Opening Line: "Why had this happened? Why, of all the children was Kyle the one?"
I first read THE RESCUE in 2002 and enjoyed it just as much with it's rediscovery. As soon as I opened the first page I was lost, reading continuously for the next 24 hours. Thinking to myself, damn that Nicholas Sparks' he's done it again, sucking me right back into one of the best love stories I've ever read.
Due to a horrific childhood trauma volunteer firefighter Taylor McAden is driven to take disturbing heroic risks while on the job, trying to somehow put his world right. He has few friends and all of his past relationships have resulted from rescuing troubled women in one way or another. All of whom he inevitably leaves as soon as they want more from him then he can give. It seems that there's just one leap Taylor can't make; that of allowing himself to fall in love.
Denise Holden is a single mother of a handicapped child. Due to a lack of finances she has been forced to move back to her mother's hometown and live in the inherited home. At the moment she's barely scraping by, her son Kyle taking up most of her time, energy and resources. Love is the last thing on Denise's mind as she drives home from her job at the local diner. As fate would have it though a terrible storm hit's the small southern town that night, contriving to bring our couple together. As the storm rages Denise crashes her car and upon regaining consciousness finds herself staring into the handsome face of risk taker extraordinaire Taylor. Before she can acknowledge him as her potential life partner though panic takes over as she realizes that her son is no longer in the car and is feared to be lost in the nearby swamp.
I won't be giving anything away by telling you that Taylor rescues both Denise and her son and together they forge into a relationship. But as wonderful as the relationship seems in the beginning it doesn't take long for the cracks to show and the harder Denise tries to help Taylor the more he pulls away. Shutting down emotionally and taking greater and greater risks with the fire department (For a small town they sure have a lot of fires.)
As with every Nicholas Sparks' novel we are never guaranteed a HEA which aids in a degree of tension throughout this story. For me the relationship and its sudden decline is so well written that it seemed a page from my own past, tugging at my heart with its familiarity. Taylor is a mystery throughout and the whys of this aren't revealed until the very end. THE RESCUE contains some fabulous secondary characters and you will fall in love with every one of them. It's also full of action, suspense and melodrama. There were a couple of moments when I actually gasped, unable to believe what I'd just read. Have some Kleenex handy, this is great yet as always with Sparks bittersweet love story. Cheers!