The Lucky One
by Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central Publishing
This is the first Nicholas Sparks novel that I have read, and I am glad to say, it lived up to my expectations. I expected a well-written, romantic read. And while it wasn't quite as romantic as I expected, it was the right amount of romance for the story that was told..
This is mainly a story about Logan Thibault, an ex-Marine that walks across the country in search of an unknown woman from a picture he found while deployed in Iraq. There are different flashbacks of his various deployments that tell the back story of how he gets this photograph. Those parts also tell how he finally comes to believe his best friend Victor's claims that the picture is his fate, his good luck charm.
After a fishing trip with Victor, Logan decides to try and find the woman in the picture. Using clues from the background of the photo, he figures out where it was taken and decides to start there. He sets off on foot from Colorado, with his German Shepherd Zeus, and ends up in Hampton, North Carolina.
Once in Hampton, he starts asking around, showing the photo, and learns the woman's name is Elizabeth and she's a school teacher. After getting her address, he shows up at the house she lives in with her grandmother, Nana, and her ten year old son, Ben. Spotting a help wanted sign in the office window of the kennel that Nana runs on the property, he approaches Beth under the guise of wanting to apply for the job.
Beth is leery of him and his story that he walked from Colorado, and just decided to stay in tiny Hampton. But after Nana talks to him, he starts working there.
He doesn't disclose to them his real reason for being there, but after a while, he and Beth become close and fall in love. Logan is also accepted by Nana, and looked up to by Ben.
Enter Beth's ex, and Ben's father, deputy Keith Clayton. Ever since he and Beth divorced, he's secretly been scaring off every guy she's dated, telling himself that he's just trying to protect her. Also not very tolerant of his son not being the athlete Keith wants him to be, there is a lot of strain between them. So when he sees Beth with Logan, he immediately sets to work trying to end it. Also fueling his fire, he and Logan had a run-in just outside of town when Logan witnessed the deputy committing an abuse of power.
All the conflicts between the characters in this story, and the realness of their faults, made this a very believable novel. I really enjoyed seeing what each character was going through, and seeing how Beth would react when she finally learned the whole truth about why Logan was there. After reading this novel, I see why Nicholas Sparks is such a popular author, and I will definitely be checking out more of Mr. Sparks work.