Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Nights in Rodanthe

by Nicholas Sparks
read by JoBeth Williams

      Nicholas Sparks, author of Message in a Bottle and The Notebook (both also reviewed on brings us Nights in Rodanthe, a story reminiscent of The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. The story is told in flashback through the eyes of Adrienne Willis, a middle-aged divorcee. When she agrees to watch over a bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, a quaint little town in North Carolina, she meets Paul Flannery, also divorced.

Adrienne is an example of a classic housewife. She married and had three kids, but her husband left her for another woman. She is saddled with the care of her chronically-ill father, and has no luck trying to date. Paul is a classic work-a-holic husband/absentee father who amasses a virtual empire, yet cannot understand why his wife has left him and his son has come to despise him. Each character finds solace and healing at Rodanthe, giving one another a new take on life through their romance.

There are other storylines intricately woven into the story that give different perspectives on each character. For instance, Paul Flannery is involved in a wrongful death suit for which he feels terribly guilty. With Adrienne's guidance, he learns to see the other side and realizes that there is nothing he can do to ease the pain of the grieving family. Meanwhile, Adrienne tells the story of her time in Rodanthe in an attempt to reach her grief-stricken daughter.

While Sparks' very detailed beginning adds depth to the characters, it can be a bit excessive, though he brings each storyline to a close with at least some sense of resolution. Nights in Rodanthe brings home the point that what is really important in life is not always material, but also emotional and spiritual; that to have the love of just one person can transcend the sadness of an entire lifetime. For those who like bittersweet romances, this book fulfills that need.

Reader of the audio book version is JoBeth Williams. JoBeth Williams, an acclaimed actress from such films as The Big Chill and Poltergeist, brought the story of Nights in Rodanthe to life with her dazzling voice and strong characterization. With each character, she showed grace and the ability to sense each vulnerability, each nuance. Her delightful voice and exuberance shined throughout her reading of Nights in Rodanthe. I hope that she comes to do more audio books, as she would be an asset to each one with her brilliant senses and characterizations.

The Book

Hachette Audio
August 5, 2008
Unabridged Audio CD
160024291X / 978-1600242915
Fiction / General
More at

The Reviewer

Stormy Beasley
Reviewed 2008
© 2008