When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.
But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.
Safe Haven was classic Nicholas Sparks, slow (in a good way) pacing, relaxed, takes time to familiarize the reader with the unique characters, you know, the usual good stuff. I won't tell you the reason behind this particular feeling, because I don't like to give away spoilers, but the absolute claustrophobia and paranoia the main character was feeling throughout the book was probably what hit me the hardest. There were times when I really almost cried for this poor woman (but I'm not a crier with books and movies, if you are, this book WILL make you cry! Especially the ending.) Of course, the romantic interest, Alex, is wonderful, but in the most realistic way. He is multidimensional, and is taken further than the mere token widower/loving single father of many romance novels. Surprisingly, I didn't feel as if the romance was the main focus of the story, it sort of happened quite easily and early on. The real story is all about Katie's past. and how it comes full circle at the end. Speaking of the ending, there is a wonderfully sweet little surprise waiting for the reader. It could have been very cheesy, but instead was heartfelt and beautiful. I wont even give you a hint as to what the surprise is because I don't want to ruin it. I have only one aspect I didn't love, and that was a bit too much of the villain's angry inner monologue toward the end of the book. It was very repetitive, which was fine at first, because it highlighted his insane state of mind, but at some point it was just like okay, we get it, he's nuts, now move on! Other than that very tiny thing, I absolutely loved this book and give it a 2, Borders with a Coupon
Audiobook Review: This was a wonderful audiobook! I felt like the actress' performance was understated and powerful. Her accents were spot on and not distracting (which is tough to pull off for a Bostonian accent) and she gave each character their own distinct (but again not distracting) voice. I highly recommend this audiobok!
Do you agree with my review? Do you think I'm totally off base? Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!
***FTC Disclosure: This book was provided in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***
If you are interested in purchasing Safe Haven, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon links, thank you!