The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
(Grand Central Publishing, 2013, 416 pages)
Two stories are intertwined about the beginning of one relationship and reflecting on the long past of another. Ira knows he’s in trouble after he accidentally drove his car off the road on a snowy night. He is badly hurt and knows his body won’t last long in its condition. He passes the time by talking with his wife Ruth, who passed away years ago, and remembering their best memories together.
Sophia and Luke just met each other and instantly found one another special even though they’re from two different worlds. Sophia is a college senior who’s majoring in art history and lives in her sorority house. Luke spends his time helping his mom around their ranch and trying to re-enter the world of competitive bull riding. They know from the beginning that their relationship has an expiration date as their lives are too different, but for the time being, they don’t care.
I don’t think there is a Nicholas Sparks book where I haven’t enjoyed the story or the characters but this one really stands out. In my opinion, the book is mostly about Sophia and Luke’s story even though an equal amount of time is spent with Ira and his wife Ruth. The reader knows from the beginning how Ruth and Ira’s story ends but Sophia and Luke are more of a mystery. Also it was nice for two of Sparks’ characters knowing exactly who they are and who they want to be and that’s the wedge that’s forcing them apart instead of characters who are still searching for themselves. It was a nice change of pace for Sparks.