Title: See Me by Nicholas Sparks
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 496 pages
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
See me just as I see you . . .
Colin Hancock is giving his second chance his best shot. With a history of violence and bad decisions behind him and the threat of prison dogging his every step, he’s determined to walk a straight line. To Colin, that means applying himself single-mindedly toward his teaching degree and avoiding everything that proved destructive in his earlier life. Reminding himself daily of his hard-earned lessons, the last thing he is looking for is a serious relationship.
Maria Sanchez, the hardworking daughter of Mexican immigrants, is the picture of conventional success. With a degree from Duke Law School and a job at a prestigious firm in Wilmington, she is a dark-haired beauty with a seemingly flawless professional track record. And yet Maria has a traumatic history of her own, one that compelled her to return to her hometown and left her questioning so much of what she once believed.
A chance encounter on a rain-swept road will alter the course of both Colin and Maria’s lives, challenging deeply held assumptions about each other and ultimately, themselves. As love unexpectedly takes hold between them, they dare to envision what a future together could possibly look like . . . until menacing reminders of events in Maria’s past begin to surface.
As a series of threatening incidents wreaks chaos in Maria’s life, Maria and Colin will be tested in increasingly terrifying ways. Will demons from their past destroy the tenuous relationship they’ve begun to build, or will their love protect them, even in the darkest hour?
With the addition of a suspense element to the plot, See Me is a bit of a departure from Nicholas Sparks’ usual novels. With a riveting storyline, wonderfully developed, complex characters and a sweet love story, this latest release is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoy romantic suspense.
Maria Sanchez is the daughter of hardworking Mexican immigrants and she is close to them and her younger sister Serena. She has a strong work ethic and she is very dedicated to her career as an attorney. After working out of town for a few years, she returned to her hometown after becoming disillusioned in her previous job and while she still learning the ropes at her new firm, she puts in long hours preparing cases. Maria’s one serious relationship ended in heartbreak and she has not really dated anyone since the breakup. When a chance encounter leads to a little matchmaking by Serena, will Maria put aside her somewhat negative first impression and open herself to the possibility of a relationship with someone who is her complete opposite?
Colin Hancock has a rough background but he has finally taken the opportunity to turn his life around. In and out of trouble for most of his life, he fully accepts responsibility for his very checkered past and he makes no excuses for the mistakes he has made. He has made peace with his past and he is now working hard at keeping his issues under control while dedicating himself to completing his college degree. Colin is mostly serene and tranquil but when his protective side comes into play, he throws common sense out the window and reacts to situations with an intensity that is rather frightening to whomever is on the receiving end.
Despite their differences, Maria and Colin are a surprisingly compatible couple. In the beginning, Maria has a few reservations about Colin, but once she is able to get past her preconceived ideas about him, she enters into their relationship wholeheartedly. Their romance is not without problems, but they work through their issues and they remain committed to one another.
The suspense element of the storyline is very well done and slowly escalates over the course of the novel. The threats are rather vague initially but as they become more overt, Maria becomes more and more afraid. With an uncomfortable situation with a co-worker looming over her, she at first suspects this person might be behind what is happening but as the situation escalates, she finally realizes the incidents might be related to her previous career. But narrowing down the suspect pool is not easy and the perpetrator’s identity and motive is successfully concealed until nearly the end of the novel.
See Me is a captivating novel with an engaging cast of characters, a realistic romance and an intriguing mystery. The plot is refreshingly unique and the characters are well-developed with relatable flaws and failings. The suspense aspect of the story is credible and Nicholas Sparks brings the novel to a very dramatic and pulse pounding conclusion. An outstanding foray into romantic suspense that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to fans of the genre.