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From one of America's most beloved-and bestselling-storytellers, here is a novel about a man and a woman trying to find courage to make the biggest commitment of all...to love someone forever.
Why had this happened? Why, of all the children, was Kyle the one?
Back in the car after stopping for gas, Denise hit the highway again, staying ahead of the storm. For the next twenty minutes rain fell steadily but not ominously, and she watched the wipers push the water back and forth while she made her way back to Edenton, North Carolina. Her Diet Coke sat between the emergency brake and the driver's seat, and though she knew it wasn't good for her, she finished the last of it and immediately wished she'd bought another. The extra caffeine, she hoped, would keep her alert and focused on the drive, instead of on Kyle. But Kyle was always there.
Kyle. What could she say? He'd once been part of her, she'd heard his heart beating at twelve weeks, she'd felt his movements within her the last five months of her pregnancy. After his birth, while still in the delivery room, she took one look at him and couldn't believe there was anything more beautiful in the world. That feeling hadn't changed, although she wasn't in any way a perfect mother. These days she simply did the best job she could, accepting the good with the bad, looking for joys in the little things. With Kyle, they were sometimes hard to find.
She'd done her best to be patient with him over the last four years, but it hadn't always been easy. Once, while he was still a toddler, she'd momentarily placed her hand over his mouth to quiet him, but he'd been screaming for over five hours after staying awake all night, and tired parents everywhere might find this a forgivable offense. Afterthat, though, she'd done her best to keep her emotions in check. When she felt her frustration rising, she slowly counted to ten before doing anything; when that didn't work, she left the room to collect herself. Usually it helped, but this was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because she knew that patience was necessary to help him; it was a curse because it made her question her own abilities as a parent.
Kyle had been born four years to the day after her mother had died of a brain aneurysm, and though not usually given to believing in signs, Denise could hardly regard that as a coincidence. Kyle, she felt sure, was a gift from God. Kyle, she knew, had been sent to replace her family. Other than him, she was alone in the world. Her father had died when she was four, she had no siblings, her grandparents on both sides had passed away. Kyle immediately became the sole recipient of the love she had to offer. But fate is strange, fate is unpredictable. Though she showered Kyle with attention, it somehow hadn't been enough. Now she led a life she hadn't anticipated, a life where Kyle's daily progression was carefully logged in a notebook. Now she led a life completely dedicated to her son. Kyle, of course, didn't complain about the things they did every day. Kyle, unlike other children, never complained about anything. She glanced in the rearview mirror.
"What are you thinking about, sweetie?"
Kyle was watching the rain as it blew against the windows, his head turned sideways. His blanket was in his lap. He hadn't said anything since he'd been in the car, and he turned at the sound of her voice.
She waited for his response. But there was nothing.
Denise Holton lived in a house that had once been owned by her grandparents. After their deaths it had become her mother's, then eventually it had passed on to her. It wasn't much—a small ramshackle building set on three acres, built in the 1920s. The two bedrooms and the living room weren't too bad, but the kitchen was in dire need of modern appliances and the bathroom didn't have a shower. At both the front and back of the house the porches were sagging, and without the portable fan she sometimes felt as if she would bake to death, but because she could live there rent-free, it was exactly what she needed. It had been her home for the past three months.
Staying in Atlanta, the place she'd grown up, would have been impossible. Once Kyle was born, she'd used the money her mother had left her to stay at home with him. At the time, she considered it a temporary leave of absence. Once he was a little older, she had planned to go back to teaching. The money, she knew, would run out eventually, and she had to earn a living. Besides, teaching was something she'd loved. She'd missed her students and fellow teachers after her first week away. Now, years later, she was still at home with Kyle and the world of teaching in a school was nothing but a vague and distant memory, something more akin to a dream than a reality. She couldn't remember a single lesson plan or the names of the students she had taught. If she didn't know better, she would have sworn that she'd never done it at all.
Youth offers the promise of happiness, but life offers the realities of grief. Her father, her mother, her grandparents—all gone before she turned twenty-one. At that point in her life she'd been to five different funeral homes yet legally couldn't enter a bar to wash the sorrow away. She'd suffered more than her fair share of challenges, but God, it seemed, couldn't stop at just that. Like Job's struggles, hers continued to go on. "Middle-class lifestyle?" Not anymore. "Friends you've grown up with?" You must leave them behind. "A job to enjoy?" It is too much to ask. And Kyle, the sweet, wonderful boy for whom all this was done—in many ways he was still a mystery to her.
