Okay, one thing that you all should know about me is that I am a complete romance novel fanatic!
I read and read and read all types of genres but the only genre that embraces my heart is romance. An assortment of romance. Romantic Comedy. Romantic Drama. Romantic Thriller. Historical Romance. A novel needs to encompass just a little bit of romance – perhaps starring one couple, or a short-lived relationship (equivalent to one chapter) – and I will be drawn to it like a key to a magnet.
Romantic novels are addictive. Alluring. Beautiful.
They’re a manifestation of my hidden hopes and dreams etched on flimsy paper.
But where did this love for romance novels come about? You may ask. Where else would it come from? This wonderful honour goes to none other than Nicholas Sparks.
The first time I came across a Nicholas Sparks novel was when I was in Sixth Form, casually browsing through YouTube and colliding with a recent trailer for the movie ‘The Last Song’. It looks good. I thought. Great, in fact. I loved the on-screen presence of Steve, and the chemistry between Ronnie and Will absorbed me in that 2+ minute trailer.
However, I was more interested in the ‘related’ tab that initiated with a trailer for ‘The Notebook’ on the top right hand corner of my computer screen. Now, you may call me ignorant but I’d never heard of ‘The Notebook’ prior to this particular day. So I watched it and became engrossed in the enchanting and stomach-flipping romance between Noah and Allie that carried the whole movie through effortlessly.
Following this, I purchased ‘The Notebook’ and then ‘The Last Song’ and then ‘A Walk to Remember’ and now, after reading 13 Nicholas Sparks novels, I am a die-hard, faithful and diligent reader of the romance genre. Starting with Nicholas Sparks of course.
But after 13 books in, I have to admit that I see a general pattern that takes precedence in the majority of his novels. These are hidden particularities that define a Nicholas Sparks novel and differentiate it from any other. There are quite a few but I wanted to highlight a handful that I have come across time and time again. Here they are – in no particular order:
- Undoubtedly, every Nicholas Sparks novel is assembled around two central characters that, inevitably, delve into the ocean of undying romance. Be it Noah and Allie, Katie and Alex or Theresa and Garrett; eventually, love materialises in a way that changes the course of each character’s path forever.
- In every Nicholas Sparks novel there is a certain hurdle that prevents the lead pair from conjoining in a relationship and it becomes the central basis for the unfolding of the plot. Be it parents, ex-partners, social status, distance or even death – a Nicholas Sparks novel has it all.
- Every Nicholas Sparks novel is sketched around a backdrop of the beautiful, serene and rich in culture southern state in the US – North Carolina. Whether it’s New Bern, Beaufort or Wilmington, Sparks ensures that the traditions, values and distinctness of North Carolina are exhibited through his writing.
- Every Nicholas Sparks novel is firmly entrenched on values – regarding family, friends, religion, patriotism and even morality. Each novel has a hidden value that remains a central theme in the story.
For instance, Jamie’s religious beliefs are extremely important in ‘A Walk to Remember’ as they – partly – stimulate the ‘walk’ that she takes in the end with Landon. And in ‘The Choice’, the value of life is a theme that plays a huge part in Travis’s decision regarding Gabby’s life. Whatever the storyline, there are certain values particular to each novel that help fuel the progress of the story.
- Finally, every single Nicholas Sparks novel has a bitter-sweet ending; an ending you want to rejoice in but at the same time you feel like crying at the tragedy of it all. For instance, the only difference between ‘The Last Song’, ‘Safe Haven’ and ‘The Guardian’ was in who died and how they died. In both ‘Safe Haven’ and ‘The Guardian’, death was vital in uniting the lead pair and, even though we didn’t really mind the death in the former novel, death in the latter broke us. And deaths in both ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Last Song’ left us in splinters at the misfortune caused, even though the lead pair in both novels re-united at the end.
There are so many other characteristics that would individuate a Nicholas Sparks novel from any other; such as Sparks’ ability to aesthetically transform food-making into an amorous ritual that its lead pair engrosses in together, or the fact that the romance between the two central characters in Sparks’ novels is always enthralling, captivating and has the ability to shake everything within the reader.
But for now, the 5 characteristics above are the only ones that I wish to focus on as these are the qualities that I have come across time and time again when reading a Nicholas Sparks novel.
In the near future, I do look forward to finish reading every single Nicholas Sparks novel that has been published till date. Perhaps, after that I can give you a more informed opinion on which is his best piece of writing. But that is something which extremely difficult to do when it comes to Nicholas Sparks.
Therefore, for now I’d just like to say that if you want a novel that is drenched in romance and portrays the actuality (in the realm of literature) of unconditional love, then go to your nearest bookstore or log onto Amazon and purchase any Nicholas Sparks novel that you find appealing.
And believe me, you will not be disappointed.
Till then, happy reading!