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Nicholas Sparks is a consummate author of stories about mature relationships where couples with flawed histories discover one another. "The Rescue" demonstrates all of Sparks' undoubted skills in writing this kind of book with a fair dose of tear jerking thrown in for good measure.
Single mother Denise Holton is driving home during a bad storm when she swerves to avoid an animal on the road and her car skids off the road, knocking her out and trapping her. When volunteer fireman Taylor McAden rescues Denise the back door of the car is open and her four-year-old son Kyle, a boy with severe learning and speaking disabilities, has disappeared into the surrounding forest. Taylor leads a search team to find Kyle in the dark during an intense rainstorm. The search is made more difficult because Kyle is not able to answer their calls.
Denise's life as a single mother with a young son with learning difficulties has been hard. She has recently moved to the small town of Edenton, North Carolina, spending most of the day teaching Kyle and working the late shift as a waitress. It has been a lonely life which has not left any time to make friends or have a relationship.
Taylor has always been a loner who feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives but something in his past has made it impossible for him to have a serious relationship. A tender connection between Taylor and Denise, and especially with Kyle, develops. Taylor has to face his past if this relationship can continue.
I read some of Nicholas Sparks' books as an interlude from my regular diet of sometimes pretty heavy thrillers. This one gave me the interlude I needed and once again this was a good tear jerking tale about complex human relationships. This time, probably, because I have read a few of Sparks books with similar themes, the story was a little bit too predictable, especially the Epilogue.