Sparks delivers...yet again

A Bend in the Road - Nicholas Sparks

Opening Line: “On the morning of August 29, 1988, a little more than two years after his wife had passed away, Miles Ryan stood on the back porch of his house, smoking a cigarette, watching as the rising sun slowly changed the morning sky from dusky grey to orange.”

Nicholas Sparks is like comfort food, I always know going in the kind of emotional love story I’m going to get and I can count on being sucked into the lives, loves and heartache of his small town characters. They’re written realistically, I mean I feel like I know them, flaws and all and I usually want to move to whatever town it is he’s describing. Sure sometimes the stories are predictable and I find that the couple de jour spouts the “I love you’s” too soon for my liking or realism’s sake but still his stories are always a pleasure to read, which is what keeps me coming back for more.

A BEND IN THE ROAD was a surprise in that it keeps a sense of mystery going throughout, often leaving the main couples love story and allowing us into the mind of the anonymous “bad guy”. Slowly unravelling their story until the shocking big reveal at the end. I honestly didn’t know how Sparks was going to wrap things up here, his couples doesn’t always end up together and that too added to the mystery.

Sheriff’s deputy Miles Ryan is still struggling to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife in a hit-and-run accident nearly two years ago. High school sweethearts, theirs was a love destined to last and Miles can’t seem to let go of the grief or the fact that as an officer of the law he’s been unable to find the person responsible. If it weren’t for their young son Jonah it’s unlikely that Miles would find the strength to get through the day.

Which brings into play Jonah’s second grade teacher Sarah Andrews. When Jonah begins having trouble keeping up in school Sarah offers to tutor him and a tentative relationship begins to form. Sarah is running away from a bad divorce (is there a good one?) and has a few skeletons in her closet as well. Our couple fall in love pretty fast (from one page to the next) and are just beginning to see a real future together when Miles’ past comes back, tearing everything apart. Unwilling to let go of his dead wife and obsessed with finding her killer and ultimately closure I can honestly say that I was surprised by events I didn’t see coming.

As I hinted at earlier I really enjoyed getting inside the head of the hit-and-run driver and slowly discovering who it was, becoming very sympathetic towards their situation. However I could have done without spending so much time running around with county sheriff Charlie and subsequently the middle parts of this story lagged. Still a recommended read. Cheers!