A Bend in the Road
by Nicholas Sparks
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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A Bend in the Road is a story of True Love.
Miles Ryan and his wife Missy were young sweethearts. Eventually, they married and settled in New Bern, North Carolina. Their union produced a beautiful boy named Jonah. Missy spent her days caring for her son while waiting for Miles to return home from his duty as a sheriff's deputy. The Ryans' were devoted to each other. They were truly blessed.

A Bend in the Road is a story of Tragedy.
Missy's young life was cut short in a hit-and-run accident. There were no witnesses and no answers for Miles, who was suddenly a widower with a young son.

Two years later, Miles has tried to move on, but reminders of Missy are everywhere. To keep her memories alive, Miles watches old home video tapes of their happiest times.

A Bend in the Road is a story of Hope.
Since his mother's death, Jonah has had difficulty with school. His former teachers just left him alone out of sympathy. Jonah's second grade teacher, Sarah Andrews, devotes her free time to helping him. In reality, she's helping Miles as well. For the first time since Missy's death, Miles has feelings for another woman: Miss Sarah Andrews.

A Bend in the Road is a story of Painful Memories.
Sarah once had the perfect marriage as well. She was married to a wealthy man who was more interested in her than his family's holdings. He was different. He was wonderful.

When it was discovered that Sarah couldn't bear children, she was heartbroken. She turned to her husband for comfort, but he rejected her. Soon, he asked for a divorce. Sarah reluctantly agreed and moved to New Bern for a fresh start.

A Bend in the Road is a story of New Beginnings.
Miles and Sarah find love in each other as they try to mend their broken hearts. Sarah's parents and Jonah are thrilled with this new union. Even the townsfolk can't help but notice the happiness. It is possible to love again.

A Bend in the Road is a story of a Shocking Secret.
This story is narrated by the person responsible for Missy's death. His identity is not given right away, but we read his words, his perspective on the accident, his guilt and pain. Readers soon realize that this person's horrifying secret has enough power to destroy the lives of Miles, Jonah and Sarah. The truth is devastating.

When you read a book by Nicholas Sparks, you are guaranteed a story of unconditional love that exists between two people. It is a bond that remains standing after the most tragic events. In this case, the love is between Miles and Missy. Readers are given a glance at the heart-warming couple. We get to meet sweet, withdrawn Jonah and his caring teacher.

As soon as we form a bond with these characters, Sparks reveals the sad details of Missy's accident. It's difficult not to become emotionally involved in the plot and suffer right along with the cast.

Sparks uses the first half of A Bend in the Road to form the relationship between Miles and Sarah. The latter portion of the book focuses on the narrator's story and Miles' anger and resentment over no arrest of a suspect.

The events of this novel are bound to cause an intense shift in readers' emotional gears. You must feel love, sadness, anger and frustration to fully experience the story. Just as soon as you perceive Miles as a caring wonderful man, the author changes his behavior. Now, you must feel disappointment in his actions. Sparks weaves a poignant tale, but it's emotionally draining.

As mentioned on the book jacket, the relationship between Miles and Sarah is threatened by a devastating secret. Sparks intends for readers to solve the mystery early on in the book. If you know the identity of the hit-and-run suspect, you can watch with amazement as the story unfolds. If you don't pick up on the clues, you'll be stunned when the answer is revealed. Either way, you'll be surprised at the climax.

The conclusion of A Bend in the Road is somewhat open-ended. Readers see Miles' choice, but they must provide their own reasons for his decision. Fans of Sparks' work may notice similarities between this book and his past efforts. Incredible love, loss of love, death and mourning are present in earlier titles as well. The formula works, however. Books by Nicholas Sparks have been translated in dozens of languages. No doubt A Bend in the Road will be cherished as well.

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Books by
Nicholas Sparks:

The Notebook

Message in a Bottle

A Walk to Remember

The Rescue

A Bend in the Road

Nights in Rodanthe

The Guardian

The Wedding

At First Sight
The Christmas Train
by David Baldacci