The Final Note: A Novel
Kevin Alan Milne
Center Street (2011)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (7/11)
Ethan Bright and Annaliese Burke are two young American college students who meet in Austria. Ethan is a musician and an exceptional guitar player. Annaliese is an artist who dreams of illustrating children’s books. Their artistic sides help them form an instant bond and their lives seem perfect. They may not have much, but they are happy. However, after they get married, reality sets in, and like most couples they face their share of adversity. Dreams are put on hold. Starting a family has its setbacks. Soon, both seem to have given up on the things that made them happiest. After a terrible accident, they must learn to face the world in a whole new way.
“The Final Note” takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Seeing Ethan and Annaliese blissfully in love, ready to take on the world and fulfill their dreams is inspiring and refreshing. Watching them face life’s difficulties was hard, but I always found myself rooting for them to pull through. It was sad to see that the simple things in life that brought them together in the first place no longer seemed to be enough. But the ultimate test of their love really showed the importance of having faith and hope.
One of the major strengths of this book is definitely its characters. The author creatively used Ethan’s character to mirror events from both his father’s and his grandfather’s pasts. It is through a myriad of characters that important lessons are portrayed including forgiveness, love and kindness. There are many scenes involving God and religion, but they are not overdone. Rather, they are used to illustrate unconditional love, healing and persevering when times seem bleak.
“The Final Note” reminds me a lot of the types of books Nicholas Sparks has written. Many people who read it will experience overwhelming emotions. While this book will probably attract mainly a female audience, men would benefit greatly from reading it too. On the path to discovering what really is important in life, the reader will encounter a few surprises as the story takes some unexpected turns. I literally could not put this book down.