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The Guardian - Book Review

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published October 26th 2014
A Story of Love and Obsession
Nicholas Sparks' 7th novel, in the order of publication, "The Guardian" is a captivating love story involving "two believable characters" as well as an exciting thriller. The unique combination was one of the American author's intentions when writing the story, and also a challenge as he himself confesses:

"In the course of my file, I've probably read a couple of thousand thrillers, and though many of them had characters fall in love within the story, I can't remember reading one where the thriller element was secondary to the relationship. [] The challenge was to find the right balance between the two elements and to pace the story accordingly."

Nicholas Sparks - The Guardian
Nicholas Sparks - The Guardian book cover

The whole story revolves around three main characters: Julie Barenson a young woman, whose husband had died, Mike Harris a down-to-earth young man, who used to be the husband's best friend and who's head over heels in love with Julie, and Richard Franklin a psychopath who enters their life abruptly, and whose obsessive love for Julie makes him become a menace.

At the beginning of the story we find out about the special Christmas gift Julie's late husband, Jim had arranged for her before passing away a Great Dane puppy, who will become a major character in the story and a symbol for "the guardian" metaphor. Singer, the dog, is Julie's trustworthy companion and a very good judge of character, nor hesitating to express himself whenever he liked or disliked something. His reactions are the first signs we get that there is something wrong about the seemingly perfect Richard Franklin otherwise a sophisticated man, who takes Julie to see "The Phantom of the Opera", to romantic restaurants, on a balloon ride and to a beach picnic.

Historic Downtown Swansboro - Flickr/Eurobum99

The story is set in Swansboro a charming small town in North Carolina, where people know each other by name and life flows quietly, in its own routine. This comes in contrast with Richard Franklin's diabolic mind and with the violence he is capable of.

The beginning of the novel focuses on describing life in Swansboro, Julie's almost boring routine and her romantic dilemma. The last part of the novel makes us follow Richard Franklin's intricate obsession and the threads of the investigation that Swansboro police is handling. Here again we have two opposing characters the already worn off Pete Gandy, who thinks he knows and has seen it all, and the young detective Jeniffer Romanello, who is still in training, but has a good flair of what the job is about.

The Guardian is, without any doubt, one of Nicholas Sparks' best novels. One of the book's greatest merits lies in Sparks' talent to create believable characters, making us read the book with the same interest we would hear a neighborhood story.
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