Reading Nicholas Sparks is falling in love all over again, or rediscovering it. The magic his books ignite seldom misses to grip his readers. Here’s a list of his books in chronological order for you to enjoy them from start to finish.
True love is rare, and it’s the only thing that gives life real meaning.
― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle
If every heart in need of romance, if every soul seeking a miracle, if every wanderer in search of a direction, and every rueful heart looking for love were to stumble upon the musings of Nicholas Sparks, they will find it all. He is, after all, a writer, drunk on the idea of soul-searching, who gave the many manifestations of love through stories worth telling. His books, since their first publication, have gripped readers with a thick blanket of fantasy and warmth along with a hope and sense of comfort in knowing that happy endings do exist.
With over 17 books under this umbrella―and more on the way―this author has spun some of the greatest tales ever! About eight of these have been turned into film adaptations too, making their reach far and wide, and even to those who prefer watching movies over reading. Books by Nicholas Sparks leave every reader with a rare opportunity that allows them to stretch their imagination to empathize and exuberate with experiences of other people, that they would have never known otherwise. It is this power granted by the author that makes him loved and revered. So, before you begin to explore his works, take a look at his proud literary corpus to know better from where to start.
- Despite being a romantic at heart, Nicholas Sparks is quite a fighter with a black belt in Taekwondo.
- After he got the first check for ‘The Notebook’, he bought his wife a new wedding ring.
- He was named the ‘Sexiest Author’ by ‘People Magazine’.
- Before he began his writing career, he used to work as a pharmaceutical sales representative.
- He is a big contributor to the Creative Writing Department at the University of Notre Dame.
List of Nicholas Sparks Books in Order of Release
Published Date: October 1996
The summer of 1932 had a special plan for our protagonists Noah Calhoun and Allie Nelson. As love in the air brings the two together, it stirs a rather whirlwind of a romance. Sadly, it comes to an abrupt end, wreaking havoc and destruction in the end. The separated lovers move on to make their lives, only to meet 14 years later. As the forlorn Noah unites with his soulmate Allie, the union takes a hairpin bend of a commitment forever, which goes beyond just a marriage. A love story that spans a lifetime, holding true to its vows of being together through in sickness and in health, is a testimony to what love, belief, and perseverance can deliver. It is a book that makes you realize the worth of love.
I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.
Message in a Bottle
Published Date: April 1998
A chance find of a message in a bottle that is washed ashore becomes the starting point for this book. When Theresa Osborne finds the letters addressed as ‘My Dearest Catherine, I miss you’, she cannot help but be moved by the captivating poignancy the words hold. In her bid to find the man, she publishes the letter through her column only to have two more turned up at her doorstep by others who found them. This leads her on a path to find the man Garrett Blake, the writer of these letters who remained mysterious until now. Brought into each other’s lives by the letters Garrett wrote to his deceased wife Catherine, the two give love a chance. The unusual happenstance of their meeting, the discovery of love once again, and the truths hidden from each other wins Sparks’s teary-eyed readers two things―reveling in the idea of love so deep and truths so bare. This book was later adapted into a film starring Kevin Costner as Garrett and Robin Wright Penn as Theresa.
Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.
A Walk to Remember
Published Date: October 1999
How far would you go for your love? The answer to this very question became the third best-selling book, A Walk to Remember, by Nicholas Sparks. This famously known book has been inspired by the author’s sister, who too died of cancer just like Jamie Sullivan. The heart-wrenching story of finding love, its denial, and its acceptance in a rather unusual circumstance and method makes this book question our own stories. Could we have done certain things differently? Would we have stood up for love against all odds? Well, the answers to these questions probably take a lifetime. So, in the meantime, here’s a story that will make you introspect and leave you inspired in its wake.
Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can always feel it.
Published Date: September 2000
Taylor McAden is man who unflinchingly leaps into dangerous situations to save lives. Our hero’s compulsive need to rescue people is a trait so deep-rooted in his psyche that he also begins to seek the same when it comes to love. On a stormy night, when Taylor rescues unconscious Denise Holton, who has had an accident, the intriguing plot of this book begins. As Denise regains her consciousness, she realizes the paralyzing truth that her son, Kyle has gone missing. Through a mission to find Kyle, who has severe learning disabilities, a relationship transpires between the two adults. Can love that was born out of an act of courage save Taylor too? The journey where we witness Denise embark to rescue her love right back from his past becomes a riveting read.
