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)