Safe Haven

By Nicholas Sparks

346,078 ratings - 4.21* vote

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a captivating love story filled with suspense and mystery.When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws he From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a captivating love story filled with suspense and mystery.When a

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Book details

Kindle Edition, 353 pages
September 14th 2010 by Grand Central Publishing

(first published 2010)

Original Title
Safe Haven
Edition Language

Community Reviews

K.D. Absolutely

I almost liked this book. Almost an added star.

This is my 4th Sparks book. Message in a Bottle (2 stars). The Lucky One (1 star). Three Weeks With My Brother (1 star).

This is the winning book for February 2011 Bestseller Book chosen by The Filipino Group here in Goodreads. I bought this book at regular price. I waited for the mass paperback (cheaper) edition but it is almost a year now since this book came out. February just started and I was about to open the thread (I am one of the moderators of that group) so I grabbed me a copy. I am saying this just to explain that I have to love this book because I spent a fortune for it and I should try to entice members to read by coming up with a fair review.

Which is a roller coaster.

First hundred pages:
Typical Sparks. Reading him is like eating at McDonalds. You know the taste. No surprises. If you want quick fix to your hunger, you pass by an outlet. Quality food at reasonable price. What I am saying is that there is nothing wrong with Nicholas Sparks' novels. You want romance, you get romance. You just read to be entertained, you get entertained. You don't want mind-boggling read, you just read and no need to think. You get what you expect.

Second hundred pages:
So I thought. Because suddenly, Nicholas Sparks made a detour. Unlike the first 3 books, he tried to become something that he hasn't done before. He tried to write a suspense thriller novel. Ala Ken Follett. Sparks caught my attention. He pulled it off as he stole some of my sleeping time. I slept only for only 3 hours that night as I got caught up with the mystery behind Katie (who turns out to be Erin) and how is her life being a battered wife. Totally unexpected. Definitely no hums-hums in the wee hours of the morning!

Last 50 pages:
Unfortunately, this part did not fly for me. It seems too ordinary. Even that revelation about Jo. Seems contrived and I read and saw many of that in this lifetime: The Sixth Sense (movie), The Others (movie), Pedro Paramo (book). Even the battered wife part. I saw or read about it in Sleeping with the Enemy (Julia Robert's novel), Black and Blue (book) and I supposed most of those Oprah books. So when I closed the book and went through the plot in my mind, I just did not like the whole story. Sparks tried to make Kevin's character multilayered and it was a nice try but Sparks did not explain his background. I thought that a page or two of his life as a child could make a lot of difference. Alex and his children seem like not characters at all. They are like stuff toys with what I think are so-typical characterizations. They are like movie starlets trying to win people by smiling a lot and saying all the right things.

But this doesn't mean that I will not drop by a McDonald's outlet anymore. I mean we, once in a while, get hungry and have just enough money (for a burger) to spend, right?


Opening line:“As Katie wound her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair."

Wow, this is definitely one of the better Sparks books I’ve read, I sure hope he keeps going in this darker, less sappy direction with the next book too. I picked up SAFE HAVEN during a very busy time in my life and still found it unputdownable. Full of twists and turns, mystery and surprise and a HUGE suspense factor throughout. Of course we also get the romance (nicely done) and it again takes place in a small North Carolina town (write what you know) but this was way darker then anything of Sparks’ I’ve read before.

With a slowly and deliciously unravelling story, we don’t ever get a huge background dump with any of the characters multiple POV’s instead their lives, secrets and issues are gradually introduced, which I loved. And the bad guy here, jeez he was horrible, and I mean that in a good way. The kind of character that you love to hate, but I also really enjoyed getting into his head, as he slowly fell apart. Intriguing, creepy and well written. I highly recommended this one even for those non-Nicholas Sparks fans; I think you’ll be surprised.

The story here is somewhat reminiscent of (A Bend in the Road)but way better, it also reminded me very much of that older Julia Roberts movie (Sleeping With the Enemy) but again its better then that too. I won’t give away too much here with the synopsis, its well worth discovering on your own. Cheers.

Katie is on the run, but the good people of Southport don’t know that, they’re too busy wondering what the pretty new waitresses’ story is and why she keeps to herself so much, after all everyone here knows everybody else. For the first time in months Katie is allowing herself to breathe again, she’s found a good paying job, a secluded place to live, and avoiding any personal ties should allow her enough time here to save some real money before she has to move on again.

What she hadn’t counted on was being drawn into the lives of anyone in this small town. First it was her outspoken single neighbour Jo, who only made her realize how much she missed having friends and then it was Alex, the widowed shop owner and his two adorable children. Slowly Katie is letting her guard down, growing attached and falling in love, allowing herself to dream of a future with a man that won’t hurt her. But Kevin is good and he’s on her trail.

I’ve just learned that this is going to be made into a movie, can’t wait. I just got a chill


2.5 rounded up

It's not so much that there is anything bad about this book, it is just that it is.... boring. A very large portion of the story is devoted to describing the day to day life of the characters who live in a small, seaside town. What one does as they get up, what they eat, how they cook, the routine conversations between family members, what they buy at the grocery store, which tablecloth to put out etc. etc., comprises not only most of the book, but each of our own daily lives. While familiar, it's NOT what most sit down to read about. We all live it. It does not need to be explained to us. We KNOW already! Most people choose to read for an escape from the workaday life, not to endlessly re-hash it. That, along with the over-the-top climax makes this a rather disappointing attempt by a talented author.


