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The Wish


The Wish

True to form, Nicholas Sparks' latest novel, THE WISH, covers the gamut of emotions from love to loss and will have readers crying gently into a tissue before the end.

Maggie Dawes is a noted photographer who is dying from melanoma. So from the very start, Sparks is upfront that his protagonist will probably pass away by the story’s conclusion. But that doesn't mean there aren’t any surprises in store for us. We find out how Maggie ended up where she is --- the manager of an art gallery in New York City, unmarried, a successful photographer who has traveled the world taking fabulous images for countless publications.

The device through which we learn about Maggie’s past is a young man named Mark, who shows up with a resume just as she is considering hiring help for the gallery. Her one employee, Luanne, a wealthy woman who has become a friend, will not be able to juggle all the work now that Maggie is ill. Mark admits that he has watched Maggie's YouTube videos about her cancer and the updates she posts, which have drawn many more fans than she previously had as a photographer.

"True to form, Nicholas Sparks' latest novel, THE WISH, covers the gamut of emotions from love to loss and will have readers crying gently into a tissue before the end."

While Maggie senses that something is a bit off about Mark, Luanne is enthusiastic, so they hire him. As they work together, she grows to trust him. When Luanne goes away over Christmas, Maggie and Mark spend time with each other, and she begins to tell him the story of her life. He is enthralled, and over the course of a few weeks, she reveals how she fell in love and what happened to her.

Of course, being the master of the twist --- twist to the heart, that is --- Sparks creates threads that connect the characters in ways we hadn't expected. He also excels at describing different kinds of families. A seemingly perfect family can bear flaws that, while not fatal, preclude them from being a loving and close unit. Art imitates life, and part of Sparks' success is his ability to introduce us to people who are flawed. While they may have their problems, including being narrow-minded, selfish or prone to jealousy, he softens the lens to show that they are doing the best they can.

We wonder about those who go through life seemingly without a care in the world. Is it because they are truly so lacking in empathy that they cannot understand the feelings or aspirations of others? Is it because they were stunted emotionally when they were young? Is that even an excuse? Yet we all know, and Sparks includes in his cast of characters, people who go through life complaining about things that objectively add up to nothing.

Sparks also emphasizes that loving deeply ultimately brings grief. At some point, we lose the ones we love, or they lose us. As a child, my husband calculated the age at which he, his sister and his parents could all die of old age at the same time --- because we don't want to be left behind when our loved ones die, nor do we want them to be the ones grieving when we go. But death is part of life, and life must continue even after the most heartbreaking of losses. THE WISH, like so many of Sparks' beautiful stories, makes that sad reality abundantly clear. So keep those tissues handy.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on September 30, 2021

The Wish
by Nicholas Sparks

  • Publication Date: August 2, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538728605
  • ISBN-13: 9781538728604