Excerpt from Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Message In A Bottle

by Nicholas Sparks

Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks X
Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 1998, 322 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 1999, 370 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


She began to puff at the cork, almost expecting it to be the same bottle she had sent, although she knew that couldn't be. It was probably from another child, though, and if it requested a reply, she was going to send it. Maybe along with a small gift from the Cape and a postcard as well.

The cork was wedged in tightly, and her fingers slipped as she tried to open it. She couldn't get a very good grip. She dug her short fingernails into the exposed cork and twisted the bottle slowly. Nothing. She switched hands and tried again. Tightening

her grip, she put the bottle between her legs for more leverage, and just as she was about to give up, the cork moved a little. Suddenly renewed, she changed back to her original hands ... squeezed ...twisting the bottle slowly more cork and suddenly it loosened and the remaining portion slipped out easily. She tipped the bottle upside-down and was surprised when the note dropped to the sand by her feet almost immediately. When she leaned over to pick it up, she noticed it was tightly bound, which was why it slid out so easily.

She untied the yarn carefully, and the first thing that struck her as she unrolled the message was the paper. This was no child's stationery. It was expensive paper, thick and sturdy, with a silhouette of a sailing ship embossed 'in the upper right hand corner. And the paper itself was crinkled, aged looking, almost as if it had been in the water for a hundred years.

She caught herself holding her breath. Maybe it was old. It could be-there were stories about bottles washing up after a hundred years at sea, so that could be the case now. Maybe she had a real artifact here. But as she scrutinized the writing itself, she saw that she was mistaken. There was a date on the upper left corner of the paper.

July 22, 1997.

A little more than three weeks ago.



Three weeks?
That's all?

She looked a little further. The message was long - it covered the front and back sides of the paper-and it didn't seem to request any reply of sorts. A quick glance showed no address or phone number anywhere, but she supposed it could have been written into the letter itself.

She felt a twinge of curiosity as she held the message in front of her, and it was then, in the rising sunlight of a hot New England day, that she first read the letter that would change her life forever.

July 22, 1997

My Dearest Catherine,

I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away.

I am trying though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest , you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. "Do you know her?" they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer the truth. "Better than my own heart."

I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again.

I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you'll pull back, but of course you don't. You never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life.

Copyright © Nicolas Sparks. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher Warner Books. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...
  • Book Jacket: Circe
    Circe
    by Madeline Miller
    Towards the end of Madeline Miller's novel Circe, the titular nymph is questioned by her son ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Names They Used for God
    All the Names They Used for God
    by Anjali Sachdeva
    Pre-publication press has already compared Anjali Sachdeva to Kelly Link and other genre-blending ...
  • Book Jacket: Look Alive Out There
    Look Alive Out There
    by Sloane Crosley
    After a brief (and thoroughly enjoyable) foray into fiction (with her 2015 novel The Clasp), Sloane ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.