Renowned romance/drama author Nicholas Sparks presents his newest novel “See Me,” published on Oct. 13, 2015. The story follows two main characters, Colin Hancock and Maria Sanchez, and switches between their separate points-of-view every chapter.
Colin is an MMA fighter who is recovering from a rough childhood. As he says, he was a problem child and was sent off to military school at a young age. He was bullied there so much that one day he snapped. He has been in trouble with the law for his violence and anger issues ever since. He is now on probation and determined to get his act together. With the encouragement of his closest friends Evan and Lily, Colin has returned to school to become a third grade teacher.
Maria, on the other hand, is just the opposite. She is the perfect picture of success. Growing up, Maria has always felt the need to prove herself and “get ahead.” She received a law degree from Duke and became a prosecutor with the district attorney’s office. Maria left her job, however, after growing tired of prosecuting the same old cases and always being seen as the enemy in the eyes of the victims whenever she could not get a conviction. Instead, Maria took a position with a law firm that mostly represents insurance companies.
Maria and Colin meet one stormy night on a nearly deserted road where Maria is attempting to change a flat tire. Colin sees her struggling and offers to help, and of course, since this is a Nicholas Sparks novel, they begin dating.
The romance genre eventually merges with mystery and thriller, a tendency that’s on display when Maria begins receiving threatening notes and mysterious flowers from an unknown sender. Maria’s initial thought is that the culprit must be her boss, Ken, who has been hitting on her at work.
That becomes less and less likely, though, as Maria discovers that this mystery man is stalking her and he knows where she lives. Colin only wants to protect Maria and help in any way that he can, but the situation predictably puts a damper on their relationship.
Not quite as exciting as the events which unfold in “The Rescue” nor as dramatic as “A Walk to Remember,” “See Me” — on a scale of 1 to “The Notebook” — falls just above “The Choice.” Much of the dialogue is corny and unrealistic, and the plot fails to become engaging on any level until the second half of the book.
For a romance, the story is solid but could increase its entertainment value greatly by picking up the pace. “See Me” does finally become interesting toward the end, but it is only recommended for readers who have a lot of time and patience.