READALONG: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, every day. You and me… every day.”

Nicholas Sparks‘ first novel, originally published in 1996, The Notebook tells a story in an old notebook, which is read to an elderly woman by a sad stranger. It is the story of Noah and Allie, who fell in love but were kept apart for many years. When Allie shows up on his doorstep, exactly as he has held her in his memory for all these years, Noah has one last chance to win her back. Only this time, it’s not just her parents in the way – Allie is engaged and she’s not a woman to go back on her promises. But she cannot stop thinking about the boy who stole her heart years ago. And so begins an extraordinary tale of a love so strong it turns tragedy into strength and endures everything . . .

Rating:

Thank you to Tandem Collective for inviting me to join in the readalong for this book to celebrate the its 25th anniversary, and for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Beautifully tender and powerfully heart-breaking, The Notebook is a timeless and emotional story about a love so pure that it’s hard not to be captured by the magic of Allie and Noah’s relationship.

I have watched the film [many times] before reading the book and it is one of my favourites. But I have always put off reading a Nicholas Sparks book because I’m not one for reading corny romances. But when Tandem Collective invited me to join their readalong, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to finally experience one of his books.

Romantic fiction isn’t for everyone, of course, and there’s a lot about romantic stories that I can find cringey or predictable which often puts me off. But the romance between Noah and Allie is so deep that I couldn’t help but be drawn into their beautiful connection. Now, it’s one of my favourite books.

There was a single “stirring in his loins” comment that made me laugh. But other than that, I didn’t think the book was too sappy at all. Instead, it follows that “what if” moment we’ve all probably considered at one point. Whether it’s a regret of “what if I took that path” or the comfort of something good coming from doing things differently, it’s impossible not to look back at our lives and wonder either way.

And even though Noah and Allie seemingly get their happy ending, there’s so much more to the story. I had tears in my eyes for the whole second half of the book, as Sparks explores the highs of making memories in the prime of our youth but also the lows of losing them towards the end.

For me, The Notebook is the perfect story, showing the best and worst that life has to offer and how finding [and keeping] the one can make everything else feel okay. It will now remain a permanent fixture on my bookshelf and I already can’t wait to reread it one day.

Details:

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Original Print Date: 7th April 2011
Print Length: 272 pages
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Synopsis:

Once again, just as I do every day, I begin to read the notebook aloud…

Noah Calhoun has returned from war and, in an attempt to escape the ghosts of battle, he sets his mind and his body to restoring an old plantation home to its former beauty.

But he is haunted by memories of the beautiful girl he met there years before. A girl who stole his heart at the funfair, whose parents didn’t approve, a girl he wrote to every day for a year.

When Allie Hamilton shows up on his doorstep, exactly as he has held her in his memory for all these years, Noah has one last chance to win her back. Only this time, it’s not just her parents in the way – Allie is engaged and she’s not a woman to go back on her promises.

The Notebook is the love story to end all love stories – it will break your heart, heal it back up and break it all over again.

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