A Bend in the Road

A Bend in the Road

by Nicholas Sparks

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455571635
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/13/2016
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 13,836
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

With over 100 million copies of his books sold, Nicholas Sparks is one of the world's most beloved storytellers. His novels include 12 #1 New York Times bestsellers. All his books have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and were translated into more than 50 languages. Ten Sparks novels have been adapted into major motion pictures, with The Choice coming in February 2016.

Hometown:

New Bern, North Carolina

Date of Birth:

December 31, 1965

Place of Birth:

Omaha, Nebraska

Education:

B.A. in finance, University of Notre Dame, 1988

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
On the morning of August 29, 1988, a little more than two years after his wife had passed away, Miles Ryan stood on the back porch of his house, smoking a cigarette, watching as the rising sun slowly changed the morning sky from dusky gray to orange. Spread before him was the Trent River, its brackish waters partially hidden by the cypress trees clustered at the water's edge. The smoke from Miles's cigarette swirled upward and he could feel the humidity rising, thickening the air. In time, the birds began their morning songs, the trill whistles filling the air. A small bass boat passed by, the fisherman waved, and Miles acknowledged the gesture with a slight nod. It was all the energy he could summon.
He needed a cup of coffee. A little java and he'd feel ready enough to face the day—getting Jonah off to school, keeping rein on the locals who flouted the law, posting eviction notices throughout the county, as well as handling whatever else inevitably cropped up, like meeting with Jonah's teacher later in the afternoon. And that was just for starters. The evenings, if anything, seemed even busier. There was always so much to do, simply to keep the household running smoothly: paying the bills,.shopping, cleaning, repairing things around the house. Even in those rare moments when Miles found himself with a little free time on his hands, he felt as if he had to take advantage of it right away or he'd lose the opportunity. Quick, find something to read. Hurry up, there's only a few minutes to relax. Close your eyes, in a little while there won't be any time. It was enough to wear anyone down for a while, but what could he do about it?
He really needed the coffee. The nicotine wasn't cutting it anymore, and he thought about throwing the cigarettes out, but then it didn't matter whether he did or not. In his mind, he didn't really smoke. Sure, he had a few cigarettes during the course of the day, but that wasn't real smoking. It wasn't as though he burned through a pack a day, and it wasn't as if he'd been doing it his whole life, either; he'd started after Missy had died, and he could stop anytime he wanted. But why bother? Hell, his lungs were in good shape—just last week, he'd had to run after a shoplifter and had no trouble catching the kid. A smoker couldn't do that.
Then again, it hadn't been as easy as it was when he'd been twenty-two. But that was ten years ago, and even if thirty-two didn't mean it was time to start looking into nursing homes, he was getting older. And he could feel it, too—there was a time during college when he and his friends would start their evenings at eleven o'clock and proceed to stay out the rest of the night. In the last few years, except for those times he was working, eleven o'clock was late, and if he had trouble falling asleep, he went to bed anyway. He couldn't imagine any reason strong enough to make him want to stay up. Exhaustion had become a permanent fixture in his life. Even on those nights when Jonah didn't have his nightmares—he'd been having them on and off since Missy died—Miles still awoke feeling...tired. Unfocused. Sluggish, as if he were moving around underwater. Most of the time, he attributed this to the hectic life he lived; but sometimes he wondered if there wasn't something more seriously wrong with him.
He'd read once that one of the symptoms of clinical depression was "undue lethargy, without reason or cause." Of course, he did have cause....
What he really needed was some quiet time at a little beach-front cottage down in Key West, a place where he could fish for turbot or simply relax in a gently swaying hammock while drinking a cold beer, without facing any decision more major than whether or not to wear sandals as he walked on the beach with a nice woman at his side.
That was part of it, too. Loneliness. He was tired of being alone, of waking up in an empty bed, though the feeling still surprised him. He hadn't felt that way until recently. In the first year after Missy's death, Miles couldn't even begin to imagine loving another woman again. Ever. It was as if the urge for female companionship didn't exist at all, as if desire and lust and love were nothing more than theoretical possibilities that had no bearing on the real world. Even after he'd weathered shock and grief strong enough to make him cry every night, his life just felt wrong somehow—as if it were temporarily off track but would soon right itself again, so there wasn't any reason to get too worked up about anything.
