I love to read and I love to see how the movie of a book I cherished comes out. While the book is almost always better, I'm normally satisfied with how things turn out. Rarely am I left angry because they changed it so terribly (Other Boleyn Girl, I'm looking at you).
Safe Haven of course changed some things but nothing that messed with the overall plot too much. They simply took out small details that would have made it a richer a movie.
The main change is how she gets away. Granted you figure out the whole story through a series of flashbacks but they changed the frequency and details of them.
MOVIE: Katie is running away from a struggle that just happened where she stabs her abusive drunk husband and runs for her life. She runs to a strangers house and asks for quick refuge. She then cuts and dyes her hair and goes to the bus stop in a panic. Kevin is using his police privileges to search the buses for her and barely misses the bus she is on. She then stops in a small town and decides to live there.
BOOK: Katie plots and waits her escape to every last detail. She takes the smallest amount of change out of her husband's wallet. She buys a prepaid phone and sets the house phone to forward calls to the cell phone, testing it to make sure there is no noise when it forwards the call. She sneaks over to the neighbors house often and they are not strangers but close friends. She conveniently looks like their deceased daughter and she takes her information so she can use her ID so Kevin will have an even harder time finding her.
There are other changes but overall I loved both the book and the movie. Nicholas Sparks knows how to tug on the hearts strings and make you cry at least once by the end of the story.