Much like many of his previous novels, Nicholas Sparks’ Every Breath takes place in his beloved North Carolina. Sparks begins the book by detailing his visit to Kindred Spirit, a local landmark on Sunset Beach near Wilmington and the South Carolina border. Created in the early 1980s, this community mailbox is what Sparks terms, ‘a repository of hopes and dreams in written form’, brimming with journals and notes left by passers-by. In the mailbox, Sparks discovered an envelope labelled ‘The Most Amazing Story Ever!’, and after reading its contents, he embarked on a mission to find the author and turn the letters into a full-length novel.
Every Breath details a chance encounter between Tru Walls and Hope Anderson. A divorced father of one and safari guide in the heart of Zimbabwe, Tru is estranged from his wealthy farming family. After receiving an invitation from his biological father, Tru travels to Sunset Beach to meet him for the first time and discover more about his late mother.
North Carolina native Hope has returned to the coastal town one final time before her parents sell their holiday house. With her father’s health deteriorating and her on-off relationship with her boyfriend teetering on the edge of another breakup, Hope seeks refuge in the seaside cottage.
What unfolds is an epic love story that transcends time and place. Sparks’ deft writing perfectly encapsulates the beachside atmosphere, from the ‘deep, rhythmic pulsation of ocean waves rolling ashore’ to ‘tasting salt in the air’. Sparks’ visit to Zimbabwe is also evident through his vivid descriptions of the ‘wispy clouds that trailed over the tree line’ and the ‘snarling hyenas who’d caught the scent of the kill’.
Every Breath is a passionate, heartfelt romance, and the fact that it is based on a true story makes it all the more heartbreaking. Like Sparks’ other bestselling novels, it is likely that his newest offering will also be adapted into a film. Fans of his previous work will adore Every Breath.
Emily Pullen, WHSmith Australia
Image sourced from Hachette Australia