I'm sure there are a lot of people who loved this book. I'm sure there are people who cried, and laughed, and declared this to be a beautiful story about destiny and love. Enough people to make it a #1 New York Times Best Seller.
What is wrong with these people?
'The Rescue' isn't a horrible book. It's just predictable, boring and disgustingly cheesy. It's sentimental pap, a book where absolutely nothing happens, where each character is perfectly harmless and unremarkable. You know exactly what's going to happen in the story after reading the first five pages, and it's just a matter of getting through 400 pages (good lord...400 pages? why?) of overdone sentimentality and blandness to get to the happy ending.
Denise Holton is a single mother. Her 4 year old son, Kyle, has a serious speech disability, that requires her constant attention, leaving her little room for anything else in her life. One night while driving home, they get into a bad accident, and are promptly rescued by an non-threatening, very masculine volunteer firefighter named Taylor. We learn almost immediately that he's single, loves his mother and loves rescuing women. Of course, love ensues.
The rest of the book is pretty much everything you'd expect. Sparks sticks to the formula so faithfully that I found myself skipping pages of useless information, knowing that I was missing nothing but filler. Taylor (who has a secret he refuses to reveal to anyone but turns out to not be that big a deal) and Denise have their 'endearing' courtship, they fall in love. Taylor is of course great with the kid. Then something starts driving them apart, they fall out of love, heartbreak follows. But from the lack of extra characters to add potential conflict, and the dwindling amount of pages, you know that there's not much that can happen. Either they get back together or someone dies. And we can't leave the charming heroine all alone in the end, can we?
But I can't even be bothered to be very angry with this book. Everything is so harmless, so bland that you just end up not caring about anything that happens. Nothing about this book is worth getting excited about--something could've been done with the courtship, but both these characters are so perfectly good that Sparks just has them fall perfectly and harmlessly in love. He is obviously selling a wish-fulfillment fantasy to his choice audience; a fantasy where a rugged, sensitive man comes along to rescue the damsel in distress, where love is pure and fated. And aren't all of his books like that? Isn't that exactly why so many people love them?
Sparks knows his audience. He knows exactly how to write for them, and he'll keep making millions while every one of his novels gets turned into a movie shot in soft-focus with harmless actors. He's obviously not writing for me, so I'll just move along and completely forget I ever read this book. It's not worth the aggravation.