The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks is an author whose writing appeals to all ages. His latest, The Longest Ride, is an amazing book that tells what life and love are supposed to be about, and has a lesson for everyone no matter what stage of life they are in. It is the tale of two love stories, one at the end of its life and one just beginning, and the journey each couple took to find what they wanted and needed in the person they loved. Reality, fate, destiny and love are all present in this novel, and I think both men and women will enjoy the story.

The first couple introduced is Ira and Ruth. Ira is 91 years old and has been in a car accident. He lost control of his car on a cold and snowy night and has gone down a steep embankment and hit a tree. His injuries are severe and he cannot move without excruciating pain. He fears that no one will be able to find him. As Ira comes in and out of consciousness, his wife Ruth, who died nine years ago, appears in the seat next to him, encouraging him to stay alive. As the hours pass, they begin to relive their more than three quarters of a century life together, from the first moment they met, to that fateful day Ira found Ruth on the floor in their bedroom and lost her forever. The love and the strength of the feelings between them was truly magical to read about. Ira has so much love in his heart for his wife and it genuinely made me very emotional. Ira and Ruth had a love that was strong and lasting. It was not perfect, but it was perfect for them. You understood their love, their passion, their heartache and the life they built together.

Sophia and Luke are the other couple. Sophia is a college student pursuing art and history, while Luke is a professional rodeo bull rider. They meet one fateful night when Sophia's sorority sisters convince her to attend a nearby rodeo and western dance. Luke and Sophia's paths cross when Luke helps her get away from her drunk and aggressive ex-boyfriend. Sophia and Luke are polar opposites of each other on the surface, but as they spend more time together Sophia realizes that Luke is the one person who has the hold over her to change everything she has planned and worked for. Luke has his own secrets, ones that could potentially destroy their relationship.Their love story is sweet, and as they get to know each other they realize the choices and sacrifices that would need to be made if they are to have a future together.

In The Longest Ride, two seemingly unrelated love stories merge together to make one outstanding novel. The two couples have nothing in common - separated by age, time, generations, and experience - yet their stories converge thanks to the decisions they make. How so much suffering and tragedy for one couple could turn into such joy for another confirms the old wisdom that everything happens for a reason. If you believe there is a plan for everyone you will love this story. My favorite line from the book was " we shared the longest ride together, this thing called life, and mine has been filled with joy because of you."

Nicholas Sparks writes about regular people that almost all readers can relate to and like. Eight of his novels were adapted into major motion pictures. I would not be surprised to see The Longest Ride on the big screen someday as well.

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