Sparks's 1996 debut novel, The Notebook, was a fast and easy read that sold millions upon millions of copies. Other bestselling love stories followed (Message in a Bottle; A Walk to Remember; The Guardian), but Sparks's fans have from the very beginning eagerly anticipated a sequel to the romantic tale of Allie and Noah Calhoun. The wait is now over. Attorney Wilson Lewis has been married to Noah and Allie's daughter, Jane, for 30 years. Wilson and Jane have raised three children and lived a satisfying and prosperous life in the bucolic town of New Bern, N.C. After forgetting his anniversary, Wilson realizes that the passion and romance have gone out of his marriage and fears his wife no longer loves him. Being a methodical man, he decides to embark on a yearlong program to renew his romantic ties to his wife, seeking out the advice of Noah, who now spends his days in a retirement home feeding a swan he is sure is the reincarnation of his beloved Allie. In the midst of Wilson's machinations, his daughter Anna announces she is getting married. The upcoming wedding provides Wilson with the opportunity to bring his elaborate plan to fruition. Sparks tells his sweet story competently, without sinking too deeply into the mire of sentiment; a gasp-inducing twist comes at the very end. Satisfied female readers will close the covers with a sigh and a wish that a little of the earnest, too-good-to-be-true Wilson might rub off on their own bedmates. (Sept. 9)
Forecast:Megamarketing by Warner (TV, radio and print ads; 30-city tour) and an eager fan base could make this the author's biggest book to date.