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“Nights in Rodanthe” by Nicholas Sparks: Love is possible at any age and at any time

Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks is an oldie but goodie. This beautiful love story published back in 2013 is one of Sparks’ purest romance novels. It is a tender story of hope and joy, but more than that it’s about sacrifice and forgiveness. It’s the kind of story that resonates with you, tugging at the heartstrings in the way that only a Sparks novel can.

At forty-five, Adrienne Willis must rethink her entire life when her husband abandons her for a younger woman. Reeling with heartache and in search of a respite, she flees to the small coastal town of Rodanthe, North Carolina to tend to a friend’s inn for the weekend. But when a major storm starts moving in, it appears that Adrienne’s perfect getaway will be ruined—until a guest named Paul Flanner arrives.

At fifty-four, Paul has just sold his medical practice and come to Rodanthe to escape his own shattered past. Now, with the storm closing in, two wounded people will turn to each other for comfort—and in one weekend set in motion feelings that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

I am a massive fan of Spark’s stories, and his early works are my favourites. His classics – The Notebook, Dear John, The Lucky One – they’re all the same in that they’re not a massive explosion of heat and passion and world defying things. They contain a love that burns like a slow flame, slowly engulfing you until you’re o surrounded in it’s heat that you can’t ever imagine what it would be like to be cold again.

Nights in Rodanthe is one of his many popular film adaptations, with the incredible movie starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. And it’s one o my favourite films to watch. But the book is even more outstanding.

Adrienne and Paul discover that in just a few days they’ve created a love that transcends time and distance – a love that most people could ever dream about. And because of that, Sparks gives an amazing message of hope in this novel.

Most love stories look at young love, or first love, or falling in love in your twenties or early thirties. But not this story. Which makes it even more poignant and special and it’s message all the more meaningful.

Sparks uses Nights in Rodanthe as a moving reminder that love is possible at any age, at any time, and often comes when we least expect it.

Adrienne and Paul meet when they are 45 and 44, respectively, after they each have a failed marriage. They both had a hard time of it in her marriage. Reading from Adrienne’s point of view at the start of the novel, she explains the effects this had on her. When her husband left her for a younger woman, a part of her feels completely unattractive and undesirable to a man.

Being an older woman, she doesn’t have the body and physicality that she once had. And I can imagine any single older parent would feel the same if they found themselves newly alone in their mid-forties.

But everything changes when she meets Paul.

Despite everything they already knew, despite all the pain they went through in their failed marriages and everything their experiences pointed to already, Adrienne and Paul… they fell so in love. So madly, truly, in love.

What they each learn is that despite having been in love before, at 44 and 45 they met the love of their life.

I felt like I could read their story forever. It made me feel like… like Sparks gave his older readers hope not to give up on love entirely if it hadn’t already worked out yet.

All too often people never really believe that they’ll find love again. Not anything real or true. I’ve met many people who have thought that they had it and it didn’t work out, or they were hit by tragedy, and then that part of their life was over.

But then these two were madly in love like teenagers in their mid-forties, ad that is proof that there is… there is more love out there.

And that love saved both Adrienne and Paul. It made Adrienne more forgiving, it gave her more courage, and helped her find an inner strength she never knew existed, and with it, it gave her the power to carry on knowing she was resilient enough to handle anything life threw at her.

It made Paul braver, it made him more selfless, and it made him happier, allowed him to open up more and knew what it meant to put someone else life beyond their own.

After going through what she did with Paul, Adrienne offered her daughter some advice. She said:

“I know you’ve only ever known your father and me. And I love Jack, because he is your father. But there’s another kind of love, Amanda. One that gives you the courage to be better than you are, not less than you are. One that makes you feel that anything is possible. I want you to know that you could have that. I want you to hold out for it.”

― Nicholas Sparks, Nights in Rodanthe

This is what Sparks what trying to teach us with Nights in Rodanthe. He gives his readers hope as Adrienne learns:

“She believed that romance and passion were possible at any age.”

― Nicholas Sparks, Nights in Rodanthe

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