Amazon appetizer: Is there really such a thing as a good luck charm? Ex-soldier Logan Thibault thinks he just might have found one. Haunted by memories of the friends he lost in Iraq, Logan knows how fortunate he is to be home. He believes that a photograph he carried with him, a picture of a smiling woman he's never met, kept him safe. Even though he knows nothing about this woman, he hopes she might hold the key to his destiny. Resolving to find her, Logan embarks on a journey of startling discovery. Beth, the woman whose picture he holds, is struggling with problems of her own: her volatile ex-husband won't accept their relationship is over and threatens anyone who gets too close to her. And, despite a growing attraction between them, Logan has kept one explosive secret from Beth: how he came across her photograph in the first place ...
My thoughts: This was the second novel I read from Nicholas Sparks, and though after Dear John I concluded his writing was not for me I couldn't resist picking up The Lucky One because of its exciting plot (see above) (as I have already confessed, I'm a huge war-time-romance junkie).
I enjoyed reading The Lucky One, the plot was exactly what the blurb led me to expect, no disappointments there.
The characters were interesting and I loved that Sparks made them complex, he gave them history, memories, backgrounds and thoughts. Ben also became a little 3D kid, so real I could completely picture him in his glasses playing chess seriously. Nana and her sayings sometimes made me wonder, trying to decipher the hidden meaning behind her words and when I did, it made me laugh, she definitely is a character!
My only compliant in the character development compartment is Keith Clayton, the ex-husband of Beth and father of Ben. Sparks made him a true villain: a creepy pervert, a bully who's having anger issues and exploits his child. I'm sorry he made him such a one-dimensional bad character, it would have been better for the novel if he had given him a few qualities to accompany all these faults.
I also loved the structure of the novel, that we got to know Logan and the meaning behind some of his actions and decisions chapter by chapter through flashbacks as he remembered his tours in Iraq and his time with his mates and Victor.
I think one of the strongest trait of the novel was Sparks' vivid description of the southern life: I could feel the heat, the humidity and completely picture the setting, the narrative really transported me to the scene of the story.
My second complaint is regarding the ending of the novel. I felt it too forced, it was Sparks' way to tie up all the loose ends by taking Keith out of the picture, but making amends by making him a hero in the end. I didn't like the end.
Cover: 7/10 (this is a recurring error with Nicholas Sparks' books that the cover girl never matches the description of the heroine: in The Lucky One Beth is blonde with blue eyes, and the cover girl is a brunette..)