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I'm not a fan of James Patterson novels although I've read one or two before. While they're well written, the detective / crime genre just isn't my thing. My partner's mum gave me this one and assured me that I would love it. I'd been told that I'd get through it in a few hours, so figured if I didn't like it, I didn't have anything to lose!
AVAILABILITY / PRICE
I'm not going to ramble too much about where you can get this, and how much for; I will say that it's a title you can get hold of quite easily. If you don't manage to find it in your local book shop or supermarket, try a quick Google Shopping search. You can pick this up second hand quite cheaply.
This has also been made into a 'made for TV' type movie, so if books aren't your thing and you think the story sounds interesting, it might be worth looking out for! :)
The story starts with Kate, who has just been left by her long term parter Matt. After going through an evening of utter heartbreak, Kate discovers the next morning, a package outside her door which contains a diary. There is a note from Matt asking her to read the diary which will partly explain his actions.
Kate begins to read the diary. 'Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas'. It soon becomes clear that Suzanne is Matt's ex wife, and Nicholas his baby son.
The story twists and turns between the reactions of Kate, and a little more insight into her life, and to the life of Suzanne, Matt and Nicholas (explained through Suzanne's Diary).
Through all the twists and turns, Kate gains an understanding of Matt's previous life.
(I won't say anything else here for fear of giving the plot away!).
When I read the back cover and the first few pages, I thought "Here we go! Another Chic Lit romance novel!". Really not my thing but I'll plow through so as not to offend my partner's mum who loves it.
I can honestly say, that despite my first reservations, it didn't take long at all for me to get into the story. The way James Patterson tells a story is genius. There's a reason why this man is an international best seller! Somehow you feel like you know the characters from the word go, and can relate to all of them. The story reads well, flows, and is no effort whatsoever to get through.
The book flips between chapters of Suzanne's diary, and chapters in the present, about Kate and her reactions to what she's reading. They interlink easily and it's no challenge trying to keep up with what's going on.
As the story develops further there are some real twists, turns and shock surprises. Some real emotional parts too. You'll find yourself nearly moved to tears in places!
I was really surprised that this book was written by the same author who writes all the crime best sellers! Though, thinking about it, it contains some really surprising twists that you probably won't see coming. Something James Patterson does so well in his usual novels too!
I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read that they can get through in the space of a day. Ideal for reading by the pool on your holiday. This book is like nothing I've read before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
On the negative front, there were a few 'cliche / corny' parts to the story. Especially an annoying motto that Matt and Suzanne had. I guess maybe it is more annoying to a hardened Brit than perhaps it would be to the US target market? Even so, it's nothing bad enough to warrant a deduction in stars, so it's still 5 out of 5 from me!
The description of 'prolific writer' has possibly never been as appropriate to anyone as it has to James Patterson. He writes books faster than I can read them and I'm no slow coach when it comes to reading. His usual genre is crime thriller with a particular emphasis on writing books within a series - the Alex Cross stories and the Lindsey Boxes stories being possibly his most famous. But, every once in a while he wanders off his own well-beaten path to try something new, whether it be a psychological mystery, a children's tale or an historical novel.
I don't think he has ever wandered quite so far off the path as he has with his novel Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, the book that was described by one critic as 'clever, light and as welcoming as an ocean breeze'. Not exactly what you'd expect from 'the master of suspense'!
*So, what's it about?*
Katie Wilkinson has it all, a job she's good at, a flat she loves and a man who is her soul mate and it's about to get better. Until, that is, her soul mate ups and leaves without so much as a by or leave. She's left shattered, alone and confused and with no explanation.
Then a parcel arrives containing a diary written by a young woman for her baby son. The woman in the diary tells of her life and her happiness and her love for her son and her loving husband - the man who is, or was, Katie's own lover. Rather than answer her questions the diary seems to be creating more and more, until its climax - what will happen to Katie? Can love prevail? Where is the woman in the diary?
*Is it any good?*
I have mixed feelings about this book. I read James Patterson's books for a bit of escapism. I don't expect a deep and meaningful read, but I do expect a page-turner that will get my imagination going. You do get that with this story, but it is much slower paced. There are twists and turns, but you aren't getting eye-ache (I'm sure it's a thing!) from trying to read the words too fast. It's a much more gentle story that has you thinking about the simpler things.
One of the things that I do dislike about James Patterson's writing is the way he creates holier-than-thou characters. Even the 'giant-slayer' Alex Cross, who's supposed to be a big bad man from the streets, does as he is told by his nana, never breaks the rules and lives in suburban bliss.
Couple that style with the gentle nature of this Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, and the result is an almost sickeningly perfect world that the tiny, sadist part of you almost wants to see broken. Surely life cannot be that perfect? Maybe I'm just getting cynical in my old age and there really is a place somewhere where houses are lined with picket fences, gardens back onto the ocean, children play ball on perfectly manicured lawns and nobody has a bad word to say? I don't know. Somehow I doubt it.
Having said all that, I found it hard to dislike this book. Patterson's skill of weaving a story is still clearly present here. There are twists that keep you reading on and wondering what will happen. The book is written from the prospective of two women - Katie and Suzanne - and it's clear which one is telling the story at any given time. It chops and changes between the two quite rapidly using Patterson's trademark short chapters, although these quick changes don't feel uncomfortable to read against the overall pace of the story.