Instead of teaching she worked the evening shift at a diner called Eights, a busy hangout on the outskirts of Edenton. The owner there, Ray Toler, was a sixty-something black man who'd run the place for thirty years. He and his wife had raised six kids, all of whom went to college. Copies of their diplomas hung along the back wall, and everyone who ate there knew about them. Ray made sure of that. He also liked to talk about Denise. She was the only one, he liked to say, who'd ever handed him a résumé when interviewing for the job.
Ray was a man who understood poverty, a man who understood kindness, a man who understood how hard it was for single mothers. "In the back of the building, there's a small room," he'd said when he hired her. "You can bring your son with you, as long as he doesn't get in the way." Tears formed in her eyes when he showed it to her. There were two cots, a night-light, a place where Kyle would be safe. The next evening Kyle went to bed in that small room as soon as she started on her shift; hours later she loaded him in the car and took him back home. Since then that routine hadn't changed.
She worked four nights a week, five hours a shift, earning barely enough to get by. She'd sold her Honda for an old but reliable Datsun two years ago, pocketing the difference. That money, along with everything else from her mother, had long since been spent. She'd become a master of budgeting, a master of cutting corners. She hadn't bought new clothes for herself since the Christmas before last; though her furniture was decent, they were remnants from another life. She didn't subscribe to magazines, she didn't have cable television, her stereo was an old boom box from college. The last movie she'd seen on the silver screen was Schindler's List. She seldom made long-distance phone calls to her friends. She had $238 in the bank. Her car was nineteen years old, with enough miles on the engine to have circled the world five times.
None of those things mattered, though. Only Kyle was important.
But never once had he told her that he loved her.
On those evenings she didn't work at the diner, Denise usually sat in the rocking chair on the porch out back, a book across her lap. She enjoyed reading outside, where the rise and fall of chirping crickets was somehow soothing in its monotony. Her home was surrounded by oak and cypress and mockernut hickory trees, all draped heavily in Spanish moss. Sometimes, when the moonlight slanted through them just right, shadows that looked like exotic animals splashed across the gravel walkway.
In Atlanta she used to read for pleasure. Her tastes ran the gamut from Steinbeck and Hemingway to Grisham and King. Though those types of books were available at the local library, she never checked them out anymore. Instead she used the computers near the reading room, which had free access to the Internet. She searched through clinical studies sponsored by major universities, printing the documents whenever she found something relevant. The files she kept had grown to nearly three inches wide.
On the floor beside her chair she had an assortment of psychological textbooks as well. Expensive, they'd made serious dents in her budget. Yet the hope was always there, and after ordering them, she waited anxiously for them to arrive. This time, she liked to think, she would find something that helped.
Once they came, she would sit for hours, studying the information. With the lamp a steady blaze behind her, she perused the information, things she'd usually read before. Still, she didn't rush. Occasionally she took notes, other times she simply folded the page and highlighted the information. An hour would pass, maybe two, before she'd finally close the book, finished for the night. She'd stand, shaking the stiffness from her joints. After bringing the books to her small desk in the living room, she would check on Kyle, then head back outside.
The gravel walkway led to a path through the trees, eventually to a broken fence that lined her property. She and Kyle would wander that way during the day, she walked it alone at night. Strange noises would filter from everywhere: from above came the screech of an owl; over there, a rustle through the underbrush; off to the side, a skitter along a branch. Coastal breezes moved the leaves, a sound similar to that of the ocean; moonlight drifted in and out. But the path was straight, she knew it well. Past the fence, the forest pressed in around her. More sounds, less light, but still she moved forward. Eventually the darkness became almost stifling. By then she could hear the water; the Chowan River was close. Another grove of trees, a quick turn to the right, and all of a sudden it was as if the world had unfolded itself before her. The river, wide and slow moving, was finally visible. Powerful, eternal, as black as time. She would cross her arms and gaze at it, taking it in, letting the calm it inspired wash over her. She would stay a few minutes, seldom longer, since Kyle was still in the house.
Then she'd sigh and turn from the river, knowing it was time to go.
2. In the beginning of the novel, Denise has given up nearly everything in her life to take care of her son. Is this realistic? Would this have been more or less likely in the past? Does she work with Kyle simply because she loves him or are there other forces involved? How does the fact that Kyle was the result of a one-night-stand affect her reasoning?
3. Because of his past, Taylor is unwilling to commit to another. At the end of the novel, however, he does just that. What role do past events play in other areas of Taylor's life? How does it affect his relationship with Kyle? With Mitch? With Melissa? Can people really change that suddenly? Why or why not?
