When author Nicholas Sparks sat down to write THE NOTEBOOK, a tender love story inspired by the enduring relationship of his wife Cathy's grandparents, he wanted his readers to walk away with a renewed spirit of hope.
"I'll never forget watching those two people flirt," he recalls. "I mean, you don't see that very often. They'd been married 67 years, and yet they still loved each other. I wanted to write a book about that kind of love. I wanted people to know that unconditional love does exist."
So Sparks created THE NOTEBOOK, the simple story of Noah Calhoun, a soft spoken North Carolina outdoorsman who carried his love for the willowy Allie Nelson with him long after their youthful romance had ended. He paralleled Noah's silent passions with Allie's haunting thoughts --- feelings she could not escape even after she became engaged to another man. He asked his readers to consider what it might mean if these relatively happy, middle-aged people found their destinies once again overlapped.
He presented a question all but universal in appeal: What would happen if two people were given a second chance at the love of a lifetime?
Sparks deftly answers that question. But it's the inspiration drawn from his real life grandparents that makes THE NOTEBOOK more than just a novel of flames reignited. The novel opens and closes with an elderly Noah Calhoun reading aloud from his personal journals and "notebooks." And as he shares the delicate details, the good with the bad, it's clear he is as enchanted with Allie in old age as he was on the day they met.
"And that's the legacy of THE NOTEBOOK," according to Nicholas Sparks. "When love is real, it doesn't matter what turns the road takes. When love is real, the joys and possibilities are endless."
Reviewed by Kelly Milner Halls on February 1, 2004