PRAISE FOR Nights in Rodanthe
AND #1 NEW YORK TIMES
BESTSELLING AUTHOR NICHOLAS SPARKS
“Extremely hard to put down… a love story and a good love story at that.”
“The master of the love story genre… vivid characters… He’s also adept at bringing a
background to life.”
“Worth spending a night with.”
“With immeasurable intensity and precision… Sparks is once again exploring the mysterious
ways of the heart.”
A Bend in the Road
“Sweet, accessible, uplifting… expect instant bestsellerdom.”
“A powerful tale of true love.”
“A charming and thoughtful love story… Don’t miss it; this is a book that’s light on the
surface but with subtle depths.”
“A moving story. Nicholas Sparks fans will love it.”
“A modern master of fateful love stories.”
“A romantic page-turner… Sparks’s fans won’t be disappointed.”
“All of Sparks’s trademark elements—love, loss, and small-town life—are present in this
A Walk to Remember
“An extraordinary book… touching, at times riveting… a book you won’t soon forget.”
—Sunday New York Post
“A sweet tale of young but everlasting love.”
“Bittersweet… a tragic yet spiritual love story.”
“Sparks proves once again that he is a master at pulling heartstrings… it will enthrall
Sparks’s numerous fans.”
Booklist— Message in a Bottle “The novel’s unabashed emotion—and an unexpected turn—will put tears in your eyes.” —People “Glows with moments of tenderness… has the potential to delve deeply into the mysteries of
eternal love.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer “Deeply moving, beautifully written, and extremely romantic.” —Booklist “Brew the tea or pour a glass of wine—whatever is your pleasure. And settle in… you’re in
for another treat.” —Oakland Press The Notebook “Nicholas Sparks… will not let you go. His novel shines.” —Dallas Morning News “Proves that good things come in small packages… a classic tale of love.” —Christian Science Monitor “The lyrical beauty of this touching love story… will captivate the heart of every reader…
and establish Nicholas Sparks as a gifted novelist.” —Denver Rocky Mountain News
Also by Nicholas Sparks The Notebook Message in a Bottle A Walk to Remember The Rescue A Bend in the Road The Guardian The Wedding Three Weeks with My Brother (with Micah Sparks) True Believer At First Sight Dear John The Choice
Copyright This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Copyright ? 2002 by Nicholas Sparks All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the
publisher. Grand Central Publishing Hachette Book Group 237 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017 Visit our website at www.HachetteBookGroup.com. Originally published in hardcover by Hachette Book Group USA. First eBook Edition: September 2002 Grand Central Publishing is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Grand Central Publishing name and logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-7595-2728-7 Contents Praise for Nights in Rodanthe Also by Nicholas Sparks Copyright Acknowledgments Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen
For Landon, Lexie, and Savannah
as with all my novels, couldn’t have been written without the patience,Nights in Rodanthe,
love, and support of my wife, Cathy. She only gets more beautiful every year.
Since the dedication is to my other three children, I have to acknowledge both Miles and Ryan(who got a dedication in Message in a Bottle). I love you guys!
I’d also like to thank Theresa Park and Jamie Raab, my agent and editor respectively. Not onlydo they both have wonderful instincts, but they never let me slide when it comes to mywriting. Though I sometimes grumble about the challenges this presents, the final product iswhat it is because of those two. If they like the story, odds are that you will, too.
Larry Kirshbaum and Maureen Egen at Warner Books also deserve my thanks. When I go to New York,spending time with them is like visiting with my family. They’ve made Warner Books awonderful home for me.
Denise Di Novi, the producer of both Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember, is not only
skilled at what she does, but someone I trust and respect. She’s a good friend, and shedeserves my thanks for all she has done—and still does—for me.
Richard Green and Howie Sanders, my agents in Hollywood, are great friends, great people, andgreat at what they do. Thanks, guys.
Scott Schwimer, my attorney and friend, always watches out for me. Thank you.
In publicity, I have to thank Jennifer Romanello, Emi Battaglia, and Edna Farley; Flag and therest of the cover design people; Courtenay Valenti and Lorenzo De Bonaventura ofWarner Bros.; Hunt Lowry and Ed Gaylord II, of Gaylord Films; Mark Johnson and Lynn Harris ofNew Line Cinema; they have all been great to work with. Thanks, everyone.
Mandy Moore and Shane West were both wonderful in A Walk to Remember, and I appreciate their
enthusiasm for the project.
Then there is family (who might get a kick out of seeing their names here): Micah, Christine,Alli, and Peyton; Bob, Debbie, Cody, and Cole; Mike and Parnell; Henrietta, Charles,and Glenara; Duke and Marge; Dianne and John; Monte and Gail; Dan and Sandy; Jack, Carlin, Joe,Elaine, and Mark; Michelle and Lemont; Paul, John, and Caroline; Tim, Joannie, and Papa Paul.
And, of course, how can I forget Paul and Adrienne?