There was something inside her that longed to be desired, to be cared for and protected, to be listened to and accepted without judgment. To be loved.
A Bend in the Road
Published Date: September 2001
Miles Ryan lost the will to live his life with any trace of happiness the day he lost his wife, Missy, in a hit-and-run accident. Over the years, his deep sadness turns into rage and a need for retribution. He seeks to find the closure of this U-turn of life by bringing the unknown driver to justice. His pent-up anger finds a momentary aberration when he meets Sarah Andrews, his son’s second-grade teacher. The tragic pasts of widowed Miles and divorced Sarah bring the two close enough to fall in love. However, this strange coincidence only ends in the discovery of the truth behind the unknown driver and how closely they are related to it. Caught between the crossfire of love and truth, will Miles and Sarah forgive and forge forward? It is a question best answered through the intensifying words scripted on the pages of Nicholas Sparks’s fifth masterpiece.
If it’s over, then don’t let the past screw up the rest of your life.
Nights in Rodanthe
Published Date: September 2002
Nicholas Sparks’s sixth story is about hope that shows itself right when you stop believing in it. Adrienne Willis, 45 and mother of three, finds herself in desperate need of a respite from mounting difficulties of a single mom and the heartache her ex-husband left her with. So, when an opportunity arrives to look after a friend’s inn for a weekend, she grabs it instantly and takes off for the weekend. However, weather decides to play the dampener as it brings a storm, threatening to spoil Adrienne’s weekend. As a guest, when Paul Flanner walks in to the inn, the weekend becomes a turning point in both their lives. As the storm approaches, the two are left with no choice, but to find shelter in each other’s company. With wounded pasts, the two turn to each other for solace. This one weekend trickles a series of events in their lives that last them a lifetime. It makes them question their loyalties, it makes them learn finer nuances of love all over again, it makes them know themselves better, and the two days make not just Paul and Adrienne do much-needed soul searching, but their readers too.
The greater the love, the greater the tragedy when it’s over.
Published Date: April 2003
So far, Nicholas Sparks wrapped the notion of love with the understandable. But with The Guardian, he transports his readers into the world of Mike Harris, Julie Barenson, and Richard Franklin where love turns into a dangerous nightmare. Soon after the death of her young husband, Julie finds herself in a massive despair. However, she is presented with a little Great Dane pup by Mike, that her husband arranged for her before he died. Singer, the dog, becomes her sole companion and helps her cope with the loss. A few years later, as she finds herself yearning for human companionship, she finds herself caught between two men, Richard and Mike. The former is the dashing surgeon who has just moved to town, while the latter is her deceased husband’s best friend. As she rejects Richard after briefly dating him, the story takes a violent, thrilling, and chilling turn. All these ingredients go against the perfect recipes concocted by Nicholas Sparks. However, the experiment rather fairs very well.
It was funny that you know someone for years but still discover something you never noticed before.
Published Date: September 2003
We often wonder how do the people in certain stories end up years later. What really happens to them? Do they have successful happy endings? After all, do fairy tales stand a chance in real life? The beginning of the answers to these questions is where Nicholas Sparks’s seventh novel starts. Thirty years later, we find out that Wilson Lewis, son-in-law of Allie and Noah Calhoun (the couple from The Notebook), admits that his marriage with their daughter is falling apart. Stunned by the reality of his marriage, he is desperate to win back Jane’s love and restore their marriage. With inspiration of the love story his in-laws lived, the story goes back and forth in time, perfectly telling its readers how fairy tales work.
What are we, after all, without our memories … without our dreams?
