The Guardian, by Nicholas Sparks, follows Julie from the time her husband, Jim,  dies unexpectantly to a few years later when she is fresh on the dating market and looking for someone new. Even though everyone in the small town of Swansboro, where Julie lives, knows exactly who is the best for her.

Before his death, Jim arranged with a friend to send Julie a dog the Christmas after his death. He always wanted a Great Dane, and sent one to Julie to give her a friend and a companion. Julie names the puppy Singer, and sees Singer as more of a human than the dog he is.

She’s been on a few dates, with a few men she never wants to go out with again, when Richard walks into her life. He comes into the hair salon where she works, and almost immediately asks her out. It’s obvious from the beginning that Singer doesn’t like Richard, but obeys Julie when she tells him to be nice.

Mike, who everyone knows is in love with Julie and knows they would be amazing together, was Jim’s best friend. He doesn’t have the confidence to ask Julie out, and immediately doesn’t like Richard. Although, he cannot figure out why he doesn’t. Outside of the obvious.

But, as the reader goes on, I started to side with Mike. Richard wasn’t the person he was portraying himself to be, and we learned later that Richard may or may not have even been his real name. The story takes unexpected turn after unexpected turn, and the reader is kept on the edge of their seat during the entire book.

Going into the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard about Nicholas Sparks most from the movies that had been based on his book, which includes one of my favourite love movies, and was surprised when this book went the way it did. The thriller/mystery surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting that. The romance that Sparks is known for was present in the story, but wasn’t like any of the other books I have heard from him.

This is the first book I have read by Mr. Nicholas Sparks, but it will defiantly not be the last.