Published by Sphere on 2013-09-16
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus 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 its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local rodeo, 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 has encountered 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, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.
So, I have this weird quirk that if I know a movie I want to watch is based on a book, I can’t watch that movie until I’ve read the book. I do this a lot. Recently, I saw previews for the movie The Longest Ride, and it looked good, so I put the book on hold at the library. It was different from what I expected, but I really enjoyed it.
What I didn’t realize while going into it, which kind of threw me at first, is that The Longest Ride is actually two stories in one. When the book opens, we are in Ira’s story, an old man who is in a car accident. While trying to survive, he reflects on his life with his now deceased wife. It was a sweet story and a story of loss, seeing as how it took place during World War II. My only real complaint about it was that it took me a while to fully understand why it was important.
Sophia and Luke’s story, however, had me hooked right away. Just about every interaction between them put a smile on my face, and I loved Luke from the start. A sexy cowboy who rescues a stranger from a pushy ex-boyfriend? What’s not to like? Obviously, their relationship had its ups and downs, but I loved seeing them together, and his secrets kept me intrigued.
My biggest complaint about The Longest Ride is that while the description says that their stories converge, it took forever to do so! It wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it was always in the back of my mind, and it seemed strange that it took so long.
The ending was really sweet, if a little predictable. I couldn’t fully predict the circumstances, but I definitely saw some of it coming. It didn’t really hinder my enjoyment, though. I would recommend this book, and I look forward to seeing the movie.