Three years earlier, on a warm November morning in 1999, Adrienne Willis had returned to theInn and at first glance had thought it unchanged, as if the small Inn were imperviousto sun and sand and salted mist. The porch had been freshly painted, and shiny black shutterssandwiched rectangular white-curtained windows on both floors like offset piano keys. The cedarsiding was the color of dusty snow. On either side of the building, sea oats waved agreeting, and sand formed a curving dune that changed imperceptibly with each passing day asindividual grains shifted from one spot to the next.
With the sun hovering among the clouds, the air had a luminescent quality, as though particlesof light were suspended in the haze, and for a moment Adrienne felt she’d traveledback in time. But looking closer, she gradually began to notice changes that cosmetic workcouldn’t hide: decay at the corners of the windows, lines of rust along the roof, water stainsnear the gutters. The Inn seemed to be winding down, and though she knew there wasnothing she could do to change it, Adrienne remembered closing her eyes, as if to magicallyblink it back to what it had once been.
Now, standing in the kitchen of her own home a few months into her sixtieth year, Adrienne hungup the phone after speaking with her daughter. She sat at the table, reflecting onthat last visit to the Inn, remembering the long weekend she’d once spent there. Despite allthat had happened in the years that had passed since then, Adrienne still held tight to thebelief that love was the essence of a full and wonderful life.
Outside, rain was falling. Listening to the gentle tapping against the glass, she was thankfulfor its steady sense of familiarity. Remembering those days always aroused a mixtureof emotions in her—something akin to, but not quite, nostalgia. Nostalgia was oftenromanticized; with these memories, there was no reason to make them any more romantic than theyalready were. Nor did she share these memories with others. They were hers, and overthe years, she’d come to view them as a sort of museum exhibit, one in which she was both thecurator and the only patron. And in an odd way, Adrienne had come to believe that she’d
learned more in those five days than she had in all the years before or after.
She was alone in the house. Her children were grown, her father had passed away in 1996, andshe’d been divorced from Jack for seventeen years now. Though her sons sometimesurged her to find someone to spend her remaining years with, Adrienne had no desire to do so.It wasn’t that she was wary of men; on the contrary, even now she occasionally found her eyesdrawn to younger men in the supermarket. Since they were sometimes only a few yearsolder than her own children, she was curious about what they would think if they noticed herstaring at them. Would they dismiss her out of hand? Or would they smile back at her,finding her interest charming? She wasn’t sure. Nor did she know if it was possible for themto look past the graying hair and wrinkles and see the woman she used to be.
Not that she regretted being older. People nowadays talked incessantly about the glories ofyouth, but Adrienne had no desire to be young again. Middle-aged, maybe, but notyoung. True, she missed some things—bounding up the stairs, carrying more than one bag ofgroceries at a time, or having the energy to keep up with the grandchildren as they racedaround the yard—but she’d gladly exchange them for the experiences she’d had, andthose came only with age. It was the fact that she could look back on life and realize shewouldn’t have changed much at all that made sleep come easy these days.
Besides, youth had its problems. Not only did she remember them from her own life, but she’dwatched her children as they’d struggled through the angst of adolescence and theuncertainty and chaos of their early twenties. Even though two of them were now in theirthirties and one was almost there, she sometimes wondered when motherhood would become lessthan a full-time job.
Matt was thirty-two, Amanda was thirty-one, and Dan had just turned twenty-nine. They’d allgone to college, and she was proud of that, since there’d been a time when shewasn’t sure any of them would. They were honest, kind, and self-sufficient, and for the mostpart, that was all she’d ever wanted for them. Matt worked as an accountant, Dan was thesportscaster on the evening news out in Greenville, and both were married withfamilies of their own. When they’d come over for Thanksgiving, she remembered sitting off tothe side and watching them scurry after their children, feeling strangely satisfied at the way
everything had turned out for her sons.
As always, things were a little more complicated for her daughter.
The kids were fourteen, thirteen, and eleven when Jack moved out of the house, and each childhad dealt with the divorce in a different way. Matt and Dan took out their aggressionon the athletic fields and by occasionally acting up in school, but Amanda had been the mostaffected. As the middle child sandwiched between brothers, she’d always been the mostsensitive, and as a teenager, she’d needed her father in the house, if only todistract from the worried stares of her mother. She began dressing in what Adrienne consideredrags, hung with a crowd that stayed out late, and swore she was deeply in love with atleast a dozen different boys over the next couple of years. After school, she spent hours inher room listening to music that made the walls vibrate, ignoring her mother’s calls fordinner. There were periods when she would barely speak to her mother or brothers fordays.
It took a few years, but Amanda had eventually found her way, settling into a life that feltstrangely similar to what Adrienne once had. She met Brent in college, and theymarried after graduation and had two kids in the first few years of marriage. Like many youngcouples, they struggled financially, but Brent was prudent in a way that Jack never had been.As soon as their first child was born, he bought life insurance as a precaution,though neither expected that they would need it for a long, long time.
