For those of you who come here to read reviews of historical and contemporary romance, you may be initially disappointed with this particular review.  I promise you, however, that you will not be disappointed with this book.  While Nicholas Sparks, the author of  The Notebook, A Walk To Remember and Message In A Bottle, to name just a few, is known for his contemporary and heartfelt writing, nothing he has done compares to this effort. Nothing.

Brothers Nicholas and Micah Sparks decide, in the winter of 2003, to take a three week trip around the world; no small feat as they both have to leave their wives (with their blessing) and a combination of 7 children between them in order to do it.  The book opens with  a brief family history and then describes Nicholas’ reticence and Micah’s exuberance over the commitment the trip entails, a small insight into their personalities. The book describes this journey in wonderful detail from start to finish. However, what makes it special, and so much more than just a travel log, it how Mr. Sparks weaves the life story of the Sparks family, chapter by chapter, into the trip. This once in a lifetime adventure is meant to bring Micah and Nicholas some time together after a tumultuous and heart-wrenching decade.  We get the feeling that by spending that time together, these two brothers make sense of their upbringing,  their relationship, the good times and the tragedies, and how they came to be the men they are.

Why should we care, you ask?  We care for the same reason we love good fiction; because the story and the characters engage and transport us in some way.  The same is true of this book, in more ways than one. Nicholas Sparks can weave a story, and while I’m not sure how much direct input Micah had in the actual writing of this book it’s interesting to note that while the story is from Nicholas’ perspective most of the time, and in his voice all the time, he gave his brother equal credit as author. That basically says it all about the relationship between these two.

If you are someone’s sibling, son, daughter, father, mother, husband or wife, in fact, if you have any human relationships at all, this book will touch you in some way.  I guarantee it.

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