Three Weeks with My Brother
Published Date: April 2004
The incandescent inspiration for so many novels does evoke intrigue in the mind of every true Nicholas Sparks fan. It makes one wonder where does the treasure trove for such varied plots lie. These carefully hidden secrets find their way out through Three Weeks with My Brother―a book that marks a journey for Nicholas Sparks and his brother Micah. Both of them take a journey across the globe spanning over three weeks, which becomes a travelogue-ish novel for the readers. Through the lost city of Machu Picchu, over the majestic Andes, and around the Indian subcontinent, the two brothers reflect and revere through their childhood memories and the experiences these moments bring to them. This speaks of Sparks’s ability to embrace life, empathize with it, and live on each day as if it were the last one. These three principles that we are shown become his greatest inspiration, discovered over three weeks and reflected in many more books to come.
When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself. You learn your capabilities and limitations, and the value of hard work and persistence.
Published Date: April 2005
Your beliefs are a summation of your experiences. They are formed with the things we learn over the years, and we strengthen by substantiating them. Very similar to this trait is the protagonist of True Believer, Jeremy Marsh. The elitist, learned and an absolute non-believer in supernatural, Jeremy writes a regular column ‘Scientific American’. But when he receives a call from the town of Boones Creek regarding ghostly lights, curiosity gets the better off him. Driven to find out what is the truth behind the floating lights over the cemetery there, he decides to stay on and investigate further. This is where he meets Lexie, the local librarian, and finds himself attracted to her. As the story moves along, we learn about Jeremy’s and Lexie’s past, and an interesting twist later, how a miracle is about to change their lives. This is a story of how your beliefs change only to make you realize what can be your true belief.
When people cared about each other, they always found a way to make it work.
At First Sight
Published Date: October 2005
At First Sight is a sequel to The True Believer. The story picks up from where Jeremy proposes Lexie. As Jeremy moves to his new home in Boone Creek, he finds himself caught up in a writer’s block, which makes his unable to write anymore. The story takes a whole new turn as Jeremy and Lexie find themselves in the company of another couple, Rachel and Rodney. As interconnections between these four people run sour, confrontations lead to heated arguments. But, alas! When peace returns to paradise, there is a new role that Jeremy must deal with.
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can.
Published Date: October 2006
A troubled and a confusing relationship with his father makes John enlist in the army. This also ends the love affair that transpired over the summer with Savannah. But undeterred by the distance, Savannah continues to wait for John to return at the end of his military service. However, the attacks of 9/11 change everything for John. This world’s biggest tragedy makes him realize that he must re-enlist and serve his country. This time around, the long separation makes Savannah fall in love with another man, leading her to write a letter to him, which begins with ‘Dear John’, changing the course of their lives forever. A story of unrequited love that learns to understand and accept a demanding circumstance shows the courage and resilience of the characters that Nicholas Sparks creates for his readers.
It’s possible to go on, no matter how impossible it seems, and that in time, the grief . . . lessens. It may not go away completely, but after a while it’s not so overwhelming.
Published Date: September 2007
They say, the choice is always yours. How true is it? And what would Travis Parker do? The story begins when Travis Parker, the man who has everything he ever wanted, meets the only missing piece in his life, Gabby Holland. Her enigmatic charm, her docile persona, and her need to do the right thing makes him fall in love with her beyond measure. Despite the two of them getting off on the wrong foot in the first meeting, Travis and Gabby find a way into each other’s heart soon enough over a weekend. Fast forward to 12 years later, the two are happily married with two daughters. However, the idyllic life comes to an abrupt halt with an accident on a rainy storm. As Gabby slips into a coma, Travis is left with the choice of whether he should pull the plug as per her will, or hang in there with the hope of love that she may come back.
How far should a person go in the name of true love?
The Lucky One
Published Date: September 2008
A lady’s luck is supposed to bring its bearer great fortune, helpful fate, and a powerful destiny. It is something like this that U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds when he picks up a photograph of a woman from the dirt on the battlefield of Iraq. He brings it back the base for someone to claim. But when no one claims it, instead of throwing it, he keeps it. Oddly enough, the picture brings him luck, winning him serious money in a poker game and saving his life from the line of fire. As a way of finding the woman in the picture, Logan sets out on a road trip with whatever clues he can get from the photograph to the find the woman. Together with his dog, Zeus, he finds her―Elizabeth, a divorced mother of a boy. The inevitable attraction between the two transpires a passionate relationship. However, the relationship has a third wheel, Elizabeth’s ex-husband Deputy Clayton. As the truth comes to fore about the photograph, Elizabeth accuses Logan of stalking her and lying to her. But in a final clash as Clayton loses his life, Elizabeth realizes that Logan is the true lucky one and her true love.
