The Wish by Nicholas Sparks | Book Review

Whether you need a good cry or you have someone in your life who loves a good romance, Nicholas Sparks latest novel The Wish combines your favourite tropes in a beautiful story you won’t want to put down.

Check out our review of THE WISH by Nicholas Sparks below.

Note: may contain minor spoilers.

What’s the book about?

1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she meets Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce gradually shows her how much there is to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduces her to photography, a passion that will define the rest of her life.

By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world.

But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him.

As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined.

What did I think?

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Walk to Remember. The Notebook. The Lucky One. The Best of Me. The Rescue. The Choice. The Last Song. All of these books emotionally wrecked me, and yet here I am, back with Nicholas Sparks crying my eyes out in The Wish. What can only be called a beautiful exploration of love and loss, this book is the kind of page-turner that has you needing a glass of wine and some tissues. 

“It’s important to remember that none of us is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. All we can do is try to be the best version of ourselves as we move forward. In this case, if he asks, you can tell the truth, or you can lie. I suppose it comes down to the kind of person you want to see when you look in the mirror.”

In true Sparks style, The Wish is a heartwarming and heartbreaking story that reminds you of what is truly important in life. 

The story follows Maggie, a successful photographer who is dying from stage 4 melanoma. Through a developing relationship with her new assistant Mark, a man with a few secrets of his own, we start to learn more about Maggie’s past including her experience with the highs and lows of falling in love. 

I absolutely adored this book. While the story as a whole is beautifully crafted, what I really enjoyed were the characters. The Wish is full of strong, insightful, charming and compassionate leads that serve the story and leave a lasting impact – no more so than Maggie. With a truly heartbreaking past, Maggie is the kind of character that stays with you. The strength she has found amongst so much tragedy is admirable to say the least and even though she is facing down death, she continues to live her life so passionately.

I also loved that this was told through dual timelines. The journey through Maggie’s life was definitely strengthened through this narrative style and as a reader, it helped me develop a stronger emotional connection with the character – it also made the heartbreak 100 times worse. Using the trust Maggie develops with Mark as a device for storytelling was also compelling and I quickly found myself invested not only in Maggie’s journey but in the relationship between these two.

Even as a master of romance, Sparks does love a little twist and the one here is perfection. It creates an additional layer that will pull on your heartstrings and even though you can see it coming, it is still everything you would want it to be.


If you’ve read any of Sparks other books, you won’t be disappointed in The Wish. A touching story beautifully told, this book is the perfect read for any contemporary lovers in your life – especially this Christmas!

Available at leading bookstores, you can learn more about the book and find a copy here.

Thank you to Hachette New Zealand for a copy of The Wish by Nicholas Sparks.

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