good thing.
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112 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2010
I am a huge Nicholas Sparks fan and have read all of his books. I have felt mad, happy, and sad, with some of his books, but they are all amazing. I think this is one of his best. DO NOT peek at the ending of this one. I have a friend that does this and to me it ruins the entire book....any book, but holds true especially for this one. I will not go into the story, as some do on here, because again that can ruin it. You will not be disappointed in Safe Haven. Many conflicts and battles within the characters, and you will most likely relate to at least one of them. Again the ending is awesome. This is one you will remember, I know I will. Sparks just keeps getting better and better.
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81 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2010
There used to be a day I'd greet each new Nicholas Sparks book with excitement and an eager desire to put everything else aside until I'd read the book in its entirety. Then a pattern began to emerge, leading up to my current feelings of quiet acceptance that, yes - the story would be engrossing and yes, I'd cry, but there was no hurry to get through it. This led me to the decision to listen to Safe Haven on audio during a long car trip to and from my folks house for the holiday.

In some ways, I appreciated the book more this way. The story took longer to unfold and I felt less rushed to get to the "crying" parts of the book, but also, it showed some glaringly slow parts. I liked the characters of Alex and Katie, but found their interaction to be a little cliche. There were some pretty tired jokes made and the dialogue wasn't as witty as I remembered Sparks being.. all in all it felt just a bit transparent, which disappointed me since I loved the relationship in, for example, The Notebook.

Overall, Safe Haven is a worthy addition to Sparks' list of books, but not one of my favorites. I wouldn't recommend the audio, even sitting in a car for 12 hours wasn't enough to keep my interest going at times and I found myself drifting off to sleep, or switching over to listen to music. I think I would have enjoyed the book more had I actually read it.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2010
I have read several of Nicholas Sparks novels to date with "A Walk to Remember" being the only one I whole-heartedly endorse. The others were either just okay or too over the top.

This one was odd in many ways. The protagonist, Katie/Erin's abusive husband, perpetuates the cliche of the evil man who tries to justify his actions by referring to the Bible. At first I found the chapters from the husband's point of view compelling. But while spending a bit of time in Kevin Tierney's mind serves to reveal vital information about his character and motivation, spending too much time there left me tired and ragged and ready to move on. There's only so much "I love her, I hate her, I love her, I hate her" that is necessary to set up the story. Nicholas Spark's heavy-handedness in this regard was like using a hammer to attach a thumbtack. When the climax to the story occurred, rather than being concerned about what happened to any particular character I was just relieved to finally get the whole thing over with. Kind of like enduring a root canal.

The oddest thing of all was at the end of the book when Katie realized something that I can only make sense of by assuming she was absolutely insane. (Note to new love Alex - I wouldn't let this woman too close to your children...)

Speaking of which... isn't it a little far-fetched to believe the whole episode with Kevin didn't have any negative affect on Katie and Alex's relationship? What about Alex's kids? Aren't they going to have nightmares for the rest of their natural lives? Or is Katie supposed to be so lovable they'll just settle down with her as their new mom and live happily ever after? I find it all too unbelievable.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2010
I couldn't put this one day. I bought the book on Tuesday morning and was done by Wednesday afternoon, it was that good! The story keeps your attention the whole way through with a perfect twist in the ending, that I never saw coming. If you liked "The Gaurdian" you are sure to love this new one...it has a very suspenseful feel to it just like "The Gaurdian" had. I highly recommend, it is in my top 3 for Nicholas Sparks books!
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
Predictable. Sleeping With The Enemy copycat, but description of the villian seems to be cut and pasted from chapter to chapter to the point where I want to scream, "Okay! I got it!" Sparks seems to be concentrating on quantity and not the quality he once had. Spend your money elsewhere.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2010
I loved this book, really, I couldn't put it down. The characters were so real and the discriptive writing is so vivid I could feel the heat discribed in the scenes. As a survivor myself of domestic violence both mental and physical it took me back to a time I could not escape. Thankfully my life has changed now but I know others are still in this type of life. Thank you for writing such a beautful story of love, survival, and hope. I don't want to give the ending away...but I loved the ending part, worth the read...don't skip to the end of the book..
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
I had never read a Nicholas Sparks novel before. I purchased this one at a school book fair to help fund book purchasing for the library. When I started reading it, I thought it was okay, but the more I got into it, the more cliched I realized the plot and characters were. The evil husband was just too much to believe. No one could drink that much and actually track down his escaped wife who had run away from him because of awful physical abuse he committed against her, even if he was "a good detective," as the author kept informing us that he was. Then there's the perfect love-interest for the hiding, abused wife. Way too perfect. And way too unbelievable. And the main character, herself, was also too perfect to be believable. Formula writing at its worst. The ending left me feeling that I had been cheated out the time it took me to plow through the novel, which I should have thrown across the room during the first few chapters when I pretty much knew how everything would turn out. Except for the "surprise" ending that was just so silly that I wanted to tear the pages from the book, crumple them, and recycle them. Not worth the paper they were printed on.

I will never read another Nicholas Sparks novel.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
Lately, it seems Mr. Sparks is treading water. Maybe I've just outgrown him. Maybe he should stick to screenplays since that's where the money is and that's how he seems to be writing his novels lately.

I haven't necessarily enjoyed every book he's ever written, but there have been a few that stand out. I enjoyed Message in a Bottle and Dear John. However, I'm beginning to wonder what's so great about his writing these days.

I found Safe Haven slow, plodding and, my goodness, I honestly found most of the book boring and repetitious, especially where Kevin, Erin's husband, comes in. I did appreciate the relationship between Katie and Alex, that they were taking time to get to know each other. I'm weary of the jumping to the next intimate level so quickly after introductions. Anyway, simply didn't warm up to this book, or the characters, at all. It was not a "I can't put it down" read. Matter of fact, I had to force myself to finish it. When I have to do that, I know I'm not involved. I found the ending contrived and just plain too fantastical. While I enjoy a nice twist,and I'm all for things of a Heavenly nature, it just felt twisted the way Sparks worked it.

Also, I guess I'm just tired of the beautiful woman/man who everyone can't take their eyes off of. Why can't a woman/man be OK but there's an essence about her/him that draws people. I'm tired of the beautiful people descriptions. Surely writers can use their imaginations to work believable characters, especially along the romance line, who are ordinary yet extraordinary?

If you're a fan of Nicholas Sparks regardless of what he puts out, you'll most definitely feel rewarded. If you've always been lukewarm to the monotony he can often write up,I'd suggest steering clear.
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