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My Candle Will Burn for You Forever

By Nicole Fuscia | Books | April 1, 2010 | Comments ()

By Nicole Fuscia | Books | April 1, 2010 |


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There are love stories, and then there are love stories. Nicholas Sparks has made the telling of love stories an art form, and with A Bend in the Road he takes this to a whole new level. The tale of Miles Ryan and Sarah Andrews is rooted in tragedy but is also one of redemption, hope, new beginnings, and quiet, steadfast passion.

Two years before Miles and Sarah meet, Miles' wife Missy Ryan is killed by a hit-and-run driver; there are no leads, no evidence, just a hole left in the fabric of the lives of Miles and his son Jonah. Miles goes about his daily life, working as a sheriff's deputy in the small North Carolina town of New Bern, paying bills, seeing Jonah off to school, mowing the lawn, and trying to fill the emptiness left by Missy's death. Missy and Miles were high school sweethearts, you see, and their love was something magical. All Miles can do is try to cope with each day.

Sarah Andrews has come to New Bern for a fresh start after her divorce, leaving behind her life in Baltimore and the painful memories of her marriage. She rents a quaint apartment, takes a challenging and rewarding new position as a second grad teacher at the local school, and settles into small town life. By an act of fate, one of her new pupils is Jonah Ryan. When it becomes clear that Jonah needs serious help in his schooling -- it seems that his previous teachers have let him slide because they feel sorry for this poor, lonely child who lost his mother so tragically -- she arranges a conference with Miles to discuss Jonah's progress and her plans for him. What neither Miles nor Sarah anticipate is the path that fate has chosen for them.

At their first meeting, there is an instant spark between Miles and Sarah. At first they try to ignore it, but it's no use. There can be no denying that destiny has brought these two together, and they quickly develop a relationship that blossoms into a passionate yet tender love affair. On the first night that they make love, Sarah and Miles admit their love for each other and become inseparable. Miles realizes shortly thereafter that Sarah is the woman he wants to spend his life with, and that the flame in his heart burns bright and hot for her. While she can never replace Missy and the love that the two shared, Sarah has brought Miles back to life, and he has done the same for her.

There is just one thing standing in the way of the pair's happiness, and that is the unsolved case of Missy's death. When a new lead emerges, Miles once again immerses himself in the facts, questions, and speculation that has haunted him for over two years. His unyielding quest for the truth and the unexpected answer threaten to shatter the deep bond forged between Miles and Sarah just when the love between these two soulmates -- there is no other word for it -- has blossomed, the reader is left wondering breathlessly if their love can survive.

I could not put this book down. The beauty of the language and the emotional descriptions of the tenderness, desire, warmth, and passion that Sparks brings to life on the page made my heart ache for my own boyfriend, who lives across the country. It made me long for him, just one kiss, one embrace. Sparks' ability to blend a meaningful tale of love with the reality of loss and redemption is masterful. The undercurrent of Miles' quest for the truth is interwoven seamlessly with the overarching narrative of his growing, deepening love for Sarah as they both learn to open their hearts and take a chance on each other.

A Bend in the Road is a love story for the ages, timeless and poignant. I'm torn between hoping that this lovely novel will be transferred to film so that I can share it with everyone and wishing that it won't so that I can keep Miles and Sarah to myself, with their magical romance burning like a candle in my own heart.


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