Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Book #45: The Guardian
So in my last post, about Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, I mentioned that he delved into a new genre for him: thriller. I had forgotten about The Guardian. This novel, which came out in 2003, I had read about four years ago, and borrowed it from my sister to re-read. It sat on my shelf for months as I worked through other novels all summer, as I debated about whether or not I should read it again. I remembered tiny bits and pieces of it and couldn't remember if it was worth a revisit. Finally, I opened it up two nights ago and couldn't put it down.
The Guardian begins as another beautiful but slightly predictable Nicholas Sparks romance novel. In the prologue, Julie has recently lost her husband at a very young age, and is feeling lonely, when an unexpected Christmas gift arrives. It turns out that Jim, her late husband, before he died arranged to have a puppy sent to Julie to comfort her in his absence. Julie names the Great Dane Singer, and he becomes her companion for years to come.
Four years later, Julie still misses Jim but is ready to find love again. She begins dating but has no luck. All the while, Jim's best friend Mike is right in front of her, head-over-heels in love with her, and Julie doesn't quite realize how perfect they are for each other. She begins to date a wealthy, seemingly perfect man named Richard, who takes her to the theatre and picnics on the beach. He seems absolutely wonderful...but maybe not exactly her type. Julie attempts to nicely break off the relationship, and finally pursues Mike, the man who has been there for her all along.
However, this is where the novel takes a thriller twist. Richard is not the kind of man who takes being dumped easily. Julie sets off a chain of events that put her and everyone she loves in danger as Richard flies into a jealous rage. In a Fatal Attraction type twist, Richard pursues Julie with everything he has, as he attempts to convince her of his love and win her back.
This novel was absolutely insane and kept me on the edge of my seat, even while reading it for a second time. There was a lot that I had forgotten and I was surprised by some of the same things I had been the first time, so the novel isn't completely predictable. Sparks successfully combines romance with terror and suspense, even better than in Safe Haven. He taps into the unbalanced mind of Richard Franklin and gives his readers a glimpse of insanity. The story is a quick and fantastic read that will keep your mind whirling late at night....that is, if you can even put the book down and try to sleep!