I became a fan of
Nicholas Sparks about three years ago, when I read A Walk to Remember a few months
before the movie debuted. I cried for a week. The Notebook reduced me to a
sobbing wreck as well. So when I sat down to read his newest novel, True
Believer, I made sure I was well-stocked with plenty of Kleenex. I was surprised to
find I didn’t need them.
The story is typical of Sparks’ tried-and-true
style of star-crossed lovers: Jeremy Marsh is a hotshot New York journalist whose life
revolves around his career. His current stories involve researching (and debunking) the
supernatural—when we first meet Jeremy, he's working on uncovering the sly tricks of
Timothy Clausen, a John Edward-type “spirit guide.” His next big story brings him to
Boone Creek, North Carolina, to investigate a legend of ghostly lights in the town’s
cemetery. The small town of Boone Creek is pretty much the polar opposite of New York
City, and Jeremy plans to get the heck out of there as soon as his research is
Of course, things aren’t always as easy as all that. While
researching, Jeremy ends up meeting a young girl named Lexie, who runs the town library.
Over the course of the week or so that Jeremy is in Boone Creek, they become friends and
Jeremy quickly falls head over heels in love with her. Of course, their relationship is
ultimately doomed—their homes and lifestyles are completely different, and Lexie doesn’t
want to give up her small, quiet life in Boone Creek any more than Jeremy wants to give
up his career and fast-paced life in New York. It would take a miracle for their
relationship to work—the type of miracle Jeremy doesn’t believe in.
generally like Nicholas Sparks’ work, and I generally liked this book. It’s not a
cry-fest like some of his other novels have been, and it probably won’t be one of his
best-remembered books, but it’s a sweet story. Despite its tendency to get a tad
predictable (you can tell from the beginning that a schmaltzy ending is in store), it
still works and leaves you with an overall good feeling. It’s a quick read, and it's
fast-paced enough to stay interesting. Overall, True Believer is a little
something like an after-dinner mint—not much substance, but it’s light and sweet and, in
the end, leaves you generally satisfied.