The Rescue

The Rescue

4.4 1034
by Nicholas Sparks

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One of America's bestselling authors delivers a story about the greatest commitment of all: loving someone forever. When confronted by raging fires or deadly accidents, volunteer fireman Taylor McAden feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives. But there is one leap of faith Taylor can't bring himself to make: he can't fall in love. For all his

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One of America's bestselling authors delivers a story about the greatest commitment of all: loving someone forever. When confronted by raging fires or deadly accidents, volunteer fireman Taylor McAden feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives. But there is one leap of faith Taylor can't bring himself to make: he can't fall in love. For all his adult years, Taylor has sought out women who need to be rescued, women he leaves as soon as their crisis is over and the relationship starts to become truly intimate. When a raging storm hits his small Southern town, single mother Denise Holton's car skids off the road. The young mom is with her four-year-old son Kyle, a boy with severe learning disabilities and for whom she has sacrificed everything. Taylor McAden finds her unconscious and bleeding, but does not find Kyle. When Denise wakes, the chilling truth becomes clear to both of them: Kyle is gone. During the search for Kyle, the connection between Taylor and Denise takes root. Taylor doesn't know that this rescue will be different from all the others.

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Editorial Reviews
Nicholas Sparks's latest tale of romantic angst, The Rescue, has all of his trademark elements: characters who are part of the walking wounded, the fresh hope of new love, and the crushing force of unexpected tragedy. But this time out, Sparks opts for a happier ending, though not before wringing as many tears from his readers as he can.

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Grand Central Publishing
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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Chapter One

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.

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The Rescue 4.4 out of 5 based on 3 ratings. 1034 reviews.
ilovechar More than 1 year ago
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.
vickytren More than 1 year ago
omg. this book was great. It was my favorite by nicholas sparks.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
philnamba More than 1 year ago
I have all of Nicholas Sparks' books and this is one of my top 3 favorites. This book is amazing, everyone should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story line and the charactors just came to life with the help of great descriptions.
Amy Dixon More than 1 year ago
starts off very slow...till the end it picks up very nicely. still another great book by nicholas sparks!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good read...I loved this book so much. I cried so hard at the end because it was unexpected :( It touched my heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On man i could not put this book down, i red it in about 3 days, such a great book
basketball_lover_14 More than 1 year ago
Another great book written by Nicholas Sparks.  Within the first two chapters I knew I was going to love this book.  Towards the end, I could not even put this book down because I just wanted to see how this book ended.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Sparks wrote a great book when he wrote this story. It was so intriguing and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. It was heart wrenching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this book at my house and i loved it!!!!! I am fifteen years old and i love nicholis sparks!!! He is a very good author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like all of his books the same
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing find
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful usual !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That wa sthe best book i have ever read! The best ending i have read.... U have to read this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
ValleyV More than 1 year ago
I bought this book when they offered it as a daily deal and I am so glad I did. I really enjoyed it. I hope they turn this one into a movie as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite Nicholas Sparks book! Soo good!!
truereader More than 1 year ago
This book should be made into Nicholas Sparks' next movie. I really enjoyed this story and the message it had to share. A very heartwarming story of the real power of love and what it can offer if one allows it into their life.