In October 2018, the multi-million-copy bestselling author Nicholas Sparks released his 21st novel titled: Every Breath. As a proud owner of 17 books under his belt (excluding many DVD's ), the natural thing to do was order a copy via Amazon. In case you’re wondering who Nicholas Sparks is, think The Notebook, Safe Haven and The Lucky One to name but a few.
I was pleasantly surprised to realise that Every Breath would take me on an adventure and lead me back to my home country, Zimbabwe. Savoured every page as each word pulled and tugged at the heartstrings, for it was a story closer to home in so many ways than one.
While preparing this article, I came across a book review by someone questioning if Nicholas Sparks's descriptions about Zimbabwe were accurate. Since he'd turned a true story into fiction, she wondered if his portrayal of Zimbabwe was real.
As a child of Zimbabwe, born and bred and made in the UK, I knew I had to say something. It can be so complicated to focus on the positives of any situation when all that surrounds you is negative, but unless we focus on the few good stories around us, we risk losing those little sparks of flames capable of bringing light to an otherwise dark situation. No doubt that as a country, Zimbabwe has a lot of housekeeping to do before it can get back to the way things used to be, let alone, rebuild a broken nation.
However, what most people wouldn’t realise is that the renowned Nicholas Sparks visited the country a couple or so years ago. His aim? "To flesh out even more details,” thanks to the letter in the mailbox he'd recently discovered on a sleepy beach in North Carolina, USA. The mailbox is known as Kindred Spirit where strangers anonymously express themselves through letter writing. There, you will find tales about dreams, fears, love, loss and more. It's a place where people feel free to express themselves without judgement. It's a safe zone, and to this day, many people continue to visit Kindred Spirit. It is the very place which inspired Nicholas Sparks to go on a fact-finding mission which took him to Zimbabwe where a hero (in my book) was born. His name is Tru.
I love how Nicholas Sparks paints what he saw with a dose of reality and sensitivity, which can only come from someone with a more in-depth understanding of people and what influences who they are. It explains why he's such a phenomenal writer. In his introduction of Every Breath, he states that although some of his observations in Zimbabwe were not great, he still had the time of his life and found his travels, in his own words, seductive.
I am not surprised, for Zimbabwe is one of a kind. I say this with confidence as a former student who once studied the country's tourism and hospitality scene (BSc Hons) during peak years. Was lucky to gain work experience with One of the Leading Hotels of the World when it was a truly global player. Also worked for an award-winning tour operating company, packaging and tailor making luxury holidays for inbound and outbound customers. Interacting with international, regional and well-travelled domestic clients indeed opened my eyes, and made me see that there is so much more to this world that what most people are routinely exposed to. Sometimes, a person's perspective is influenced by how much they've seen and experienced through travel and interacting with real people on the ground.
On nicholassparks.com, he writes, "...came up with the character of Tru when I was travelling in Africa. I was so impressed with the welcoming people, the exotic landscape, and the natural beauty and wildlife that I wanted to find a way to include a character from Zimbabwe into one of my books.”
So yes, Nicholas Spark’s descriptions about Zimbabwe are real, not fiction.
Dear Zimbabwe, despite your groanings and pains, you made it into Nicholas Sparks novels! It says a lot about who you are as people; black and white. The world is not oblivious to what's been going on, but most of us believe that one day, you will rise from the ashes. For now, let us join our international friends and glean real-life inspiration from an epic love story influenced by Zimbabwe and America as one. It is a real-life turned fiction narrative which transcends boundaries, giving birth to an account capable of influencing what you think and do about love.
With the paperback release of Every Breath due on 15th October, why don’t we uncover inspirational love quotes which will blow your mind, without spoilers! Not only is it a refreshing and enlightening read, Every Breath will take you on a Zimbabwean safari and North Carolina adventure while gently holding your hand as you explore matters of the heart.
I hope Ubuntu Courtyard’s curated quotes will encourage you to fully embrace and express love in its sincerest form, so that you can make the right choices, before it's too late.
Every Breath: Best Love Quotes To Help You Believe in Love Again!
She suspected it had to do with Tru’s authenticity, and it reinforced her impression that too many people spend their lives performing a role they thought they were supposed to play, as opposed to simply being who they were.
We met on a Wednesday morning, and I’d fallen in love with him by Thursday morning.
The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once said that being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, and loving someone deeply gives you courage.
The love I feel for you is real, and all the sadness that now comes with it is a price I would pay a thousand times over.
If you met him, you would understand why he captured my heart; if you’d seen us together, you would know that the feelings we had for each other were undeniably real. In the short time we were together, I like to think that we became soul mates, forever intertwined.
The destiny that matters most in life is the one concerning love.
Every time I held you, I felt as though I needed nothing else. I would trade anything to hold you just one more time.
You are, and always have been, forgiven.
With sudden clarity, he understood that he'd fallen in love - and perhaps even that he'd been waiting for someone just like her all his life.
My feelings for you were passionate but peaceful. Because that's how you made me feel during the week we spent together. At peace. Being with you felt like coming home.
Would love to know if you've read Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks. What's your most favourite quote? If you're yet to read the book, do yourself a favour and grab a copy from a good book store near you!
In life, there is never just good or bad, light or dark. Each is intertwined with both and this is well reflected in Zimbabwe's narrative. It boosts my pride and self love as a Zimbabwean when someone with no tangible links tries to tell a version of the Motherland's narrative. I look forward to reading Sparks' book.
Theona, thank you for articulating this so well. I also now have so much respect for Nicholas Sparks, even though he's always been one of my favourite authors. He visited the country in the midst of the struggles and didnt even try to keep a secret like most famous people would.
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