Most things, after all, hadn't changed after the funeral. Bills kept coming, Jonah needed to eat, the grass needed to be mowed. He still had a job. Once, after too many beers, Charlie, his best friend and boss, had asked him what it was like to lose a wife, and Miles had told him that it didn't seem as if Missy were really gone. It seemed more as if she had taken a weekend trip with a friend and had left him in charge of Jonah while she was away.
Time passed and so eventually did the numbness he'd grown accustomed to. In its place, reality settled in. As much as he tried to move on, Miles still found his thoughts drawn to Missy. Everything, it seemed, reminded him of her. Especially Jonah, who looked more like her the older he got. Sometimes, when Miles stood in the doorway after tucking Jonah in, he could see his wife in the small features of his son's face, and he would have to turn away before Jonah could see the tears. But the image would stay with him for hours; he loved the way Missy had looked as she'd slept, her long brown hair spread across the pillow, one arm always resting above her head, her lips slightly parted, the subtle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. And her smell—that was something Miles would never forget. On the first Christmas morning after her death, while sitting in church, he'd caught a trace of the perfume that Missy used to wear and he'd held on to the ache like a drowning man grasping a life preserver until long after the service was over.
He held on to other things as well. When they were first married, he and Missy used to have lunch at Fred & Clara's, a small restaurant just down the street from the bank where she worked. It was out of the way, quiet, and somehow its cozy embrace made them both feel as if nothing would ever change between them. They hadn't gone much once Jonah had been born, but Miles started going again once she was gone, as if hoping to find some remnant of those feelings still lingering on the paneled walls. At home, too, he ran his life according to what she used to do. Since Missy had gone to the grocery store on Thursday evenings, that's when Miles went, too. Because Missy liked to grow tomatoes along the side of the house, Miles grew them, too. Missy had thought Lysol the best all-purpose kitchen cleaner, so he saw no reason to use anything else. Missy was always there, in everything he did.
But sometime last spring, that feeling began to change. It came without warning, and Miles sensed it as soon as it happened. While driving downtown, he caught himself staring at a young couple walking hand in hand as they moved down the sidewalk. And for just a moment, Miles imagined himself as the man, and that the woman was with him. Or if not her, then someone... someone who would love not only him, but Jonah as well. Someone who could make him laugh, someone to share a bottle of wine with over a leisurely dinner, someone to hold and touch and to whisper quietly with after the lights had been turned off. Someone like Missy, he thought to himself, and her image immediately conjured up feelings of guilt and betrayal overwhelming enough for him to banish the young couple from his mind forever.
Or so he assumed.
Later that night, right after crawling into bed, he found himself thinking about them again. And though the feelings of guilt and betrayal were still there, they weren't as powerful as they had been earlier that day. And in that moment, Miles knew he'd taken the first step, albeit a small one, toward finally coming to terms with his loss.
He began to justify his new reality by telling himself that he was a widower now, that it was okay to have these feelings, and he knew no one would disagree with him. No one expected him to live the rest of his life alone; in the past few months, friends had even offered to set him up with a couple of dates. Besides, he knew that Missy would have wanted him to marry again. She'd said as much to him more than once—like most couples, they'd played the "what if " game, and though neither of them had ever expected anything terrible to happen, both had been in agreement that it wouldn't be right for Jonah to grow up with only a single parent. It wouldn't be right for the surviving spouse. Still, it seemed a little too soon.
As the summer wore on, the thoughts about finding someone new began to surface more frequently and with more intensity. Missy was still there, Missy would always be there... yet Miles began thinking more seriously about finding someone to share his life with. Late at night, while comforting Jonah in the rocking chair out back-it was the only thing that seemed to help with the nightmares-these thoughts seemed strongest and always followed the same pattern. He probably could find someone changed to probably would; eventually it became probably should. At this point, however—no matter how much he wanted it to be other-wise—his thoughts still reverted back to probably won't.
The reason was in his bedroom.
On his shelf, in a bulging manila envelope, sat the file concerning Missy's death, the one he'd made for himself in the months following her funeral. He kept it with him so he wouldn't forget what happened, he kept it to remind him of the work he still had to do.
