- Title: The Longest Ride
- Author: Nicholas Sparks
- Publisher: Sphere
- Publication Year: 2014
- Pages: 451
- Purchase: UK | US
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 World War II and it’s unrelenting effects on their families.
A few miles away, college student Sophia Danko’s life is about to change when she meets the young, rugged Luke Collins and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a tantalising future for herself, but Luke is keeping a secret that could destroy it all.
Nicholas Sparks has always been one of my auto-buy authors. His love stories are far from cliché and I adore the characters he brings to life. In The Longest Ride, I was again entertained by a love story, surprisingly not one this time, but two. The development of each love story was a delight to read and whenever there was a shift from one story to the other, I could not help but anticipate the fates of each. It almost felt like I was enjoying two love stories in my mind at once, unable to decide on which one to tune to!
The story of Ruth and Ira could bring one to tears, especially after following the many challenges they had to face in their marriage. While most of the time it was Ira who was sharing their story, I found great strength in Ruth’s character, who undeniably was the more dominant one in their relationship. I love how reserved and adorable they both are, thankful for Sparks’ wonderful writing in capturing “love during the olden days”, which we in today’s generation may or may not ever have the chance to experience.
Sophia and Luke’s story was young yet mature. I love their conversations, laughter and adventures. Despite the intense emotions shown in overcoming challenges and loving each other, I found myself drawn to Luke’s mother, Linda, my favourite character in the book. Her strength and sacrifices amazes me, a perfect representation and celebration of amazing mothers and the stability they provide to every family.
Despite delivering two beautifully crafted stories, I did feel the two lacked connectivity which at first was a major downside for me but as I progressed towards the end of the book, the connection certainly made more sense. Moreover, I love stories which not only entertain, but teach me new things as well. Sparks’ careful research on art was clearly shown throughout the book and I enjoyed every angle he used to focus on talented artists and art colleges, and their importance in society.
Overall, this was certainly another enjoyable read by Sparks. Though it was not my favourite of his works, it definitely is one of his many I will always remember.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★