It’s almost time for Covid Valentine’s day, and we’re here for you and your evening of quarantined romance. Will you be hanging out with your partner of forever pretending your predictable night in isn’t leaving you on the brink of madness? Planning a virtual rendezvous courtesy of a dating app that you will cut short post-haste once you discover your date legitimately enjoys the musical stylings of Nickelback? Or are you the desperate loner who will hate watch a rom-com while you shotgun chocolate syrup in between bites of Rocky Road? Well, allow us to offer an alternative to these bleak Valentine options. Why not curl up with a glass of wine or cup of tea and have a listen to any of Nicholas Sparks’ many offerings? Classier and more nuanced than a bodice ripper, his books have heart, heat, and best of all, actual plots. Sure, he’s weirdly obsessed with North Carolina, but that’s part of his charm. And after a listen if you pretend you didn’t spend an hour Zillowing quaint beach towns to start over with a lonely but gentle widower, you’re a liar.
Take a deeper look into the book that inspired the movie that brought baby Liam Hemsworth and pre-human train wreck Miley Cyrus together. This one has everything; Angsty teens. Divorced parents with hearts of gold. Meeting the love of your life by bumping into them. Baby turtles. Cancer. College applications. Making out on beaches. Truly, a one stop shop for a romantic evening.
Here we find ourselves at, you guessed it, a beach. This time though we’re here to meet John and Savannah. John is a grump, dropout, and in the army. He’s pretty meh about life until he meets Savannah who is generally happy so basically his exact opposite. Guess what you guys? They fall in love! We know, it surprised us too. But things are never that simple, otherwise there wouldn’t really be a story. This one spans years, wars, and heartbreak, making it a viable option if you find yourself alone on V-day and want something to cry yourself to sleep to.
Welcome back to North Carolina, we live here now. In this story you get to see the ups and downs of not one but two couples. Flashbacks reveal the story of Ira and Ruth, two crazy kids who got together after WWII, and Sophie and Luke who are cavorting in present day. Luke and Sophie’s struggles mirror Ira’s own with his wife, and through the lessons Ira shares, the younger couple is inspired to try and overcome the obstacles their relationship faces. There’s also art and bull riding so, something for everyone.
If the prospect of a long ugly cry sounds like just the ticket, may we suggest The Notebook? The tale of Allie and Noah’s relationship is told both in flashbacks of their young beginning juxtaposed with their present-day predicaments. But the ending. Dear God the ending. We won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say, there’s a reason this one is one of Sparks’ most beloved and enduring tale of love. Prepare to weep so hard your roommates/partner/neighbors will check on you out of concern, which will put an end to your lonely night of V-day solitude. You’re welcome.
Dawson is from the wrong side of the tracks. We speculate he’s well versed in rumbles and dance fighting, but don’t quote us on that. Naturally, he falls for the darling of the town and resident shiny rich girl, Amanda. But their parents don’t like it! Community consensus is not in favor! These crazy kids. Dawson eventually peaces out to go brood and work on an oil rig but returns years later to bury his high school friend, Tuck. Well, Tuck is a sneaky one, and tries to get his friends back together through last wishes and whatnot. That’s dedication to the art of matchmaking, step up Tinder. Amanda is still the town golden child and also, slight hiccup, she’s married? Tuck, dude, what do you think you’re doing? Amanda and Dawson find out that past feelings aren’t so easy to overcome, that love doesn’t always follow the rules, and that a good wingman is worth his weight in gold, even if he’s dead.