When I was about 10 years old I ran across the movie A Walk to Remember on TV and ended up having my first experience with a Nicholas Sparks story. I later discovered the movie was based off of a book, and we all know the book is always better than the movie, so I just had to read the book. Thus started my long and never ending love affair with Nicholas Sparks.
Now I’m not just a fan of Nicholas Sparks because I enjoy a good love story, but being from North Carolina makes me familiar with the setting of most of his stories. (I even had the pleasure of visiting Southport as Safe Haven was being filmed a few years ago.) I enjoy the tidbits Sparks throws in about the college rivalries in NC (Go Tar Heels! Us Tar Heel fans are taught a cute little song growing up that I will include after my review) and the good ‘ole southern charm that can be found in his books.
See me just as I see you . . .
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.
Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.
A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.
Rich in emotion and fueled with suspense, SEE ME reminds us that love is sometimes forged in the crises that threaten to shatter us . . . and that those who see us for who we truly are may not always be the ones easiest to recognize.
There are so many things I want to say about this book that I just don’t know where to start! I guess I will first say that this book does include the classic Nicholas Sparks love story, but it also has a little bit of a mystery/thriller aspect to it that reminded me of Sparks’s previous book The Guardian.
The prologue of the story is told from the point of view of an unnamed man who is stalking Serena and plotting his revenge. I felt writing the prologue in this way really added to the mystery of the story, especially since I became so enamored in Colin and Maria’s stories that I almost forgot about the stalking until it was blatantly brought up much later in the story.
Ah Colin and Maria! Where to begin with them? I absolutely adore the characters in See Me. Not just Colin and Maria, but Jill, Serena, Maria’s parents, Margolis, and, even though I don’t think adore is a strong enough adjective for them, Evan and Lily. Having the chapters rotate between Colin and Maria’s points of view really helped me connect with each of the characters and get to know them and the other characters close to them. I really enjoyed watching Maria grow and open up to Colin. I think he was the perfect guy to help her open up and start enjoying life outside of work, family, and paddle boarding.
I don’t want to spoil the mystery for those of you who have not yet read the book, but the stalking situation had me on the edge of my seat most of the book. I was able to correctly predict who was involved and what their plan was a few chapters before it was all confirmed, but the story still had me questioning if my theory was correct.
See Me has quickly become my new favorite Nicholas Sparks novel so far. I can’t wait to see if it stays this way as I finish reading the few Nicholas Sparks I have yet to read and his upcoming book Two by Two that releases in October.
Now for the song that all NC raised Tar Heel fans should be familiar with:
Duke is puke, Wake is fake, NC State is the team I hate.
You can’t get to heaven in a red canoe,
Because God’s favorite color is Carolina Blue!