When I was younger, Nicholas Sparks was my go-to author. Whenever I found out he had a new book coming out, it was on my shelf or in my hands within a couple days of the release. Now that I’m a little bit older and maybe a little bit wiser this is not necessarily still the case. Do I still get excited when I hear that a new Nicholas Sparks book is coming out? Yes, I do but it’s a different type of excited. I’m no longer necessarily dying to have a copy. I’ve found that I can wait until I am able to find the time to obtain a copy, and that I have to be in the right mindset to read his books. All of this being said, I could not help my excitement when I randomly stumbled upon an ARC giveaway by Grand Central Publishing of his newest book The Longest Ride.
For me, The Longest Ride was a bit different than a normal Nicholas Sparks book for me. Granted, it had relatively the same formula but, the whole feel of the novel was different for me. I still can’t really put my finger on it. It was enjoyable, and I liked it but I do have to admit that I spent some of the novel simply trying to figure it out. Luckily, it did all eventually come together, and the things that happened earlier in the book began to make more sense later on.
The Longest Ride switches between two different stories so it is told in three different points of view: Ira, Luke, and Sophie. Ira is an old man who is in a bit of trouble, and is reflecting on his life with his wife Ruth. In contrast, Luke is a young man who has lived his entire life as a cowboy and is struggling with some personal demons. Sophie is a college student in her final semester trying to figure out exactly what her next step in life should be after a bad breakup. On the surface, Sophie and Luke have little in common but after a chance meeting one night they find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. Just like a many years prior, Ira was drawn to his wife Ruth, and together they began the ultimate journey of the longest ride.
The build up of the growing relationship between Luke and Sophia provided a nice contrast to the one Ira was painting of remembering his life with his wife. Personally, I found Ira’s story to be more beautiful and more heartfelt but, I think that was the way that it was supposed to be. There were lessons in the importance of not taking things for granted, and of remembering the things that you always have held close. I also loved how his love for his wife was unwavering even though all the different things they experienced as a couple. Also, the way the two stories eventually became connected as one was perfect. Like I said before, all the questions I may have had through out the book were eventually answered which for me made the book even more enjoyable.
Admittedly I did get teary-eyed a couple of times while reading The Longest Ride. I’m not sure how he does it but Nicholas Sparks never fails to make me teary eyed at least once. I think it might be all the raw emotion that he tends to include in his books. Truthfully, the love story between Ira and Ruth is absolutely beautiful, and it’s not your typical “they lived happily ever after” type of romances either. Instead it’s more one of those grand love stories that you imagine would be passed down from generation to generation in a family as a model of true devotion and happiness. I think from my experience of working with the elderly population, I found myself really being able to connect with Ira, and what he was experiencing as he reflected on his life.
Overall, I enjoyed The Longest Ride. I liked the parallel connections of the two stories, and was completely captivated when their paths finally crossed. Trust me, it was at that point I had a hard time putting the book down until I found out exactly what had happened (and it was one in the morning). I would recommend this book to any Nicholas Sparks fan or to anyone looking for a bit of great romance and emotion that will definitely pull at your heart strings. Just … make sure you have a tissue before you start reading!
Disclosure: Received ARC from publisher
Other reviews of The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks:
KellyVision: “This is not your typical Nicholas Sparks novel…”
Lou Graham’s Blog: “Without question this is a really enjoyable book…”