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Landon Carter revisits his old home town in North Carolina forty years from his last year at school - a year he will never forget which moulded his life forever. He tells the reader "First you will smile, and then you will cry - don't say you haven't been warned."
At the time of the annual homecoming dance Landon has a big problem. As school captain he is obliged to go but he doesn't have a partner because he has just split up with his girl friend and all other girls he knows seem to have partners. As a last resort, with some timidity and reservations, he approaches Jamie Sullivan the daughter of a fiery and very protective Baptist preacher. Jamie agrees to go with him on one condition "You have to promise me that you won't fall in love with me."
There follows one of the most unusual coming-of age-relationships I have read between popular and outgoing Landon and protected, bible reading and shy Jamie. The story starts out slowly but grabs when the two people from two different backgrounds begin to understand one another. As usual Nicholas Sparks delivers what he promises in a unusual and sweet story of a remarkable relationship.