The cleverest thing about the story though comes from Patterson's inimitable ability to create likeable characters. Throughout the book, you come to love both of the heroines. And, although it seems impossible, you somehow want them both to triumph. Patterson even makes you feel sorry for the lover who has spurned Katie.
Overall, I would recommend the book as it is a nice story that does have its highlights. However if you're looking for stereotypical James Patterson, it is here, but you'll have to look that bit harder for it. This is, first and foremost, a love story so it probably won't appeal to Patterson's standard army of fans.
HAVING READ ALL OF JAMES PATTERSONS BOOKS, THIS WAS A DELIGHTFUL STORY TO READ. BRILLIANT STORYLINE, I WAS UNABLE TO PUT THE BOOK DOWN AND ENDED UP READING IT IN ONE NIGHT, WITH TEARS IN MY EYES. A CHANGE OF DIRECTION FROM THE MASTER OF CRIME WRITING.. I LOOK FORWARD TO READING MUCH MORE OF HIS WORK.
Dear Nicky, I hope that when you grow up everything you want comes your way, but especially love. When it`s true, when it`s right, love can give you the kind of joy that you cant get from any other experience.
Katie Wilkinson cannot believe her luck, she has met and fallen head over heals in love with a seemingly perfect man, Matt. But no sooner has he entered her life than he disappears without word, and when he sends her a diary through the post she starts to understand that he seems to have a whole separate life that is being played out in the idyllic surroundings of Marthas vineyard, America.
The Diary is written by a lady called Suzanne, and each days entry is written to her newborn son, Nicholas. Suzanne left Boston after suffering a near fatal heart attack at the age of thirty-five, this near death experience forced her to re-evaluate her life and she decided to take up general practice on Marthas Vineyard. It was while finding her feet on the Island that she started getting friendly with Matt, an amiable and handsome man who was fixing up her beach side house to make it habitable. Gradually as Suzanne adjusts to her new more relaxed way of life she starts to fall for Matt, a feeling that he reciprocates immediately. Love blooms and eventually marriage follows, and as if to complete the utopia they find themselves in Suzanne gives birth to Nicholas, a bright and bouncing baby boy. The diary is Suzanne talking to Nicholas daily, and in it she lets her hopes and fears, her love for Matt and Nicholas, and her plans for the future all flow from pen to paper in an emotional and heartfelt way. Sadly, as so often happens in such perfect situations, things start to go wrong, and Katie is left reading page after page detailing the man she thought loved her, and the way in which his life plays out away from her.
This is a love story, Nicholas. Mine, yours, Daddy`s! It`s about how good it can be if you find the right person. It`s about treasuring every moment with that special one. Every single millisecond.
Now, Im a big bloke, and very much a mans man, but I dont think any other book I have ever read has made me cry like Suzannes Diary for Nicholas did. I was sceptical about reading a book from one of my favourite thriller writers that was described as A love story as suspenseful as any thriller, but I neednt have worried. James Patterson has shot up in my expectation after reading this, how can a man that writes some pretty darn bloodthirsty thrillers turn his hand to a love story, and not just turn his hand to it but completely pull it off. I was stunned at the beautifully subtle yet heart wrenchingly sweet way the story is written, Suzanne starts every entry with Dear Nicky, or My Sweet Nicholas or other similar words and the love that she expels onto the page for both Matt, Nicholas and the ideal life she finds herself in is moving.
Nicholas, you are growing up before our eyes and it is such a glorious thing to watch. I savour each moment.
Unfortunately, this being a James Patterson book there is a couple of twists at the end that very nearly broke my heart and caused a tear or two to slide down my cheeks. And that is the appeal of this book, a love story that is not overly sentimental but painfully true to life, it deals with love, loss and hope something we all have to go through in life. I give Suzannes Diary for Nicholas the full five stars out of five, and the recommendation that you really should read it. Woman who read it will love the sentiments contained within while men might just learn something, but whatever you do make sure youve got a box of tissues handy for the ending.
ISBN: - 0-7472-6729-4
£6.99 from Amazon.co.uk
310 Pages Paperback
This is nothing like any of his other books and in it's own way is probably the best book of his that I have ever read! The story is all about Kate (the book editor) and her lover Matt and their love affair. After what appears to be an idyllic romance, Matt suddenly ends things and his only explanation is the book he leaves for Kate to read (the book in question is of course the diary for Nicholas). The book turns out to be a diary kept by Matts wife for their son - Nicholas. It chronicles their life together, all the highs and lows (and there are plenty of lows). I found the book a little confusing to start with as there are two Matts in the story but it all explains itself a little further on. The majority of the book is taken up with the diary written by Suzanne and you really get into the characters. Can't help feeling all of her emotions. There is a very sad twist in the story. Completely unexpected I read the whole thing in one day and subsequently spent the rest of the day re-reading it. I was very surprised that he can write such an emotional book (I only say this because I have read all of his murder/mystery books and loved them). This is a fantastic read but I would advise not reading it before going out as you WILL end up with read and puffy eyes. Keep the kleenex handy!
Book editor Katie is in love with poet, Matt Harrison. He seems to share her feelings, but his refusal to talk about his past makes her suspicious. All she knows is that Matt was once married. One evening, he suddenly ends their relationship, leaving Katie devastated. A few days later, he sends her a notebook that he promises will explain everything. Katie opens the book to find it is the diary that Matt's wife, Suzanne, wrote for their baby son.