The movie version is currently showing in local cinemas now. I have never missed a Nicholas Sparks’s movie adaptation but I will probably give this movie a miss and the reason is the cliché storyline that had been told so often, either in other books or dramas.
My idea of a good romance book is either a brilliant story line, beautiful proses, having a protagonist that is likeable, or a scene that is so touching my heart skips a beat reading it. Unfortunately, all was lacking in this book.
Katie, or rather Erin, is a victim of an abusive marriage and she runs off from her police detective husband Kevin to Southport. There, she meets Alex, owner of a provisional store and his two young children. She also meets Jo, her elusive neighbor who becomes her first friend at Southport.
Although wary about forming any relationship with these people because of her fugitive lifestyle, she gradually grew close to Jo and Alex to confide in them her background. She falls in love with Alex until Kevin, in constant pursuit of her, locates her at Southport and tries to kill her.
The story is simply told from the point of view of Katie, Alex and Kevin. Thus, the readers know exactly what is going through the minds of these people, leaving no mystery or suspense.
The story is even more predictable (at least to me) when the kids were made used of by the author to bring Katie and Alex together. The scene where Alex was discussing about having a picnic at the beach with the kids – any romance reader would have guessed that Alex’s 5-year-old daughter would be the one to invite Katie to join them.
Some parts of the story line were also quite unbelievable. To think that Kevin, even as a good detective, would have made the connection that his wife, Erin, stole the identity of their neighbor’s dead daughter, Katie, to escape in his drunken stupor seems rather unbelievable. Also, how can a Bible spouting man, who judges people by Bible verses, and who was actually remourseful about having sex outside marriage, even think about killing his wife and her lover?
I don’t know how the US social security number works, but how did Katie, who is supposed to be dead, managed to get a driving license? If her death is not in the police system, how did the police trace her new driving license to Southport?
There is nothing particularly likeable about Katie or Alex, except that she is described as very pretty. Alex did not display any attractive traits other than being a loving father.
There are too many conveniences in the book. Katie’s parents are dead and she has no family. Alex’s parents and his in-laws live out of state. This may perhaps be true in many cases in US but if Alex’s father-in-law left the shop to him, wouldn’t they want to be around to support their widow son-in-law and grandchildren after the daughter died? This perhaps give an idea of the different family culture between Westerners and Asians.
There is a twist at the end of the story though, but the twist is not enough to save the book. To be fair, I shall not reveal the spoiler but leave the readers to make their own conclusion on the book.