“This story will tug at the heartstrings like never before”


Message in a bottle is a meticulously and assiduously curated emotional typhoon by Nicholas Sparks, who within the first few pages of the book proves to readers that they are in the hands of a master storyteller. Each word, each sentence of the book evokes feelings dovetailed with very calculated treacle. The writing is simple but poised, and never too lofty, the characters are memorable and their journeys incredible. The beauty of this love story lies not in its delivery, rather in its humanity. The protagonists of the book, Theresa Osborne and Garrett are both raw, realistic, with an element of relatability in them. Theresa is a single mother of a 12-year-old, after her divorce with her unfaithful husband. She works as a columnist and when on her vacation at Cape Cod she finds an endearing and extremely poignant message in a bottle addressed to someone called Catherine by a man named Garrett, she decides to print the letter in her column.

The tremendously overwhelming response from her readers helps Theresa in finding two more letters by the same man. She soon finds out the man lives in Wrightsville, North Carolina and is still struggling with his wife’s death, writing these sea-borne messages to mourn Catherine’s death has been his only solace for the past three years. As Catherine’s memories begin to wane, Garrett tries to give love a second chance with Theresa.

The plot of the book, though slightly predictable, can definitely be described as charming. Even though the characters of the book have a realistic portrayal, the story line doesn’t. The fact that Theresa and Garrett start confessing undying and unconditional love for each other after just a few days of acquaintance seems a little too much. There are multiple inconsistencies in the plot and various events in the book seem to be lazily thrown together in an attempt to push as many tear-jerking buttons as possible.

The book did lack a certain amount of cohesion and fluidity. Parts of the book where Theresa and Garrett try to figure out their lives together get unjustifiably descriptive and long. There’s an extremely large role of fate as a plot device in the entire storyline. However, the sequence of actions enveloping the climax were satisfactorily written. The book is maudlin to an extent that it is almost cloying but not quite so. It is devastating but not ruinous. It somehow manages to be heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. It leaves its readers glum sometimes and inspired at others. Mr. Sparks does not present a neatly wrapped-up ending, redolent of ‘Happily Ever After’. The ending of this story of his is much more complicated than that; there isn’t instant gratification, but the overall result is much more real. The book might have its fair share of flaws, but if one really lets Mr, Sparks’ words wrap up like a blanket, chances are one might just find the perfect recipe for romantic escapism, and when it’s all over maybe, just maybe, one might fall in love with love.


Reviewed by:

Naman Bhardwaj

Added 23rd January 2020