Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Sphere (5 July 2012)
They were teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks – with a passion that would change their lives for ever. But life would force them apart.
Years later, the lines they had drawn between past and present are about to slip . . . Called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter when they needed it most, they are faced with each other once again, and forced to confront the paths they chose. Can true love ever rewrite the past?
The story opens with an introduction to bachelor Dawson Cole’s job on the oil rig and how dangerous it is. During an explosion that should have taken his life, he sees a figure directing him to safety. Since that time he often catches a glimpse of this enigmatic figure out of the corner of his eye. It is while on leave that he receives an invite to mentor Tuck’s funeral. The reader gains background information from Dawson as he reflects on his and Amanda’s relationship, which includes his law breaking cousins back home in Oriental. We also find out that Dawson spent four years in prison after a road traffic accident he was involved in which took a life. Amanda has been married for nearly 20 years and suffered tragedy and sorrow.
Amanda and Dawson meeting for the first time is really poignant. It is so well written the reader can feel the sadness and confusion. Narrated in the third person, while spending time with them we also spend time with Dawson’s cousins, Ted and Abee, who are out for revenge.
While Amanda is driving home, she finds out about a tragic accident. Meanwhile, Dawson is being led by the enigmatic figure to a place that will cause further tragedy. The climax when it comes takes the choice away from them.
All of the characters are easy to identify with. I enjoyed how the plot ties up – from the life taken accidentally in the road traffic accident to Tuck and his involvement through the letters he had left. The description of the time Amanda and Dawson spend at Tuck’s cottage in Vandemere tugs on the heart strings.
The Best of Me is more than a love story… it has spiritual elements as well. I have to be honest and say that I predicted everything that happened and I think this took the edge off my emotional involvement. It is a sad story and I can see how readers will need tissues at the ready!
I won my paperback copy via Tesco Books on Twitter.
You can visit Nicholas Sparks at his website where you’ll also find links to Twitter and Facebook.