The first of the #SixtyBooks I read for 2016 was See Me by Nicholas Sparks. After finishing this book, I realized that I’ve been reading Sparks’ books for nearly twenty years — twenty years! Two decades! (Where has the time gone?)
The first was The Notebook, and I can remember reading it on a warm afternoon out in my parents’ backyard, gently swinging on a hammock, and just falling in love with the story (which I wrote a little about here). I remember crying as I read and talking about that book to anyone who would listen.
In See Me, Sparks brings us back to that familiar and remarkable moment just before two people, perfect for one another, are about to meet for the first time. We meet these characters, Maria and Colin, just before they are about to change each other’s lives forever. This story of two people falling in love and the complications that ensue is one that keeps us on the edge of our seats, constantly wondering what is going to happen next.
Those of us who’ve read Sparks’ other books know that the stories can sometimes be pretty suspenseful, with lots of twists and turns, and they don’t always end happily. Throughout See Me, we experience many ups and downs with Maria and Colin.We learn about their their flaws. We learn about their very different backgrounds and their complicated pasts. We worry about what is going to happen to them.
In contrast, the secondary characters in this novel, are a lot of fun, offsetting the otherwise pretty serious nature of the storyline. And though there are some very tense moments in the story when we aren’t quite sure what kind of terrible things are about to happen, we somehow still feel safe through it all, wrapped up in the signature warmth of Sparks’ storytelling.
Book synopsis from the authors’ website:
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.
Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success: with a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her home town and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.
A chance encounter on a rainswept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.
As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?
Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, See Me reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize.