Do you remember your first love? Was it just a high school fling or the real thing? In 1995 for sixteen year old Maggie Dawes, Bryce Trickett was the real deal.
It's now December 2019 and Maggie finds herself grounded in the gallery she runs. A sobering medical diagnosis has her reliving and recounting her past to the young man who is her assistant.
The past takes us to the North Carolina island of Okracoke - a real place I would love to visit. It is here that Maggie goes to live with her aunt and finish up her school year. She's fallen behind, so Bryce is hired as her tutor... Uh huh, they become friends and more. Sparks does a great job building the relationship in a thoughtful, caring manner. And it was easy to see how the two fell in love. The setting is absolutely wonderfully drawn as well. The supporting cast on the island are people you'd want to have in your own life - Aunt Linda especially.
Sparks flips the narrative from past to present, with Maggie's story slowly coming to light. And just when you're totally caught up in either past or present, the time frame changes. A guaranteed way to keep me up late turning pages. Now, the present is not a static time. Christmas is around the corner and Maggie and Mark decorate and take in events and experiences, many of them based on Maggie's memories of Okracoke. Which made me want to start decorating already!
Now, you just know that Sparks is going to play on your emotions - and yes, I bawled my eyes out in the last few chapters. And I was pretty sure I knew what the final pages (and I was right.) But, I really enjoyed the journey there. Heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Sparks is a consummate story teller and this newest only confirms that. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Wish.