Monday, October 5, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Notebook

If you liked The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
On assignment shooting the covered bridges in Iowa, 52-year-old photographer Robert Kincaid falls in love with Francesca Johnson, a married Iowan woman, during four days of love, magic, and beauty. Like Sparks, Waller tends to focus more on his male lead than the female love interest in this bittersweet tale of lingering memories.

Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
Five women, working together to create a church cookbook, share their passions, loves, and losses. As these women share recipes and a love of the Lord, they make a friendship cake to last till the end of their lives. This sincere novel features a North Carolina setting, emphasis on Christian faith and values, and 17 southern-style recipes.

The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans
Having followed her new husband to his native home in rustic Tuscany, Ellana discovers his chauvinism and philandering. She distracts herself from her marital disappointments by caring for her asthmatic son. She reevaluates her life when she meets American art lover Ross Story. This sweetly sappy story delivers love, heartbreak, and a nearly missed opportunity.

The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt
In 1944, Caroline Thomas awaits the birth of her child while her husband serves in the Pacific; 50 years later, their son Neil tells their story to a reporter, with whom he falls in love. Through his parents’ legacy, Neil learns about faith and true love. Vivid descriptions and intertwined narratives add depth to this touching novel.

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
This is “a love story steeped in strength and tenderness, and cast with the most vivid, touching and believable characters,” says Nicholas Sparks. Two years after losing her husband of 25 years, Lisey looks back at the sometimes frightening intimacy that marked their marriage and her husband’s secretive nature that established Lisey's supernatural belief systems.

Love Story by Erich Segal
This is the timeless story about the love and marriage of rich Harvard ice hockey player Oliver Barrett IV and poor Radcliffe music student Jenny Calliveri. In addition to their class differences, the couple must deal with Jenny’s leukemia. Read this with a tissue box nearby. Also try Segal’s Only Love.

Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
Returning to her family’s cottage after the death of her husband, Lily takes comfort in carrying on detailed conversations with the spirit she believes is in residence. Revisiting the happy times of her marriage and their unconventional courtship also propels Lily further down memory lane. This is an evocative novel about love and loss, complete with a coastal setting and dramatic surprise ending.

A Song I Knew by Heart by Bret Lott
Naomi has lived with her son and his wife Ruth since the death of her husband. When her son is killed in an accident, Naomi and Ruth begin a painful journey of reconciliation and forgiveness. Lott’s rhythmic phrasing echoes the source of his inspiration—the Book of Ruth—and paints a tender portrait of the grieving process.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
Kate Wilkerson has found her perfect man at last. Then he disappears without explanation, leaving behind only a diary for her to read. The diary is written by a new mother for her baby son, Nicholas. Kate attempts to make sense of what she finds in Suzanne’s diary in this bittersweet story about different types of love and loss. Also try Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Raised by a mother who's had five husbands, 18-year-old Remy believes in no-commitment, short-term relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician. This Young Adult novel is about coming to terms with the fact that loving someone requires a leap of faith and that a soft landing is never guaranteed. It should appeal to fans of Sparks’ more recent books about teenagers.

Also by Nicholas Sparks:

A Bend in the Road
Devastated by the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident, Miles, deputy sheriff of New Bern, NC, discovers new meaning in his life when he meets Sarah Andrews, a woman struggling to rebuild her own life. However, their new relationship is tested when Miles receives a tip about his wife’s death. This novel has a touch of mystery and darker themes than most of Sparks’ work.

The Wedding
In this quasi-sequel to The Notebook, Wilson Lewis has been married to Noah and Allie’s daughter for 30 years. With the preparations for their own daughter's wedding serving as a catalyst, Wilson realizes that the spark has left his relationship with his wife, and he sets out to make his wife fall in love with him again.

Three Weeks with My Brother (with Micah Sparks)
In a memoir written with his brother, Sparks describes how the two of them dealt with their grief over the untimely deaths of their parents and only sister by embarking on a three-week odyssey around the world. Part biography and part spiritual travelogue, this a beautiful story about holding onto faith and family when faced with tragedy.

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