The Longest Ride

Overview

In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.

Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces ...

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The Longest Ride

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Overview

In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.

Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together - how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can't possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior's life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death - loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he's keeping doesn't destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The two couples could not be more unlike, especially in their present situations. Ira Levinson is 91 years old, injured and stranded, perhaps forever, after a car crash; yet comforted by visions of his beloved wife Ruth, who died nine years before. Not far away is Wake Forest senior Sophia Danko, enraptured head over heels with an equally enthralled cowboy named Luke. In this cinematic novel, Nicholas Sparks weaves together the stories of these two starkly different pairs as only he could. A bestseller in hardcover; now in trade paperback and NOOK Book. (P.S. Read it now; see it later: The Longest Ride is slated to be a film, due to be release on Valentine's Day weekend 2015).

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-28
Love means never having to say you're dead. Sparks (The Best of Me, 2011, etc.) fans know the drill: sweetness and light, darkness and despair, kissing and making up. And always, always, intertwining storylines. Got the template? Here, Sparks opens with a grim scene that soon turns as sappy as a maple: Old Ira Levinson (there's a signal there) has driven off the road in black ice and snow, and now he's feeling, as he says, "the Grim Reaper tapping my shoulder." Now, it stands to reason that up there in the Southern highlands, a tow truck is likely to arrive less expeditiously than the nearest friendly ghost, in this case, that of Ira's beloved wife, Ruth. If you've seen that Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore movie, you'll know how this part works. But Ira isn't just any old Southern Jew expiring in the cold: He's had a hobby that's morphed into a grail. Exit stage right; enter Sophia and Luke. Sophia's a sorority sweetie with a brawler of a boyfriend whom she's trying to ditch, and Luke is the cowboy hero who comes loping along to save the day. But let Sparks explain: "The cowboy's words were clear and slow, as if he were addressing a dimwit." Indeed. Well, bad boyfriend is conflict No. 1, and Luke's nerves are conflict No. 2, especially when it comes to a session with the monster bull of his darkest dreams. All that remains to be done is to lasso these two couples together, jerk some tears: "My plea to you is this: despite your sadness, do not forget how happy you have made me; do not forget that I loved a man who loved me in return, and this was the greatest gift I could ever have hoped to receive." To which, in cowboy-speak, the proper reply is: "Aw, shucks." Just the sort of thing for Sparks buffs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455520633
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 80,081

Meet the Author

Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks is the author of 17 books. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and children. You can visit the author's web site at www. nicholassparks.com.

Biography

Ever since The Notebook made Nicholas Sparks a word-of-mouth publishing sensation in 1996, he has maintained his status as a bestselling author of tragedy-tinged love stories. His spare, simply themed novels star ordinary people overcome by extraordinary emotions, and changed by them.

It's possible that Sparks might have enjoyed his level of popularity by writing these stories strictly from imagination, but in fact his family's struggles play an important role in many of his books, especially the earliest novels. (For exampleThe Notebook, his tale of a great love affair extending into old age, was inspired by his wife's grandparents; Message in a Bottle drew from Sparks' father's life story and A Walk to Remember from his late sister's.) In addition, a three-week trip he and his older sibling Micah undertook in 2003 became the basis for Three Weeks with My Brother, a unique memoir as moving and tenderhearted as any of his fiction.

Sparks is very methodical about his writing, an approach he makes transparent on his web site with several essays, updates on works in progress, and notes on the mechanics of his novels. Unsurprisingly, critics have faulted him for being too formulaic or cliched. Still, Sparks never fails to move his stories along quickly, maximizing emotional impact and featuring strong, down-to-earth characters. His endings also tend to depart from convention a bit, revealing tragedy where the walk into the sunset should be.

Although he is often classified as a Romance writer, Sparks is quick to point out that his books don't really satisfy the requirements of Romance publishers. Instead, he admits to writing love stories, a different genre altogether. Whatever he cares to call them, one thing's for sure: Nicholas Sparks continues to strike gold with his bittersweet novels of love and loss.

Good To Know

Sparks came to his career in an unconventional way: Sidelined after a running injury at University of Notre Dame, where he had won a full track scholarship and still holds the 4x800 relay record, he decided to write a book after his mother offhandedly suggested it as a way to make him stop brooding. His first novel remains unpublished ("It's a wonderful story -- except for the writing," he wrote later), but he kept trying. He later coauthored an inspirational title called Wokini; but his third novel (The Notebook) was the charm.

Blockbuster film adaptations of Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook have turned Sparks into a successful Hollywood franchise.

Sparks' wife is probably one of the most envied wives around. She met Nicholas in college at spring break, where he informed her that they would be married. She laughed him off, but they were married just over a year later. He told Barnes & Noble.com in a 1999 interview, "I suppose I'm a romantic. Ladies Home Journal has even called me the Most Romantic Husband in America. In fact, I sent my wife a dozen roses today."

Sparks was still selling pharmaceuticals and had only just delivered the final version of The Notebook to his agent when she called, two days after receiving the manuscript, telling him she expected "something big." That something big materialized within the week: a $1 million offer from Warner Books.

Sparks holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

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    1. Hometown:
      New Bern, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 31, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Omaha, Nebraska
    1. Education:
      B.A. in finance, University of Notre Dame, 1988
    2. Website:

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