4. How does Judy, Taylor's mother, see Denise? Likewise, how does Ray see Denise? Do these two take the role of Denise's parents? Why were their characters necessary to the story?
5. Think about the memories that Taylor has of his father. What is Taylor's vision of the kind of man his father was?
6. Mitch and Melissa play crucial roles in the novel. How does their relationship affect the way Taylor and Denise feel about each other? About Kyle?
7. Were you at all surprised when Denise broke it off with Taylor after he didn't show up for Kyle's birthday? What does this say about Denise?
8. Mitch's death was instrumental in forcing Taylor to come to grips with his past. Is there anything else that could have forced Taylor to do so?
9. Toward the end of the novel, Judy tells Taylor that she doesn't feel she was a good mother in the past. Was she right? How does that affect the way she treats him now? Had she always felt that way?
10. The theme of the novel is love as rescue. Who is saved by love in the novel? How is this manifested in the story?
Posted January 7, 2010
WOW! This would have to be one of the best books I've read in awhile. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the author or is just looking for a fantastic book, which keeps you on your toes. picked it up every free second I had. Once again Nicholas Sparks keeps on pleasing his readers.This novel includes all of his writing trademarks, secretive pasts, a new love, tragedy, and a pleasing but shocking end. One day Denise and her speaking impaired son Kyle were in a tragic accident. Then Taylor, a volunteer fireman came along Denise and rescues Kyle. After some time together, they both have to face their pasts in order to make their love for each other to work out. Taylor tries to overcome the guilt of the tragic losses of two important people in his life and learning how to love and stay committed to a woman. Denise learns to let go of her wounded pasts and fears of her mother, Kyle's dad, Kyle, and letting someone get close to him.So in my opinion, from the ones I've read, The Rescue would be one of the best books Nicholas Sparks has written. I would put on my list of my top five favorite books. I loved the book and didn't find one negative thing about it. Every time you turn the page, something more shocking and unexpected happens. More secrets are revealed.If you're looking forward to reading a wonderful romance, then you should read this book. I promise you will love it. It's a wonderful book and ties the plots and characters perfectly together to form a marvelous love story.Read it, and when you finish, you won't be disappointed.
40 out of 44 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2000
This coming from a military man, who normally reads macho type books, this book was excellent. I am thankful for the switch. After reading The Notebook, I thought I had a new favorite book, til this one. A good book for everyone to read!
24 out of 26 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I have all of Nicholas Sparks' books and this is one of my top 3 favorites. This book is amazing, everyone should read it.
17 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2012
It is about a girl named Denise Holton she was driving through a passive storm with her son Kyle Holton. Denise is trying to keep a head of the storm so she won’t get caught in it.
Denise was on her way to her home town. When she swerved to miss a deer and wrecked. A guy from the fire department found her and asked her if she was ok. She turned around and said where is Kyle do you have him the guy said no he was not here when I got here. They found Kyle 5 hours after they reported him missing.
Denise and Taylor MacAden fall in love. Kyle learns how to talk better than what he did in the beginning. He wants Taylor to be his dad because he thinks he is nice and loves his mom.
Denise was happy that she wrecked because if she never wrecked she wouldn’t have met Taylor. Then Kyle wouldn’t have had a guy to talk to or do activities with and he wouldn’t have learned to talk so well.
I love this book I would recommend this to anyone who loves love stories. It was a good book to read I really enjoyed it because it went from sad to love and that is a good thing.
12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2003
This book tells the story of Denise Holton, an isolated, poverty-stricken single mother of a handicapped four year old boy who is rescued by Taylor McAden, volunteer fireman and construction worker during a storm in North Carolina. As you can expect, the two eventually get to know each other and fall in love. This book was okay. It moves awfully slow, with long, drawn-out scenes heaped with exaagerated melodrama. Neither Taylor or Denise are very likeable characters in my mind, and the ending (before the epilogue) is messy. But it's your basic sappy love story and I enjoyed some parts of it.
10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
wow! i just finished reading this a couple of minuets ago and it was amazing! Er.. i mean i loved it! But you have to read it to be sure if you do. i mean... im a picky reader i can only read super good books, and this one made my top five books!
8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 20, 2001
I don't know. Something about this book just didn't capture me like his other novels. The Notebook still stands as my favorite from Sparks.
8 out of 18 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2011
Posted May 3, 2004
I've been a fan of this author for a while now, but I was pretty disappointed with this book. It was incredibly boring!! Not only was it predictable but this story is very similar to his other ones. It is not refreshing at all. I've read half way through the book and wanted to throw it across the room...
