The Longest Ride
From the dark days of WWII to present-day North Carolina, this New York Times bestseller shares the lives of two couples overcoming destructive secrets—and finding joy together.
Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old, stranded, and injured after a car crash, he struggles to maintain consciousness—until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife, Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together—how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII, and the war's effect on their families. Ira knows Ruth can't possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior's life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she's used to encountering at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward—even life and death—loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans—a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he's keeping doesn't destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys beyond despair and beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart. The Longest Ride is a tale of timeless love, filled with unforgettable characters and unforeseen twists. It's a story about the choices we make, and how the most difficult decisions can lead us to where we were meant to be.
"Epic Sparks . . . showcases the author's most accomplished work to date . . . There are moments of perfection . . . Reaching not only young and old, the novel is commingled with enough cowboy action, literary flavor, and a maturing gift for dialogue to reach across the sexes."—Mountain Times (NC)
"These parallel love stories are each rich in their own right, but together, they tell a broader and more complicated tale of love's growth and evolution over time . . . some surprising twists right up until the very end."—BookReporter.com
“For Sparks, weighty matters of the day remain set pieces, furniture upon which to hang timeless tales of chaste longing and harsh fate.”—Washington Post
"Sparks is a poet . . . a master."—Philadelphia Inquirer