Nobody tells a love story like Nicholas Sparks. Whether he’s writing about first romances, long-forgotten lovers, or those who hope for a second chance at a happy ending, his stories speak to us—and make us cry. Set in beautiful North Carolina, Sparks’ novels are about people from every age and class. His books don’t shy away from loneliness, despair, or tragedy, but hope always shines through. Sparks’ newest novel, Two by Two, tells the story of a man who has it all—a good career, a beautiful home, a loving family—and the strength he discovers within himself when he loses nearly everything. To celebrate the twentieth year of Sparks’ enduring, celebrated career, the B&N Exclusive edition of Two by Two contains personal reflections from the author on each of his titles, along with details on special Two by Two music. To celebrate (and while we wait for the release date of October 4!), we’re rereading 9 of our all-time favorite Nicholas Sparks novels, .
In this epic story of love lost and found, two star-crossed kids meet one summer on the beach in New Bern, North Carolina. Over a decade passes before Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson find each other again—but in the interim, neither forgets the other. When they are finally reunited, many obstacles stand in the way of their love, both because of choices they have made and because of events beyond their control. One of Nicholas Sparks’s best-loved novels, The Notebook also became the blockbuster movie that first rocketed Ryan Gosling to stardom.
Perennial bachelor Travis Parker is quite content. He’s got a nice waterfront house in North Carolina, great friends, good barbecue, and plenty of time on the water. He figures a steady relationship would only complicate things. But when Gabby Holland moves in next door, everything changes. Despite Gabby’s unfriendly manner and steady boyfriend, Travis finds himself doing everything he can to win her approval. Eventually he faces a choice he never would have imagined—which leads them both down a path that is as surprising as it is satisfying.
The Longest Ride
College student Sophie is used to hanging out with rich bros. Her life changes when she meets a kindly young cowboy named Luke at a bull-riding event. Meanwhile, 91-year-old widower Ira Levinson has been in a terrible car accident and waits for help to arrive, tethered to the world only by visions of his late wife, who died nine years earlier. The film adaptation of this lovely, heartfelt and multigenerational story stars Alan Alda, Britt Robertson, and Scott Eastwood.
The Last Song
Her parents’ divorce shattered Veronica Miller’s life. Now seventeen-year-old Ronnie is estranged from her father, who has moved away from New York City, and furious with her mother, who decides that the best way to heal old wounds is for Ronnie to spend the summer at her father’s new house in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. There Ronnie’s father, a musician, is enjoying the slow pace of life in the sleepy town, but it’s a big adjustment for rebellious Ronnie, who is in for a summer of new loves, heartbreak, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a family.
Nights in Rodanthe
Adrienne Willis has been adrift ever since her husband left her for a younger woman. Devoting herself to her teenage children and ill father has worn her down, and she seeks respite in a brief visit to the coastal village of Rodanthe on the outer banks of North Carolina, where she has promised to look after a small inn for a weekend. There she meets an unexpected guest: Paul, a recently-divorced surgeon estranged from his only child and in the throes of a crisis of his own. Each adrift in the wreckage of their lives, Adrienne and Paul discover that they still have the capacity to love, help, and heal each other.
When beautiful Katie arrives in the small North Carolina town of Southport, she receives a warm welcome despite her reluctance to open up about her mysterious past. Eventually, though, she becomes friendly with a few of the locals, particularly gentle, widowed store owner Alex and his two children, and her neighbor Jo. But Katie knows that the peace, love, and acceptance she has found in Southport is only temporary unless she can find the courage to face down the demons of her haunted past.
The Best of Me
High school sweethearts Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole were each other’s first loves, but tumultuous events and the wide social chasm between them tore them apart during senior year. Now, 25 years later, they find themselves reunited at the funeral of a former mentor. Neither ever forgot the fire and passion that once united them, and neither has found themselves where they expected to be in life. As they dutifully carry out the wishes of their departed friend, Amanda and Dawson find themselves facing difficult truths as unhappy memories resurface, and asking themselves tough questions—about who they are, who they have become, and what they really want out of life, and from each other.
When dashing volunteer firefighter Taylor McAden saves Denise Holton from a car wreck, the chemistry between them is palpable. A single mother who has devoted herself to her four-year-old son with special needs, Denise has every reason to be wary of Taylor, who has a proven track record of falling for women who need rescuing and then leaving them when things start getting too intense. Still, as the two grow closer, Denise finds herself piecing together the puzzle of Taylor’s past in an attempt to discover why he can’t commit. And Taylor finds himself wondering if he can be the man he knows Denise deserves.
A Bend in the Road
When his wife Missy is killed by a hit-and-run driver, Miles Ryan, the deputy sheriff of the town of New Bern, North Carolina, feels as though his life is over. Fortunately, caring for his son, Jonah, helps anchor him. It is through Jonah that he first meets Sarah Andrews, his son’s teacher, who is recently divorced and moved to New Bern looking for a fresh start. She and Miles recognize something in each other’s sadness, and find solace in each other’s company. Before long, they find themselves falling in love, and happy for the first time in ages. But a dark secret links them both—one so terrible that, if revealed, it could prove to be their undoing.
What’s your favorite Nicholas Sparks novel? How many of the ones on this list have you read?