On the jacket:
In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an epic story of two couples whose parallel love stories intersect in profound and surprising ways.
Ninety-one year old Ira Levinson is in trouble. Struggling to stay conscious after a car crash, an image of his long-dead wife Ruth appears. Urging him to hang on, she lovingly recounts the joys and sorrows of their life together.
Recovering from a break-up, college student Sophia Danko meets the young, rugged Luke and is thrown into a world far removed from her privileged school life. Sophia sees a new and tantalising future for herself, but Luke has a secret which threatens to break it all apart.
When I start reading The Longest Ride, I was reminded of Alfred Hitchcock's teleplay from 1955, Breakdown. Like with the protagonist in Breakdown, the book begins with Ira Levinson talking (thinking, actually) after he was involved in a car accident, and was lying in wait of some help to come. The plot of the book does take a different route from here on though.
While lying there, waiting for help or his end, whichever comes first, Ira thinks of the life he has led, his parents and mainly of his wife. He imagines his wife, now long dead, come hit by him and talk to him about the past and their love. Here on, we see two parallel love stories - Ira and his wife Ruth, and not very far from Ira's accident site, Sophia and Luke. A couple old and aged, and another young and unsure. Their stories will intertwine, and will come as a surprise, as it will in a way least expected.
I belong to the school which firmly believes women write better romance than men. Until I pick up a Nicholas Sparks. And every time, I begin reading, I hope it will be a let down and I can go back to saying, "Men can't write romance." and every time I am proved wrong. Gleefully, I accept. Sparks writes romance like no one. He takes each string of your heart, plucks them, breaks them, mends them, ties them loosely, tugs at them - does everything that your heart will permit. While reading The Longest Ride, I have hugged the book close to my heart, the stories in it are so sweet. And, I have cried copiously, there is so much sadness. I have done nothing much for two days, but read this book. And paused in between to gather my emotions, to continue reading.
[This review is for Hachette India. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]