7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
THE RESCUE is an emotional love story starring three damaged individuals. The story line is extremely powerful when the characters ride their feelings into activities that they normally would avoid. The two lead adults, supported by a child with a learning disorder, are incredibly drawn and their respective "interfering" mothers provide the sparks that inspire the story line. Nicholas Spark's tale is must reading for those fans that cherish a deep-rooted love story.I found the strict teaching of the child very interesting. I wonder if that method might be helpful for children with problems in order to provide a predictable environment.As always, Nicholas Sparks, writes in a compelling way but the story itself should have been a bit more compelling. I'm seeing the characters as nothing really special, just people searching for companionship. That said, I'll always read his work. He's that good. Highly recommended.
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2012
Posted August 28, 2007
In addition to reading a mandatory novel this summer, all of the incoming seniors at school were required to read a book of choice. I chose a novel entitled The Rescue, by Nicholas Sparks. I chose this book mainly because of the author¿s reputation. Nicholas Sparks is well known for his other novels such as The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. Having read both of those books and enjoying them, I thought this book would be just as impressing as his other literary pieces. My final decision as made as soon as I read the back cover and found out it was a love story. The book is about a single mother, Denise, who moves from a large city to a small town in the Southeastern United States because of her son, Kyle. He has a learning disability and is unable to process much of the information that he hears. Denise feels like it is necessary to move away from such a busy life and settle in a small area that will minimize distractions and allow her to spend more time with her seven year-old son. Within the first month of living in the town which she grew up in, she is involved in a terrible car accident, which results in the disappearance of her son. The volunteer firefighters come to the rescue and search all night for her son, but the efforts seem futile because Kyle cannot communicate and does not know what is going on. After Denise is taken to the hospital, one of the firefighters, Taylor, finds Kyle. Later, Denise runs into Taylor at the supermarket and thanks him profusely for saving her son. At this moment, a special bond seems to form between Kyle and Taylor. This surprises and touches Denise because not many people put up with his inability to communicate and nobody seems to have patience to speak to him. The novel explores the relationship between Denise and Taylor and how the two experience hardships. Denise¿s hard time trusting people and Taylor¿s tendency to shun commitment lead to many arguments leaving the reader to wonder if the two are compatible. I did not enjoy the book as much as I expected to for several reasons. First, I felt as if though the novel revealed too much of what the main character was thinking. Every situation was followed by a detailed description of everything going on inside Denise¿s mind. Because of this, the reader is not able to form their own opinion about a situation or try and guess how the protagonist is feeling. Second, Denise¿s character was irritating. She was not comfortable with herself and she underestimated people. Denise was never sure of what she wanted and once she acquired what she desired, she threw it away or made an excuse to forget about it. Also, Denise had a difficult time trusting people and because of this, she put up a barrier between herself and Taylor. Denise was a bitter character which led me to dislike her. She never realized that people were doing her favors and being nice to her son because they wanted to. She always expected that these people helping her wanted something in return which was never the case. Otherwise, the book was somewhat worthy because it was entertaining. It satisfied my needs for a love story to keep me occupied. The ending, although weak, was happy which left me feeling partly satisfied. I believe that Nicholas Sparks had the intention of illustrating human nature and the inability to trust completely. If this indeed was his purpose, I think he did fulfill it because Denise had an extremely hard time trusting anyone. Once she did, she did not do so completely. Also, Sparks wrote this novel to cater to the people looking for a sappy romantic novel with a happy ending. If he was looking to please romance fans, he accomplished his goals. If Nicholas Sparks was looking to write an original, unique, love story, he failed because the story line, characters, and ending were cliché in nature. I do not recommend this book unless it is to a person who is looking for a novel to read that does not require thinking.
5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2000
Posted August 5, 2012
Posted June 28, 2012
This book leaves you on the edge of your seat soo many times and I could read this book over and over again. Its romantic and sweet, and surprising :)
4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2011
This story makes you fall in love with the characters. I wish that i had more from this amazing story, like a movie! Great, moving read.
4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2003
Nicholas Sparks is absolutely divine. For anyone who would adore a nice weekend with a book that could touch the deepest depths of your heart, the rescue should be TOPPEST on your list. For those of you who need assurance that life has something more to offer other than its ups and downs, THE RESCUE should be able to come...to the rescue!
4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2012
Posted June 12, 2012
I love reading Nicholas Sparks books, but this one is definitely one of my favorites. It had me laughing and crying throughout the book! Loved it!
3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.