He kept it to remind him of his failure.
A few minutes later, after stubbing out the cigarette on the railing and heading inside, Miles poured the coffee he needed and headed down the hall. Jonah was still asleep when he pushed open the door and peeked in. Good, he still had a little time. He headed to the bathroom.
After he turned the faucet, the shower groaned and hissed for a moment before the water finally came. He showered and shaved and brushed his teeth. He ran a comb through his hair, noticing again that there seemed to be less of it now than there used to be. He hurriedly donned his sheriff's uniform; next he took down his holster from the lockbox above the bedroom door and put that on as well. From the hallway, he heard Jonah rustling in his room. This time, Jonah looked up with puffy eyes as soon as Miles came in to check on him. He was still sitting in bed, his hair disheveled. He hadn't been awake for more than a few minutes.
Miles smiled. "Good morning, champ."
Jonah looked up from his bed, almost as if in slow motion. "Hey, Dad."
"You ready for some breakfast?"
He stretched his arms out to the side, groaning slightly. "Can I have pancakes?"
"How about some waffles instead? We're running a little late." Jonah bent over and grabbed his pants. Miles had laid them out the night before. "You say that every morning." Miles shrugged. "You're late every morning."
"Then wake me up sooner."
"I have a better idea—why don't you go to sleep when I tell you to?"
"I'm not tired then. I'm only tired in the mornings."
"Join the club."
"Huh?"
"Never mind," Miles answered. He pointed to the bathroom.
"Don't forget to brush your hair after you get dressed."
"I won't," Jonah said.
Most mornings followed the same routine. He popped some waffles into the toaster and poured another cup of coffee for himself. By the time Jonah had dressed himself and made it to the kitchen, his waffle was waiting on his plate, a glass of milk beside it. Miles had already spread the butter, but Jonah liked to add the syrup himself. Miles started in on his own waffle, and for a minute, neither of them said anything. Jonah still looked as if he were in his own little world, and though Miles needed to talk to him, he wanted him to at least seem coherent. After a few minutes of companionable silence, Miles finally cleared his throat.
"So, how's school going?" he asked. Jonah shrugged. "Fine, I guess."
This question too, was part of the routine. Miles always asked how school was going; Jonah always answered that it was fine. But earlier that morning, while getting Jonah's backpack ready, Miles had found a note from Jonah's teacher, asking him if it was possible to meet today. Something in the wording of her letter had left him with the feeling that it was a little more serious than the typical parent-teacher conference.
"You doing okay in class?"
Jonah shrugged. "Uh-huh."
"Do you like your teacher?"
Jonah nodded in between bites. "Uh-huh," he answered again.
Miles waited to see if Jonah would add anything more, but he didn't. Miles leaned a little closer.
"Then why didn't you tell me about the note your teacher sent home?"
"What note?" he asked innocently.
"The note in your backpack—the one your teacher wanted me to read."
Jonah shrugged again, his shoulders popping up and down like the waffles in the toaster. "I guess I just forgot."
"How could you forget something like that?"
"I don't know."
"Do you know why she wants to see me?"
"No..." Jonah hesitated, and Miles knew immediately that he wasn't telling the truth.
"Son, are you in trouble at school?"
At this, Jonah blinked and looked up. His father didn't call him "son" unless he'd done something wrong. "No, Dad. I don't ever act up. I promise."
"Then what is it?"
"I don't know."
"Think about it."
Jonah squirmed in his seat, knowing he'd reached the limit of his father's patience. "Well, I guess I might be having a little trouble with some of the work."
"I thought you said school was going okay."
"School is going okay. Miss Andrews is really nice and all, and I like it there." He paused. "It's just that sometimes I don't understand everything that's going on in class."
"That's why you go to school. So you can learn."
"I know," he answered, "but she's not like Mrs. Hayes was last year. The work she assigns is hard. I just can't do some of it."
Jonah looked scared and embarrassed at exactly the same time. Miles reached out and put his hand on his son's shoulder.
"Why didn't you tell me you were having trouble?"
It took a long time for Jonah to answer.
"Because," he said finally, "I didn't want you to be mad at me." After breakfast, after making sure Jonah was ready to go, Miles helped him with his backpack and led him to the front door. Jonah hadn't said much since breakfast. Squatting down, Miles kissed him on the cheek. "Don't worry about this afternoon. It's gonna be all right, okay?"
"Okay," Jonah mumbled.
"And don't forget that I'll be picking you up, so don't get on the bus."
"Okay," he said again.
"I love you, champ."
"I love you, too, Dad."
Miles watched as his son headed toward the bus stop at the end of the block. Missy, he knew, wouldn't have been surprised by what had happened this morning, as he had been. Missy would have already known that Jonah was having trouble at school. Missy had taken care of things like this.
Missy had taken care of everything.

