Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
by James Patterson
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Many men, when stuck in a rut eliminate their gray hair and buy little red cars. Apparently, when best-selling authors need a change, they get in tune with their touchy-feely side. First David Baldacci did it with Wish You Well. Then John Grisham did it with A Painted House. Not to be eclipsed by his colleagues, James Patterson gives readers his most heartfelt novel to date.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas begins with an introduction to Katie Wilkerson. She works for a publishing house and lives in New York City. The love of her life is poet/house painter Matt Harrison. The couple is about to celebrate the publication of Matt's book and the beginning of their lives together.

At least, that's what Katie thought. She's stunned when Matt abruptly terminates the relationship and heads home for Cape Cod, taking several painful secrets with him. His explanation is contained in a personal diary that he gives Katie to read.

Matt's wife, Suzanne, is the author of the journal, which was originally written for the couple's son. Katie knows she has to read the diary to find an explanation for Matt's actions, but she must come to grips with what she's afraid she'll discover.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas moves back and forth between the past and present. Readers follow Katie as she reads, then follow the entries themselves.

Dear Nicholas, my little prince

As I write this very first entry, you are two weeks old. But I want to start by telling you about some things that happened before you were born. I want to start before the beginning, so to speak.

This is for your eyes only, Nick.
This is what happened to Nicholas, Suzanne and Matt.

Patterson is best known for his gritty police thrillers. However, he successfully creates a sweet little novel from a woman's point of view. Unfortunately, fans who love suspense, don't always love a weepy romance.

Count me in that group. I'm not a big fan of the romance novel, even those written by popular authors. Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is a short story and there's little time to discover the characters. One must assume they're likable because Patterson says so. In my opinion, they're a little too sweet, too perfect and too unbelievable.

Patterson provides a lot of heart-wrenching points in the story, though most readers can sense what is coming. I felt the plot was familiar and predictable, though romance readers will likely eat it up and ask for seconds.

What impresses me most is the author's ability to switch genre hats with ease. Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is reminiscent of a Nicholas Sparks love story. Readers who love this type of tale should immediately read this book. Die-hard Patterson fans should be cautioned of the abrupt switch in gears. It's my opinion that this syrupy two-hanky tale is best left to hopeless romantics.

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If you like this book, you might also like:
A Bend in the Road
by Nicholas Sparks
Other Patterson thrillers reviewed at
TheBookHaven.net:

Pop Goes the Weasel

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

The Midnight Club

1st to Die

2nd Chance