The Barnes & Noble Review
James Patterson makes a significant departure from his usual suspense fare to pen Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, a moving love story about hope, loss, joy, and tragedy. Actually, Patterson’s tale consists of two love stories that parallel one another. The first focuses on Kate Wilkinson, who thinks she has found the perfect man to love in Matt Harrison, until he suddenly disappears on her without explanation. The second story comes into play when Kate goes in search of answers and finds them in the pages of a diary that a young mother has written for her infant son.
It is Matt who has sent the diary to Kate, warning her that reading it might be difficult but that it will also explain his behavior. Kate is shocked to learn that the woman who wrote the diary is Matt’s wife and that they have a young son named Nicholas. Yet despite her feelings of jealousy, Kate finds herself liking this other woman, whose love for her son is both beautiful and intense. And as she reads further, Kate discovers the tragic secret of the diary, which gives her a heartbreaking glimpse into Matt’s past life but also her first glimmers of hope for their future.
While the overall style and genre of this tale vary considerably from what Patterson fans have come to expect, his trademark feel for suspense is very much at work in this poignant and moving tale. It’s a showcase example of his versatility as a writer and will undoubtedly add to his ever-growing legion of dedicated fans. (Beth Amos)
In an unusual departure, James Patterson gives us a quiet fable of love, loss and healing.
...clever, light, and as welcoming as an ocean breeze...
Be forewarned: This is not the James Patterson you're used to. The writer who's brought fans so many action-packed bestsellers is vying for a wider female readership. His latest book is a love storyright down to it's sugar-sweet center. Coming on the heels of the recently released 1st to Die, Patterson's first romance is narrated from the alternating points of view of two women in love with the same man. First up is Katie, a New York book editor who meets Matt when she decides to buy his first collection of poems for publication. Katie and Matt fall in love and date for almost a yearthat is, until Matt abruptly ends their relationship, leaving Katie devastated and confused. Sad as this story may be, we're only halfway there. More tears and sadness follow when, one day, Katie unexpectedly receives a diary in the mail that has been sent to her by Matt. Written by a young stranger named Suzanne for her newborn son, Nicholas, the diary serves to explain the reasons behind Matt's mysterious decision. The book is rather cheesy, but might just make a perfect poolside companion.
Suzanne, a doctor, and her husband, Matthew, a house painter/poet, lived on Martha's Vineyard with their infant son, Nicholas. Suzanne kept a diary for Nicholas, chronicling their life together from the day she and Matthew met. When the story begins, Matthew has abruptly ended a deep and emotional affair with Katie, the New York editor of his collection of poems. He offers her Suzanne's diary as his only explanation, which she reads, searching for meaning. Well read by Becky Ann Baker, this book is as saccharine as The Bridges of Madison County, which Patterson alludes to in his text. Is he attempting a similar cry-your-eyes-out story, or does he mean this as a parody of the original? It's far from his usual thriller.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
For sheer genre-crossing audacity, you might think nothing could outdo John Grisham's season on a Mississippi farm (A Painted House) until you read this relentlessly throat-clutching love story from thrillermeister Patterson. The night Matt Harrison's editor Katie Wilkinson presents him with a contract for his new book of poems, she has even bigger news for him: She's pregnant. But she never gets to show him the silver rattle she's tucked into a drawer, because before she can share her news, he's gently but firmly walked out on her, leaving her high and dry with only a book for company. It's a diary Matt's wife Suzanne kept for their baby son Nicholas, and if Katie reads it, Matt urges, she'll understand better why he had to leave. The diary does explain a great number of thingshow lowly Matt managed to enthrall a successful Boston physician like Suzanne, why Suzanne thought it would be a good idea to keep a diary for her infant child, why "we is always so much better than I," why "one today is worth two tomorrows," and how a propulsive storyteller like Patterson (Roses Are Red) can keep the pot boiling even without the help of Alex Cross and a high body countbut not why Matt left Katie. What's really important, though, is that Katie is on hand for a series of interludes to telegraph exactly when to laugh and when to cry for audiences that missed The Prince of Tides and The Bridges of Madison County. A moving, and fast-moving, fable compounded about equally of tenderness, apothegms, doggerel, endearments, and mush. The ending, which makes nonsense of Matt's departure, suggests how severely Matt may have understated the case in warning that "there will be parts that may be hard for you to read."