Copyright © 2001 by Nicholas Sparks Enterprises, Inc.

Reading Group Guide

1. In the opening scene, an unknown narrator makes his first appearance. Were you surprised that his story wove throughout the rest of the narrative? How would the novel have been different had this not happened? Did you know who the narrator was? When did you know?

2. The novel deals with the theme of love and forgiveness. How were the major characters -- Miles, Sarah, Brian, Charlie, and Jonah -- forgiven? How did love play a role? What else played a role? Is forgiveness and act, or is forgiveness and on-going process? Explain.

3. New Bern is described in detail. How does the setting play a role in the story? Could this story have occurred in a larger city? Why or why not?

4. Miles lost his first love and yet he's ready to move on by the time he meets Sarah. Does Miles believe in the idea of eternal love?

5. Sarah is a wounded character when the novel opens because she can't have children. How does Jonah influence the relationship between Miles and Sarah? Would they still have fallen in love had Jonah not been around?

6. In this novel, as in A Walk to Remember, there are scenes that take place in the cemetery. What is the significance of the cemetery in this story? How does it play into the theme of the novel?

7. Miles watches family home videos in the privacy of his home but refuses to share them with Jonah. Think about the memories that Miles has of Missy. What is Miles's vision of Missy and how does that play a role in how he views Sarah?

8. Charlie plays a central role in the investigation and is Miles's boss. He also plays a central role in Miles's life as a father figure. What is there relationship like? How does Charlie view Miles? How does Miles view Charlie? Is this typical of father/son relationships?

