Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He's a writer, an original thinker-everything she's imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read. This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne. In it she pours out her heart about how she and her child's father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life. As Katie reads this touching document, it becomes clear that the lover who has just left her is the husband and father in this young family. She reads on, filled with terror and hope, as she struggles to understand what has happened-and whether her new love has a prayer of surviving.
Say what? A women's weepy from the megaselling author of the hard-boiled Alex Cross mysteries? Yes, and it's not the stretch some might imagine. Patterson has demonstrated his flair for female POV and characters in the stand-alone When the Wind Blows and in his current bestseller, 1st to Die and Cross himself has his gooey side. So how good is the novel? Good enough to lightly pluck the heartstrings and to impress with its craft and its calculation. As usual, Patterson mixes first- and third-person narration. Katie Wilkinson is a Manhattan book editor who's been inexplicably left by her lover and star author, a Martha's Vineyard poet named Matt. After he splits, Matt mails Katie the diary kept by his wife, Suzanne, for their young son. Katie reads it (the novel's extensive first-person passages) and reacts to it (briefer third-person interludes). The diary details how physician Suzanne, recovering from a heart attack at age 35, forsakes the rat race, moves to Martha's Vineyard and finds bliss with Matt, a housepainter who reads Moby-Dick and writes strong poems, and with their newborn son, Nicholas. The novel sloshes with sentiment (some of it quite icky) and simple spiritual truths, while acknowledging the reality of pain and loss: rose bushes galore, with thorns. Patterson sustains suspense through clever plotting and by Katie's wondering about the fate of Suzanne and Nicholas; what's finally revealed pushes her, and the novel, to a bittersweet conclusion. Patterson is one smart author (here, he dazzles with his use of refrains, stories-within-stories and romance novel tropes); this jump into another genre won't hurt his reputation as a master of popular lit. (July) Forecast: A lovely dust jacket featuring a title in violet script trumpets this as a love story. Will Patterson's fans buy it? Some mostly women yes. And a 12-city author tour and major print and TV publicity will draw in enough new fans, most of them also women, to float the title onto bestseller lists though not at Alex Cross numbers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-4 of the 4 most recent reviews
1 . One of my all-time favorites!
Posted January 28, 2010 by Michele , PhiladelphiaThis was one of my all-time favorite books. I don't often read books more than once but I always pull this one out every few years to re-read.
2 . Yes, this is a love story... and a good one
Posted September 01, 2009 by Danielle , MontrealI just love the way the book is written, from the diary section to the narrator. You feel that you want to meet the different characters.
3 . Nice
Posted June 03, 2009 by New Reader , FindlayA bit too predictable but nice.
4 . One of James Patterson's best
Posted January 14, 2009 by Bird , Barrie, OntarioThis book is a very quick read... and will have you hooked from page one. One of my favourite books.
Little, Brown and Company
July 30, 2003
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
KATIE WILKINSON sat in warm bathwater in the weird but wonderful old-fashioned porcelain tub in her New York apartment. The apartment exuded "old" and "worn" in ways that practitioners of shabby chic couldn't begin to imagine. Katie's Persian cat, Guinevere, looking like a favorite gray wool sweater, was perched on the sink. Her black Labrador, Merlin, sat in the doorway leading to the bedroom. They watched Katie as if they were afraid for her.
She lowered her head when she finished reading the diary and set the leatherbound book on the wooden stool beside the tub. Her body shivered. Then she started to sob, and Katie saw that her hands were shaking. She was losing it, and she didn't lose it often. She was a strong person, and always had been. Katie whispered words she'd once heard in her father's church in Asheboro, North Carolina. "Oh, Lord, oh, Lord, are you anywhere, my Lord?"
She could never have imagined that this small volume would have such a disturbing effect on her. Of course, it wasn't just the diary that had forced her into this state of confusion and duress.
No, it wasn't just Suzanne's diary for Nicholas.
She visualized Suzanne in her mind. Katie saw her at her quaint cottage on Beach Road on Martha's Vineyard.
Then little Nicholas. Twelve months old, with the most brilliant blue eyes.
And finally, Matt.
And Katie's former lover.
What did she think of Matt now? Could she ever forgive him? She wasn't sure. But at least she finally understood some of what had happened. The diary had told her bits and pieces of what she needed to know, as well as deep, painful secrets that maybe she didn't need to know.
Katie slipped down farther into the water, and found herself thinking back to the day she had received the diary July 19.
Remembering the day started her crying again.
ON THE morning of the nineteenth, Katie had felt drawn to the Hudson River, and then to the Circle Line, the boat ride around Manhattan Island that she and Matt had first taken as a total goof but had enjoyed so much that they kept coming back.
She boarded the first boat of the day. She was feeling sad, but also angry. Oh, God, she didn't know what she was feeling.
The early boat wasn't too crowded with tourists. She took a seat near the rail of the upper deck and watched New York from the unique vantage point of the brooding waterways surrounding it.
A few people noticed her sitting there alone especially the men.
Katie usually stood out in a crowd. She was tall almost six feet, with warm, friendly blue eyes. She had always thought of herself as gawky and felt that people were staring at her for all the wrong reasons. Her friends begged to differ; they said she was close to breathtaking, stunning in her strength. Katie always responded, "Uh-huh, sure, don't I wish." She didn't see herself that way and knew she never would. She was an ordinary, regular person. A North Carolina farm girl at heart.