They were wrong.
Brent had been gone for eight months now, the victim of a virulent strain of testicular cancer.Adrienne had watched Amanda sink into a deep depression, and yesterday afternoon, whenshe dropped off the grandchildren after spending some time with them, she found the drapes attheir house drawn, the porch light still on, and Amanda sitting in the living room in herbathrobe with the same vacant expression she’d worn on the day of the funeral.
It was then, while standing in Amanda’s living room, that Adrienne knew it was time to tellher daughter about the past.
Fourteen years. That’s how long it had been.
In all those years, Adrienne had told only one person about what had happened, but her fatherhad died with the secret, unable to tell anyone even if he’d wanted to.
Her mother had passed away when Adrienne was thirty-five, and though they’d had a goodrelationship, she’d always been closest to her father. He was, she still thought, oneof two men who’d ever really understood her, and she missed him now that he was gone. His lifehad been typical of so many of his generation. Having learned a trade instead of going tocollege, he’d spent forty years in a furniture manufacturing plant working for anhourly wage that increased by pennies each January. He wore fedoras even during the warm summermonths, carried his lunch in a box with squeaky hinges, and left the house promptly atsix forty-five every morning to walk the mile and a half to work.
In the evenings after dinner, he wore a cardigan sweater and long-sleeved shirts. His wrinkledpants lent a disheveled air to his appearance that grew more pronounced as the yearswore on, especially after the passing of his wife. He liked to sit in the easy chair with theyellow lamp glowing beside him, reading genre westerns and books about World War II. In thefinal years before his strokes, his old-fashioned spectacles, bushy eyebrows, anddeeply lined face made him look more like a retired college professor than the blue-collar
worker he had been.
There was a peacefulness about her father that she’d always yearned to emulate. He would havemade a good priest or minister, she’d often thought, and people who met him for thefirst time usually walked away with the impression that he was at peace with himself and theworld. He was a gifted listener; with his chin resting in his hand, he never let his gaze strayfrom people’s faces as they spoke, his expression mirroring empathy and patience,humor and sadness. Adrienne wished that he were around for Amanda right now; he, too, had losta spouse, and she thought Amanda would listen to him, if only because he knew how hardit really was.
A month ago, when Adrienne had gently tried to talk to Amanda about what she was going through,Amanda had stood up from the table with an angry shake of her head.
“This isn’t like you and Dad,” she’d said. “You two couldn’t work out your problems, soyou divorced. But I loved Brent. I’ll always love Brent, and I lost him. You don’tknow what it’s like to live through something like that.”
Adrienne had said nothing, but when Amanda left the room, Adrienne had lowered her head andwhispered a single word.
While Adrienne sympathized with her daughter, she was concerned about Amanda’s children. Maxwas six, Greg was four, and in the past eight months, Adrienne had noticed distinctchanges in their personalities. Both had become unusually withdrawn and quiet. Neither hadplayed soccer in the fall, and though Max was doing well in kindergarten, he cried everymorning before he had to go. Greg had started to wet the bed again and would fly intotantrums at the slightest provocation. Some of these changes stemmed from the loss of theirfather, Adrienne knew, but they also reflected the person that Amanda had become sincelast spring.
Because of the insurance, Amanda didn’t have to work. Nonetheless, for the first couple ofmonths after Brent had died, Adrienne spent nearly every day at their house, keepingthe bills in order and preparing meals for the children, while Amanda slept and wept in herroom. She held her daughter whenever Amanda needed it, listened when Amanda wanted to talk, andforced her daughter to spend at least an hour or two outside each day, in the beliefthat fresh air would remind her daughter that she could begin anew.
Adrienne had thought her daughter was getting better. By early summer, Amanda had begun tosmile again, infrequently at first, then a little more often. She ventured out intothe town a few times, took the kids roller-skating, and Adrienne gradually began pulling backfrom the duties she was shouldering. It was important, she knew, for Amanda to resumeresponsibility for her own life again. Comfort could be found in the steady routinesof life, Adrienne had learned; she hoped that by decreasing her presence in her daughter’slife, Amanda would be forced to realize that, too.
But in August, on the day that would have been her seventh wedding anniversary, Amanda openedthe closet door in the master bedroom, saw dust collecting on the shoulders ofBrent’s suits, and suddenly stopped improving. She didn’t exactly regress—there were stillmoments when she seemed her old self—but for the most part, she seemed to be frozen somewherein between. She was neither depressed nor happy, neither excited nor languid, neitherinterested nor bored by anything around her. To Adrienne, it seemed as if Amanda had becomeconvinced that moving forward would somehow tarnish her memories of Brent, and she’d made
the decision not to allow that to happen.
But it wasn’t fair to the children. They needed her guidance and her love, they needed herattention. They needed her to tell them that everything was going to be all right.They’d already lost one parent, and that was hard enough. But lately, it seemed to Adriennethat they’d lost their mother as well.