Safe Haven tells the story of Katie, a young woman around her mid-twenties, who appears out of the sudden in Southport, a small town in North Carolina. She’s trying to build a new life in this town where everyone knows each other, works as a waitress at a local diner called Ivan’s and isolates herself from all the people living in Southport. She does her weekly grocery shopping at Alex’ store, a widower with two kids, Kristen and Josh. While Alex shows an interest for Katie, she still denies any social contact with anyone, even with her new neighbor Jo. But after a while, Katie puts her guard down and gets attached to Alex, and starts a friendship with Jo, who might not be who she pretends she is…
‘In order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again.’
But nothing is what is seems. Katie’s ‘secret’ is still haunting her, and she can’t fight shy of telling Alex about her dark past with her husband Kevin, who abused her physically. Kevin is trying to locate Katie after she ran away from him, and things get steamy when he founds whereabouts she’s staying. How is Alex going to react to this, and which path is Katie going to choose: the safe or the riskier path?
Nicholas Sparks, born in Nebraska, is the author of the bestsellers such as The Notebook (1996) and A Walk To Remember (1999) and is one of one of the most popular American authors of this decade. He is well known for his romantic novels, somehow Safe Haven is different from his other books. It’s less ‘cheesy’ and more like a romantic suspense, especially because of all the traumatic instances in the book, which you wouldn’t expect in the first place.
Sparks tries to outline our daily lifes and connects you with the characters in the book (except for Kevin, ofcourse. The only thing I could feel towards him was HATE.) You can really see them change through the story, especially Katie, of course. It’s like she turns into a complete other person, not only because she stops isolating herself from everything and everyone, but mostly because she tries to stand up for herself.
Nicholas’ writing style is simple and most of the time poetic (like in every Nicholas Spark novel), but different to get used to. He writes very detailed and the story is full of metaphors. Throughout the story, you can feel the pain of an abusive husband, because of those detailed descriptions of the mental and physical pain.
But like every other book, Safe Haven also has its imperfections. The ending of the book was very predictable in my eyes, but this didn’t ruin the story though. It’s still a good novel overall, and it shows you how life can bring two people together, in mysterious ways.
Nevertheless, it’s a page turner, and makes your heart race during some parts. The simplicity, the complexity of the characters and the mutual relationships are the things we’re used to with Nicholas Sparks.
– Julide Boyraz