By: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central
Publication Date: 10/4/2016
My Rating: 4 Stars
#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.
At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Raleigh. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined.
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Southern romantic storyteller, Nicholas Sparks returns following See Me (2015) with his special anniversary 20th book, TWO BY TWO. From love and loss, joy and pain, a love story, a special bond between father and daughter, a marriage, family ties, divorce, and as always, a death.
Before discussing Two by Two, wanted to take the opportunity to send a huge "shout out" congratulations to Nicholas Sparks, marking 20 years of sentimental award-winning love stories!
He continues to "awe inspire", his readers while bringing his stories and characters to life, with his incredible gift of story-telling of dramatic fiction.
No one can tell a story quite like the talented North Carolina southern author. From his first success, The Notebook.Twenty book hits under his belt, with eleven turned into blockbuster movies…. you could say, he knows how to write a bestseller!
You can depend on two things: Sparks' books being set in NC and a couple will fall in love. (there is usually a loss of some sort, as well). However, each one is fresh, original, and brings an array of human emotion.
Set in Charlotte, NC, Russel Green is married, a successful advertising career, a beautiful home, savings, and a young five -year old daughter, London. However, with the economy and other unforeseen events, he is now, jobless.
His attempt at a new business gets off to a slow start. He stands to lose it all. He is clueless how to navigate this life storm while his wife tends to control, continues her shopping, her non-supportive, non-communicative style, and her own agenda (which does not include Russ).
His wife, Vivian which has been a homemaker goes back to work, leaving Russ to manage the role of Mr. Mom. His marriage is on the rocks. He has lost his confidence. He loses many things; however, he also gains a strong father-daughter bond and reconnects with his past love.
With a strong family unit, we also meet his lovely supportive family and readers fall in love with his wise sister and her partner. Russell’s parents; his sister, Marge; and her partner, Liz; play an integral role in his survival after his emotional train wreck life.
As Russ makes his way through a divorce and a custody battle. There is illness, death, grief, despair, adultery and yet there is joy, hope, and unconditional love. Courage, healing, and rediscovery.
To celebrate his twentieth anniversary with this special book, Sparks embarks on a project with the collaboration of talented musician JD Eicher, with an original soundtrack for Two by Two that accompanies the novel. With a series of wonderful songs to express the emotion of the novel which includes original composition Two by Two, named after the novel.
Highly recommend the audiobook, narrated by Ari Fliakosand accompanied by the music from JD Eicher, and includes an interview with the author.
A faithful fan, having read all of Nicholas Sparks books and watched all his movies, I can truthfully say, no one can make you cry as hard, during a movie or book as he does. He reaches down into the hearts and souls of his characters to the hidden part and exposes the hurt, pain, loss and love. There is always an important life lesson to be learned.
Signature Sparks- you know there will be sorrow and joy, and someone most likely will die but there will be rebirth from another relationship or self-discovery along the way. Human emotion is always involved on every level.
Two by Two is a little different than his previous books. A little lengthy and slow moving with domestic suspense and interactions. Cracks and fissures of a marriage. The storms of life.
I will admit, I somewhat missed his multi-generational characters where there are two timelines going on (two couples), even though we do get to visit a past dating relationship to relive some of those moments and a glimpse into his sister's relationship. As mentioned previously, Sparks always delivers a unique story, so there is always an element of surprise.
One of the main draws for me, in addition to the author; being a native of Charlotte, NC (where the book is set)—I still have family in the area, and enjoy the way Sparks highlights the maps and the different settings of his books on his website, which adds a nice personal touch. Also resided in Atlanta, GA most of my adult life, where the story takes us as well.
From an online interview Sparks: “I write dramatic fiction, and the core of what I try to do is to move the reader through all the emotions of life, so that by the time they finish reading the story, they feel like they’ve lived a mini life. And that’s different—that is the real purpose, of dramatic fiction, to move them through all of the emotions of life.”
Indeed, he accomplishes his goal in a "big way".
Oct Must Reads
Presenting a sneak peek for the Two by Two song! Read More
About the Author
photo credit: Brad Styron Photography
Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. All of his books have been New York Times bestsellers, with over 100 million copies sold worldwide, in more than 50 languages, including over 65 million copies in the United States alone.
Sparks wrote one of his best-known stories, The Notebook, over a period of six months at age 28. It was published in 1996 by Warner Books. He followed with the novels Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), True Believer (2005) and its sequel, At First Sight (2005), Dear John (2006), The Choice (2007), The Lucky One (2008), The Last Song (2009), Safe Haven (2010), The Best of Me (2011), and The Longest Ride (2013), as well as the 2004 non-fiction memoir Three Weeks With My Brother, co-written with his brother Micah. His eighteenth novel, See Me, was published on October 13, 2015.
The Choice, Sparks’s eleventh film adaptation and on which he served as a Producer, opened in February 5, 2016. Including last year’s The Longest Ride, along with The Best of Me, Safe Haven, The Lucky One, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John and The Last Song, adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels have a cumulative worldwide gross of over three-quarters of a billion dollars. Read More
Congrats, Nicholas on your 20th Book!
Inspiration for Two By Two
As a father of three boys and twin girls, I couldn’t be more aware of the unique relationships parents have with each of their children. In Two By Two, I chose to delve into the bond between a father and daughter, exploring the challenges, the risks and of course the rewards.
This is a powerful story of unconditional love, not only between these two characters but also with the family members that surround them. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned, but it’s how you take each step forward, how you mend or break bonds, that can define your future. This novel allowed me to examine the emotional reserves we all have as families and how we can strengthen those in time.
Set in my home town of Charlotte, NC!
In the southern foothills lies the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte. Against the modern skyline is a chic urban arts scene that mixes with turn-of-the-century architecture and traditional thoroughfares. Originally called Charlottetowne, the city was named in honor of the wife of King George II, Charlotte of Mecklenburg. Today, boutiques and cafes adorn tree-lined streets where vintage factory buildings and grand Southern estates mingle with top museums, savory food trucks and the NASCAR Hall of Fame—making this the perfect spot for couples to stroll and families to spend time together.