In the blink of an eye, something happens by chance – when you least expect it – sets you on a course that you never planned, into a future you never imagined.
The Last Song
Published Date: September 2009
When Ronnie is forced to spend the summer with her estranged father, she cannot help but be angry at her situation. She blames her father for leaving her mother and her little brother Jonah, accusing him of having an affair. This bottled anger and confusion is also the reason why Ronnie has stopped playing the piano, a passion she once shared with her father. In a hope to get by with the summer with some respite, Ronnie spends hours together outside the house and befriends a girl her age, Blaze. When a misunderstanding over a guy occurs between the two newfound friends, Blaze sets up Ronnie in a shoplifting case. This makes Ronnie turn to her father for support, who introduces her to a nest of turtles by the beach. It becomes Ronnie’s mission to save these turtles from the tides and other predators. In her bid to do so, she meets Will, the volunteer at the local aquarium. The two begin a summer romance, which helps Ronnie realize the truth about her father and find her way back to playing the piano and composing music. The Last Song is truly a story that speaks volumes about passions, family values, and relationships that can truly heal our hearts.
Sometimes you have to be apart from people you love, but that doesn’t make you love them any less. Sometimes you love them more.
Published Date: September 2010
Katie’s mysterious past makes her an obvious enigma for those around her. Alex, the owner of the store where she regularly shops, finds himself attracted to her. However, tight-lipped Katie leaves little room for Alex to know anything about her. Through her frequent visits to the store, Katie grows fond of Alex’s daughter Kristen. After a freak fishing accident where Josh, Alex’s son nearly drowns, Katie comforts Kristen. As Katie grows closer to the family, she and Alex begin a relationship where he finds out the secret she has been hiding. But despite their increasingly deep love, the two must be able to deal with angels and demons that their past lives bring. The transient safety they seek in each other in doing so is what we see as the Safe Haven truly is.
Love doesn’t mean anything if you’re not willing to make a commitment, and you have to think not only about what you want, but about what he wants. Not just now, but in the future.
The Best of Me
Published Date: October 2011
High-school sweethearts Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fall in love in the biology class as they are forced to sit together. Their whirlwind romance is torn apart due to the mismatch of their social statuses and the social pressures. After having lived in separation for over 25 years, the two reunite over a friend’s funeral, who once sheltered their affair. Now in a time and a place where they are forced to deal with their own and each other’s realities, they realize that much has been lost in the past years. However, in a bid to rewrite their life stories from hereon, each must pass a test of fate and not let it get the best of them.
There’s a lot of magic between you too, ain’t no denying that. And magic makes forgettin’ hard.
The Longest Ride
Published Date: September 2013
Nicholas Sparks has written sequels, but never a book that narrates two stories that find a poignant convergence. Yes, this is his first. The Longest Ride is a story about Ira and Ruth and about Sophia and Luke. The story about Ira and Ruth is unfortunate where Ira finds himself trapped and in the company of his deceased wife Ruth. In a short distance away from them, Luke and Sophia meet for the first time, and find themselves in the orbit of each other’s attraction despite coming from two stark different worlds. It is the way that these two stories merge that makes the read seem the longest. A magical ending, but a fitting one, The Longest Ride is definitely worth letting you know that every Nicholas Sparks’s book deserves to go into your prized collection.
His voice, even now, follows me everywhere on this longest of rides, this thing called life.
The art of storytelling is one that Nicholas Sparks has mastered and set higher standards for with his every succeeding book. His stories are filled with drama, compassion, romance, and conflicts, a mixture perfect enough to glue his audiences. However, these traits have also won him millions of readers over the years, who keep coming back and keep introducing others to ideas of love, hope, and faith. Reading these books in the order will give you an insight into the author’s evolution with his skills and show you his determination to outperform himself with his every published work.