Nicholas Sparks has become known as the king of love stories. In his novel, Safe Haven, he tells the story of a young woman looking for a fresh start. Katie has moved to the small North Carolina town of Southport. She finds a small, cozy cottage to live in and she begins working as a waitress at the local diner. Southport is a quiet southern town that suits Katie well. Her aim is to live a quiet life and leave her past behind.
As she goes about her daily activities, Katie encounters a local shop owner. Alex is immediately interested in this mysterious, attractive young woman. He is a widower raising two small children on his own. He perceives that Katie has been through a lot in her life. Slowly, a friendship is cultivated and a romance ensues. Katie and Alex are very cautious with their hearts. Despite their initial apprehension, they fall in love. It is a heartwarming romance.
Regardless of Katie's efforts to leave her past behind, it comes back to haunt her. The past threatens her chance for happiness with her new love, Alex. In the end, their love prevails against all odds.
At first glance, Safe Haven may sound like just another love story. However, Nicholas Sparks has such a gift for engaging the reader in the story. The way the characters come to know each other and fall in love is captivating. Sparks weaves in the story of Katie's past throughout the novel and grips the reader's attention. This technique was reminiscent of another beloved Sparks novel, A Bend in the Road. As readers are given brief glimpses into the past, our interest is piqued.
Safe Haven reminded me very much of the 1991 psychological thriller film, Sleeping With the Enemy, starring Julia Roberts. I enjoyed this novel very much. My only criticism is for the ending. I was not a fan of the implications at the end. I don't want to give it away, so I'll say no more. Judge for yourself. Overall, I give this book "two thumbs up."