9. Describe Jonah's character. Is he believable as a young child?

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A Bend in the Road 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 890 reviews.
Rhiannon Grubbs More than 1 year ago
I love Nicholas Sparks' books and out of all of them this is my absolute favorite, by far! They should make a movie based on this book, like if u agree :))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many twists and turns! I love the small town life. This is a touching love story with alot of emotion and unexpected moments. You can not go wrong with Nicholas Sparks! Loved this book!!
Ahn More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Sparks' interpretation of romance and misery gives the reader a chance to indulge in the story of a middle-aged mans pain, love, and his glimpse of happiness before another turning point. The author draws in the reader, giving the audience a chance to become a part of the story line. As well as feeling the pains of the characters, the hopes and happiness, and the will to live on. This book would be recommended mainly for young teenage girls because the storyline is based along the lines of romance and mystery that will most definitely catch young girls' attention in this heart-wrenching story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are in the mood for a Nicholas Sparks book then this novel will satisfy your craving! This is a riveting story that combines suspense and  romance. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! it is one of my all time favorites! it makes you cry, and leaves you with chills! his characters are so realistic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicholas sparks has become my new favorite author and this book is my favorite so far. It's not just a love story. It is a mystery too. A very good book.
jackie143JC More than 1 year ago
Book title and author: A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks Title of review: A Bend in the Road Number of stars (1 to 5): 5 Introduction A Bend in the Road is another love story wrote by the American author famous for love stories, Nicholas Sparks. This novel tells the story of Miles Ryan and Sarah Andrews. It is written in the first and third-person narrative; the third person narrative splits the focus equally between the Miles’ and Sarah’s stories. Although the first- person narrative remains unknown during most of the story to be the driver that killed Miles’ wife, Missy Ryan. This book is a great book for people who enjoy a good romance novel. Description and summary of main points Miles Ryan, a deputy sheriff in the North Carolina town of New Bern, loses his wife Missy in a hit-and-run accident. He wants to bring the driver that killed his wife to justice. Miles meets his son’s teacher Sarah Andrews, who recently moved to New Bern from Baltimore after a difficult divorce. Brought together by Jonah’s (Miles’ son) school troubles, the two start to date and eventually fall in love. Their most important date is when they go on the town’s Ghost Walk and listen to a ghost story about a couple who lived during war times. That couple were forbidden to see each other, however, they communicated through the use of candles which signified they loved and missed each other. The man of the couple is killed by the order of the girl’s father, sending the girl into depression. The night before, he had sent a letter asking her to marry him. Her response would be two candles for yes or one candle for no. She lights two candles and commits suicide over grief of her lost love. Everything is going perfect between the two. Miles and Jonah meet Sarah’s entire family and are somewhat sure of their future together. That’s when a shocking secret is revealed. Miles is reminded of his past when information about Missy’s accident is brought up. Brian, Sarah’s brother is revealed as the driver who hit missy and the mysterious first-person narrator from the beginning of the story. Miles is enraged and believes Sarah knew this from the beginning and planned everything out. Sarah is completely awestruck and doesn’t know what to do. Miles explodes on Sarah and says that they’re through. Sarah and Brian must fight and survive through Miles’ dangerous and troubling wants for revenge., as Miles’ past actions haunt them as they wait for something to happen. Eventually, Miles’ makes sense of everything and makes a decision. Miles waits at the cemetery by Missy’s grave where he knows Brian will come. Brian does indeed come, carrying flowers and wondering when Miles will approach him. When Miles speaks to Brian he is afraid, but decides to accept what might happen. Instead, Miles tells Brian to never mention the accident to anyone ever in his life, and that he forgives him, as long as he does something worthwhile with his life. Miles decides to keep Brian’s confession a secret, only between him and Sarah. Brian goes home, utterly surprised, but knows that Miles was right. He goes on with his life without a problem. Brian moved on from his tragedy and starts a brand-new life by moving to California, getting married for the first time, and becoming an ER doctor. He has saved many lives in the last few years, which makes him believe he has done something worthwhile Evaluation: This book is a great book written by a very talented author, Spar
Aimee_Leon More than 1 year ago
A Bend in the Road was another one of Sparks' unforgetable heart touching love story. It is about these two heartbroken people who found eachother. Miles Ryan is a grieving widower who lost his wife Missy in a horrible car accident a few years earlier. As a police officer, he takes responsibility for her death since he was never able to catch the driver of the hit and run. He struggled with her death but a year later, he finally gave up his search for the driver. Another year passes and he begins to notice that his son Jonas is struggling in school. Then Miles meets with Sarah Andrews, his son's second grade teacher. Sarah Andrews is a recently divorced teacher. Her first husband was an inconsiderate, heartless bastard. So she moved from her old town to New Bern to forget her heartbrake, and start a new life. Miles and Sarah try to put behind their pasts as they begin to see more of eachother. Little do they know, their pasts were entwined by a fateful event long ago. Which will throw them apart, but in due time it would bring them together again. I really loved this novel alot. I've read it as crazy, and would recommend it to anyone.
