When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

    Inspiration for Safe Haven

    The inspiration for the story, like most of my novels, comes from the depths of a creative well, based on asking myself questions over and over. In other words, it wasn’t any one thing that inspired me to write this novel. I try to write something different each time I sit down to write; I try to surprise the readers. It had been a long time since I’d written anything to do with danger. I think the last one was The Guardian—and that was published eight or nine years ago—and that’s been a fan favorite. So I thought, “OK, what’s an element of danger I can put into a new story?” And from there, the thought process just kind of took over, and voila! The story Safe Haven came out.









    New Bern, NC

    New Bern, NC

    The NotebookThe Wedding, A Bend in the Road, Safe Haven ~ New Bern is a quiet town on the coast of North Carolina. Located in Craven County, New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina. It is a town rich in American history, a site of Civil War battle, and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. New Bern’s downtown is bustling with restaurants and entertainment, and the town’s southern reaches are home to the quieter Croatan National Forest. With historic homes, beautiful gardens, and quaint shops, New Bern provides the ideal setting for The Notebook, which takes us back in time to a quiet and romantic period in the city’s history, as well as The WeddingA Bend in the Road and Safe Haven.

    Safe Haven - audio excerpt

    The Feature Film

    Safe Haven Movie Poster
    • Director: Lasse Hallström
    • Screenplay: Dana Stevens and Gage Lansky
    • Cast: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders
    • Run Time: 115 minutes

    Safe Haven Official Trailer

    About The Film

    An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman's struggle to find love again after she arrives in a small North Carolina town.

    When a mysterious young woman (Julianne Hough) arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight-knit community raises questions about her part. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhanel), a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.

    The film is directed by Oscar®-nominated Lasse Hallström, based on the best selling novel by Nicholas Sparks from a screenplay by Dana Stevens and Gage Lansky and also stars Cobie Smulders (The Avengers) and David Lyons (J.J. Abram’s Revolution).

    Book FAQs

    • For the story’s themes of domestic abuse, what kind of research did you have to do?

      Less research than you would imagine—in fact, I did none. I’m almost 45 years old, I’ve read newspapers my whole life, I’ve seen news shows on television, I’ve seen movies, I’ve read books, I’ve seen episodes on U.S. commercial television. And I think everyone has a pretty clear idea of what “domestic abuse” means. The specifics in every situation are different, so I just leaned on common sense and tried to create a female character and figure out how she would react in such circumstances.

    International Editions