By People Staff
October 22, 2001 12:00 PM

By Nicholas Sparks

A dead wife. A tentative new love. A secret that could destroy everything. For his fifth romance, Sparks returns to the plot elements that made his previous efforts (The Notebook; Message in a Bottle) so successful. This time it’s New Bern, N.C., deputy sheriff Miles Ryan, who is devastated when his beloved wife is killed by a hit-and-run driver. Then he meets his son’s first-grade teacher, Sarah Andrews, who is mourning her own lost marriage. Love blooms until a twist of fate threatens to tear them apart. The connect-the-dots plot is too predictable to offer much drama, but Sparks fans have never seemed to mind sacrificing suspense for sentiment. (Warner, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Haul out the hankies