This book, in my opinion, was completely different from any other book I've read of Sparks'. And that is a good thing! I would classify this book as a romantic suspense, or even a suspense in general. There were many instances where my heart was racing, and I couldn't find the strength to put the book down. And, as with all of Sparks' book, I found myself tearing up in parts. But not for the normal mushy-gushy reasons. Instead, I was crying because of the traumatic events taking place, and the horror I felt for the main character. The pace of this book was an excellent break from the normal, and I think any Sparks fan will love this book, regardless of the fact that it's so different! Sparks is a great writer, and that definitely shows in Safe Haven.


That ending! I did not see that coming... Ahhhh I'm literally speechless and my heart is racing!


I should start off by saying that I already knew I would love this book before actually reading it. I've been a huge Nicholas Sparks fan since high school! Happy to say I loved this and I was captivated from the very beginning. I know his writing style can be a bit difficult to get used to, and some people find it boring. I do not find it boring at all.

Safe Haven follows the life of Katie, as she tries to hide from her husband, Kevin. Basically she has been physically abused by her husband for years and she finally decides to run. She arrives at Southport emotionally and physically scarred, and begins to form a new life. There she starts a relationship with Alex, who is a widowed father of two children, and she slowly begins to let her guard down. Not to mention her friendship with Jo!

That’s all I can say about the plot without spoiling anything. But this story… All the feels. All of them!

The characters were really likable, with the exception of Kevin!!! Katie is a very strong woman, she has lived a lonely, difficult life and it is hard not to feel bad for her. I literally cried for her and wanted to take away the pain. Alex was a sweetheart, I loved him! He is the most kindhearted, selfless, perfect man a girl could ask for! Jo is that best friend we all have, or we all want, she was fantastic.

Kevin is another story. That man has serious demons that have driven his mind to insanity. Legit psycho!!! He is that villain that you hate with a passion and seeing inside his head was the most disturbing thing ever! I mean for someone who quotes the bible a lot, the world he lived in was just wrong in every single aspect.

My favorite part about this book was the danger that was added to it. It reminded me a lot of The Guardian and why I loved it so much because of the suspense, (my favorite book by Nicholas Sparks.) It had my heart racing just by sitting here reading it. When a book does that then you know it’s a good book! The twist at the end though… I could barely contain myself! I honestly didn't see that coming at all and I was seriously in pure shock when I read the last page.

Over all, another beautiful love story by Nicholas Sparks.


This is a MUST read for anyone in an abusive relationship. It will give you the courage needed to escape. I have a personal friend who did this exact thing and now her life is much better. When I listened to her tell her story it sounded exactly like Safe Haven. Nicholas Sparks is a wonderful writer. You can see truth in his writing.


I bought this book on a whim. All the ladies at my workplace seem to be reading it and I keep overhearing them rave about it. It's Nicholas Sparks best book yet! When I got up to the register the lady ringing me up said, "Ooh, Nicholas Sparks! I love his books. They're soo good. Oh, and look! It's going to be a movie. Gotta see that one." Mind you I had two other books in the pile, not a word about those.

I didn't have high expectations for this book because it didn't seem like my kind of thing. But I figured it's good to expand one's horizons. I shouldn't be so judgmental. Maybe I'd have something to talk to my co-workers about, other than the weather or work.

The story was OK. Definitely not bad. The love interest, Alex, was a nice guy, albeit too good to be true. But this is a Nicholas Sparks novel right? I assumed certain stereotypes would reign. His kids seemed cute and equally too good to be true. Our heroine, Katie, aka Erin, was also OK considering how annoying this character had potential to be and given that she was also a stereotype--blonde and lanky, skinny with big breasts (which is almost verbatim her physical description, as detailed, conveniently, by the bad guy). She's pretty much the mysterious hot chick with the dark past. But when the sh*t hit the fan, she's the one that took the bad guy out. That's cool. The bad guy, Kevin, was a decent enough villain-ignore some "too convenient coincidences" and he'll do in a pinch--and thanks to him the plot hummed along at a good pace. If we didn't have Kevin to hate, surely we'd be left with perfect Alex and perfect big-in-only-the-right-places Katie and there goes the entire plot.

I read this book in one day because I did want to know where the author was going with this. Thus, I admit to taking the bait.

The ending ruined it for me. The ending is dumb, contrived, unnecessary, insulting even. It made me feel stupid for spending the time to read this book. All the way until the end I was debating whether to give this book three stars or four because for all its faults (up until that point) it did keep me reading.

Lesson learned. I'll just continue to make small talk about the weather any time someone wants to talk about a Nicholas Sparks book. Otherwise my opinionated side might rear its head and I'll be mobbed by angry secretaries.

Aishu Rehman

The best "romance" with a mysterious & unusual twist, that ends with a bit of a well plotted ending. I read the book in 4 days. I could not put it down after Chapter 4, I think anyone would enjoy this book. I laughed out loud, and I even teared up a few times. I love Nicholas Sparks as a very talented, never disappointing in any of his reads, but this one is my favorite. There is a reason there is a movie made from this book.

There are several messages in this book that could apply to all walks of life, so for me, I love to read his books before I ever watch the movies created from his books. This book is one of the best and I did not want it to end. I feel a great need to request a sequel to this book.

Megs ♥

This was my first time reading Nicholas Sparks. I never even seen any of the movies. I must say I am a new fan, for sure. This story was truly beautiful. I don't know if I can even explain why I loved this book so much. The characters are great, the romance is done well, and the conclusion was deeply satisfying. I am eager to see the film, now!

When I think of NS I think gooshy, sappy romance with a hint of sadness...that's what I always hear his books are like. This one, though, was a bit different than I expected. The writing style was amazing, because switching between the comforting, safe life Katie has now, and Kevin's search for her makes for an edge of your seat read. Very suspenseful. Very well done.