Review: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Wednesday, 25 March 2015
Title: The Longest Ride
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 12th March 2015
Pages: 464
ISBN: 9780751554496
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Ninety-one-year-old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his adored - and long-dead - wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together - how they met, the dark days of WWII and its unrelenting effect on their families.

A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko's life is about to change. Recovering from a break-up, she meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke is keeping a secret that could destroy it all.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples, separated by years and experience, whose lives are about to converge in the most unexpected - and shocking - of ways.

The Longest Ride is the first Nicholas Sparks novel that I have read, but I was happy to accept it as part of the Read It Before You See It blog tour now that the film is about to be released. Whilst I perhaps didn't enjoy it as much as his hardcore fans, I would definitely be interested in reading his previous books, some of which have been on my TBR for ages. The Longest Ride was just a 'nice' story for me. I did feel some emotion, but I expected more from this book.

Ira Levinson is struggling to remain conscious following a car crash, his long-dead wife Ruth appears, urging him to hang on by recounting the joys and sorrows of their life together. Meanwhile, Sophia Danko is recovering from a break-up when she meets Luke, somebody who has lived a very different life to her own privileged one, but he is keeping a secret that could destroy it all. Two couples' lives are about to converge in the most unexpected - and shocking - of ways.

I have to say that I loved the setting for this book, and the descriptions from Sparks throughout were fantastic and really helped me to picture the setting in my mind and was definitely a highlight of the book for me. I also love stories that are told separately like this before a connection is revealed. The connection here is nothing major, but I can definitely see how it would work on the big screen, and at times it did feel to me like the book had been written with the film in mind. The book has a very big focus on art (something that Sparks himself is interested in) and I loved how it was used to tell the story, and how there were messages to be taken from it. I very much enjoyed the little twist near the end of the book, despite the fact that it is essentially a copy of this story, it'll work great on the big screen.

I definitely enjoyed Ira and Ruth's story more than Sophia and Luke's. It really was a touching and beautiful relationship, and a joy to read about, and one that a lot of people dream about having themselves. There's so many messages of love to be taken from their relationship, with some wonderful quotes throughout from Ira. Sophia and Luke, whilst a nice enough couple, weren't all that different from others like them in this genre and Luke's secret wasn't the jaw-dropper that I expected it to be. That said I did enjoy them as a couple, and loved watching their relationship develop over the course of the novel. I can't wait to see The Longest Ride on the big screen, as not only was this my first Sparks novel it'll also be my first Sparks film (yes, really!) and in some ways, I think it might work better as a film. I imagine a lot of people will have read this book by now, but for those that haven't I definitely recommend picking it up.

3.5/5

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