MiaAdorable More than 1 year ago
This was a good read. Pretty powerful and sad at times but touching. Boy meets girl in high school, falls in love, gets married and has a child. It ends in tragedy when Mile's wife Missy is involved in a hit-and-run accident and dies. The killer was never found. The killer actually writes some sort of journal and in it explains what is happening through his eyes. A couple of years later, Miles finds himself falling in love again with a woman who seems to be trying to find herself again from a failed marriage. They meet and it is a very cute meeting and setting and it involves courting and it is just romantic, in a sense. Miles falls in love with his son's teacher, Sarah. It all goes well and then the tragedy that Miles has tried so hard to put in the past and behind him, finally, is brought back to live with a vengeance. It is a riviting story of love, compassion, understanding and it will make you smile and glad you read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was another on of those love conquers all books. It all started with the accident were Miles wife dies when hit by a car. There are a lot of suspects one in particular that fits the bill, but there seems to be no evidence. Meanwhile Sarah's happy marriage comes to an end because of her husband. Both extremely wounded by circumstances they could not control they find each other. They are happy until new evidence arises from Miles' wife case. Major twist in the end and not just once!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down! I loved it!! I stayed up till really late, but it was TOTALY worth it!!!!!!! I <3 this book!!!!!!!
just-deb More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.  I've only read 6 books thus far, and this is only the second one that I have enjoyed.  It can get confusing at times, but then you get back on track.  Very suspenceful and emotional.  I'm nervous to purchase another book from this author for the simple fact that I don't think it will be as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A masterpiece!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book!! Love how Nicholas Sparks, book has so many twist and turns, couldn't put this book down!!!!!!!
smz911 More than 1 year ago
I have read many of Nicholas Sparks books. I have to say this was not my favorite. It seems the like the story line kind of dragged out. The ending was sad too.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Amazing
KatKealy on LibraryThing 26 days ago
So far, it's the only Nicholas Sparks book I've gotten the whole way through without shedding a tear, but it's very good - just not his typical tear-jerker. The story is interesting and well written, as usual with him.
kellieburr on LibraryThing 26 days ago
OMG I loved loved loved this book - its a real chick book for sure. I have seen the movie notebook but did not realise that it was from the same author. I will be looking to read other books by this author.
tinalouisehapp on LibraryThing 26 days ago
typ sparks with added element of suspense
meacoleman on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Somehow I talked myself into reading a second Nicholas Sparks book, even though I hated the first one I read. "A Bend in the Road" is marginally better than "The Wedding". The story is a little too predictable: small town widower falls for his son's teacher who just moved to town. And sadly I figured out the circumstances of his wife's death long before Sparks reveals it. It's an OK book, but I'm definitely not reading more Sparks.
gtemple on LibraryThing 26 days ago
I really enjoyed A Bend in the Road. This book had a lot of mystery, and there were many parts that scared me. The type of love story is new with the relationship consisting of a widower and a woman fresh out of divorce. Their situations are totally different, but they manage to love each other anyway. The twist at the end caught me by surprise, but I thought it was a great part of the story.
dbhutch on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Another wonderful read from the awesome Nicholas Sparks. This story had lots of twists and turns in it. Miles Ryan was living the perfect life with the prefect wife and son. Until his wife is killed in a car accident. No more spoilers here.
carissa8402 on LibraryThing 26 days ago
I liked it...your average love story.
punxsygal on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Two years ago Miles Ryan¿s life came to a standstill when his wife was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Though a deputy sheriff he wasn¿t involved in the investigation, but he has kept his own private file on the accident. Sarah Andrews is new to New Bern, following her parents there after the failure of her marriage. Both Miles and Sarah begin the tentative path to recovery as they begin to fall in love.I said I wouldn¿t read another book by Nicholas Sparks after I read Dear John. However, this was in my pile and was needed for a tag in a game. I felt the characters were developed better in this story and that the plot line was more realistic. While I may never be a big fan of the author, this was a more enjoyable read.
dhelicious on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Another best seller for author Nicholas Sparks. A story of tragedy, life's unexpected twist and turns and an endearing unconditional love.After losing his wife in a tragic unsolved hit and run accident Deputy Miles Ryan was devastated and lost without his wife. He then met her son's new teacher Sarah who recently moved to rebuild her life following a horrible marriage in Baltimore. Little did they know that their life is entwined by a secret, one fateful event that could change their lives forever. Highly recommended.