This is my kind of story! And the coolest thing was the fact that even though this book is not officially "Christian" fiction, it had a strong faith message and I was thoroughly impressed with how strong it was and how the author incorporated it so seamlessly. Apparently when you've sold more than 50 Million + books like Nicholas Sparks has, you can write about faith and the Bible and it doesn't get edited out.
I loved everything about this book and the focus on Ronnie's father's favorite verse; Galations 5:22. You have to look it up to find out what it says. I loved how it was used as a core theme in this story. There were some cool twists in this story that melted my heart when the truth regarding certain situations hit the fan. I cried a bunch toward the end, but considering the author's style of writing tear-jerker novels, I wasn't surprised.
I have to say the ending was very inspiring even though it had its sad moments, because there was still joy at the end. It made me think about how sometimes things need to be left in God's hands and allowed to run their course instead of fighting things to get our way all the time (even in prayer.) There is a great purpose we don't understand, but Mr. Sparks nailed it by showing that in the story and writing a heartfelt, beautiful message about how love really can - and does - change people if we allow it.
The romance in this story was delectable, heart-pounding, and sweet. Will and Ronnie's relationship was so precious and believable in the way the author presented everything. Their relationship was developed in such a way as to show how love can happen with a great hero, and it doesn't have to be just because he is drawn to a girl's pretty face. I totally adored the younger brother. He was so cute and personable and a fantastic secondary character.
I could go on and on but I don't want to post any spoilers. Let me just say if this book had been published this year (or if I'd read it the year it released) it would have made my favorites list for sure. In fact, I loved this book so much I bought the DVD. Now to go pop it in the player and compare...