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The Guardian
By Nicholas Sparks
Read by Isabel Keating

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The Guardian

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The Guardian
By Nicholas Sparks
Read by Isabel Keating
Time Warner AudioBooks, (2003)
An Unabridged Audio Recording on 8 Cassettes
ISBN: 1-58621-395-4
Genre: Fiction - Romantic Thriller

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - April 29, 2003

The Guardian is a poignant and unusual love story by Nicholas Sparks that will touch your heart with its sincerity and vivid emotions. This audio edition of The Guardian is delightfully read by the Isabel Keating, an actress who has appeared on both stage and screen. The story centers on Julie Barenson, who was widowed at the young age of 25 when her husband died of a brain tumor. Before his death, her husband arranged for one last Christmas present for his wife - a Great Dane puppy. He also promised that even after he died, he would continue to keep watching over her.

Comforted by Singer, the puppy, Julie slowly rebuilds her life. Time is a great healer, and four years after her husband passed away, Julie begins to think about forming a new alliance. Two men, Richard Franklin and Mike Harris have both been vying for her affections, and Julie is attracted to both men. Deciding which man she prefers proves harder than she ever imagined. Julie must tame her own demons as she judges who will make her happier, the attractive, debonair Franklin, or Harris her rather ordinary long time friend and companion?

With amazing agility, Sparks pushes Julie out of her cozy existence and into a world filled with evil in which she becomes the victim of a deranged stalker. The story builds to an exciting climax as an obsessive ex-lover tries to destroy any chance of happiness for Julie. The ending is thrilling, despite the fact that you can tell how much of the story is going to end well before it does. However, the ending does offer a few unexpected surprises that serve as a fitting end for a hair-raising story.

If you've read any of Sparks other books, you will find that this story is a bit different from his previous books. The suspense element is a nice change, and I particularly liked Singer. This lovable dog is the most well rounded character in the book, and Singer serves as a major plot element. Singer, plus several nice plot twists, elevates The Guardian well above the average garden-variety romantic thriller and makes it a must read for all Sparks' fans.

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