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True Believer    by Nicholas Sparks order for
True Believer
by Nicholas Sparks
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In True Believer, Nicholas Sparks combines the search for true love with an exploration of the theme of Hamlet's 'There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy', that has run through many of his novels, in particular (my favorite) The Guardian.

Jeremy Marsh is a science journalist who specializes in debunking supernatural hoaxes. His career is on the upswing after he shows how a tv psychic succeeded in fooling his audience. Now, he's heading to Boone Creek, North Carolina to check out 'mysterious lights' in an old, subsiding cemetery. The mayor (whose name is Gherkin), hoping to boost tourism, welcomes Jeremy with open arms and presents him with the key to the town. The journalist begins to enjoy the community and all the quirky characters he meets there - one in particular, a young woman who believes in the magic that Jeremy discounts.

Before Jeremy knows what's happening, he's fallen for the attractive, violet-eyed town librarian, Lex Darnell, whose grandmother Doris (a real psychic) sent the information that drew him into this investigation in the first place. Though they both carry baggage - Jeremy's wife divorced him and Lexie's been burnt twice before by out-of-towners who loved her and left her - Lex is the more cautious one. She values the community she lives in and never wants to leave the folk there, especially the grandmother whom she adores and worries over (Doris and her grandfather brought Lexie up after her parents died in a car accident).

The big city journalist figures out what caused the spooky cemetery lights, but not all the town's mysteries. There's a love triangle (the local deputy thinks he loves Lex too) and the obligatory misunderstanding and clash of temperaments. But Jeremy is a man who has the sense to forget the 'logic and science' by which he has always lived when it comes to matters of the heart. He makes the right call and gets the girl, with a small miracle as a bonus. As always in a Sparks novel, True Believer tugs at the heartstrings, though not to the extent of some of the author's previous ones.

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