From the author of The Longest Ride and The Return comes a novel about the enduring legacy of first love—and the decisions that haunt us forever.
 
1996 is the year that changes everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at 16 to live with an aunt she barely knows in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she can think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until her aunt introduces her to Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point Academy, 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 . . . as will Bryce.
 
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 finds herself unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she begins growing closer to him.

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



From the author of The Longest Ride and The Return comes a novel about the enduring legacy of first love—and the decisions that haunt us forever.
 
1996 is the year that changes everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at 16 to live with an aunt she barely knows in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she can think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until her aunt introduces her to Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point Academy, 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 . . . as will Bryce.
 
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 finds herself unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she begins growing closer to him.

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

"And in the end, isn’t that the most important thing in life? To be truly known and loved by someone you’ve chosen?"
- Nicholas Sparks, The Wish

Inspiration

“The Wish is a novel that was more than twenty years in the making; or more accurately, it explored a theme that had long captured my interest. I had always wanted to write a story about a pregnant teen who decides to give her baby up for adoption. I first considered the idea after finishing my forth novel, The Rescuel; in fact, while in the conception stage of every novel since then, I found my thoughts returning to the same idea, but I simply couldn’t seem to find the story. Beyond that, I’d always wanted to write a novel with a Christmas theme, but for a long time, I wasn’t sure what to do with that idea either. In the end, by combining those two ideas, I think I’ve written a novel that people of all ages will love and enjoy.

I’m often asked how much of my characters are based on real people. The characters I create, while perhaps being inspired in some small way by an individual I know, become original and compelling characters and hopefully they ring true as real people to the reader.”

Ocracoke, NC

Ocracoke, NC

Standing apart physically and esthetically from all the other barrier islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island is a combination of a quaint historic unincorporated village and undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

International Editions