Nicholas Sparks: Safe Haven
Romance novels have often been
associated with sappiness and over-the-top displays of affection. Nicholas Sparks’
novels might feature a little bit of that, but with additional depth added to
it. Safe Haven is a fairytale for
adults; it’s a little getaway to a universe where true love conquers all.
On the run from a past that
she prefers to keep vague, Katie finds herself with very little money to get by.
Surrounded by mystery and fear, she flees to Southport, North Carolina where she keeps to herself, but eventually, she lets her guard
down, and reluctantly develops relationships with the people around her. She
falls in love with widowed Alex and his two kids, and befriends her eccentric neighbour
Jo. When her past comes back to haunt her, Katie questions her own self-worth,
her ability to recover and the possibility of maintaining relationships with
the people that she loves without hurting them.
As the story unfolds, the
reader understands that Katie was the victim of abuse by her husband. She tries
to be as inconspicuous as possible, yet her need for human companionship
overpowers her fear. The twist is exposed early on in the novel, adding up to a
weak climax and making the rest of the novel predictable. With a bruised body
and a bruised ego, Katie reassembles the ruins of her life until her husband
Aside from its predictability,
Safe Haven has a seamless narrative.
However, the characters feel like actors that smile all the time until the
muscles of their jaws ache. Although the plotline is simple and easy to follow,
the characters lack realism and are too perfect to be a part of today’s world.
What makes Safe Haven a good read is the fairytale love
aspect; it’s healthy to escape reality every once in a while and reside in fantasy,
and Safe Haven offers just that with
an inspiring element as well. As the story develops and Katie falls in love
with Alex, she learns to love herself again.
Unlike other Sparks novels, Safe Haven doesn’t have a heartbreaking
ending. A short walk into the world of the supernatural wras up
the novel unexpectedly, but that doesn’t make up for the clichés in the storyline.
Safe Haven is a good novel by Sparks,
but if you’re familiar with all his other work, you may feel a little let down.