"Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She'd believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen."
In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.
Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew -- about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear -- was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?
Dawson Cole comes from an extremely dysfunctional family. Pretty much all of the males, including father, uncles, and cousins, have spent time in prison for violent crimes. Dawson himself spent 4 years in prison for accidentally running down the town’s doctor who was out jogging at the time he was hit. When Dawson is released from prison he moves far away from his hometown in Oriental and moves to Louisiana where has worked on an oil rig for the past number of years. He is almost killed when an explosion occurs on the rig but he was fortunate to escape unscathed.
Amanda Collier was Dawson’s first love and only love as a teenager. She is now married and has children. Dawson and Amanda haven’t seen each other in twenty years until they both receive a phone call from a lawyer in Oriental asking them both to come to his office on a certain day and at a certain time that their good friend, Tuck Hostetler, has passed away. Dawson doesn’t know that Amanda has been invited and Amanda doesn’t know Dawson has been invited. They have both been called to the lawyers’ office to carry out some specific wishes left by Tuck and he made it clear in his writings that he wanted both Dawson and Amanda present. Tuck was a mechanic who had taken Dawson in to live with him when he was a teenager so he could escape his father and cousins’ severe beatings. There are 3 letters left by Tuck for Amanda and Dawson. One is to be read when together only after they drive a few hours to a specific destination and the other 2 are to be read individually by Dawson and Amanda.
Not only does Dawson have to cope with the stress of seeing the woman he still loves after all these years, dealing with the grief over losing Tuck, and having to spread his ashes, he must also face his cousins Ted and Abee who are out for revenge on Dawson for the beating Dawson gave them years before. Ted wants him dead!! And, Abee is caught up in a romance of his own with a girl, Candy, who works at the Tidewater Bar and things deteriorate and come to a head inside that bar one fateful night.
This was a good read but I don’t think it is one of Sparks’ best. It’s a great story with a good storyline but lacked his usual flair. I would still recommend it to my friends though.