The Guardian, by Nicholas Sparks, is the story of widowed Julie Barenson who receives a puppy that her husband arranged for her to receive before his premature death. The dog, Singer, a Great Dane, is one of the only sources of comfort to her for four years after her husband's death; according to Sparks, "Singer had made it possible for her to go on" (1). Four years after her husband Jim's death, Julie decides it's time to start dating again, but she doesn't know with whom. There's her husband's best friend and best man at their wedding, Mike Harris, who is now a local mechanic. Or there is Richard Franklin, a mysterious rich man, who's new to the small North Carolina town. Julie decides to date Richard but Singer hates him. "Richard fell to his knees, one arm extended as Singer shook his head from side to side, snarling" (Sparks 184). After Singer bites Richard, and after he leaves notes on her doorstep late at night, Julie realizes it might be a sign and since there is no spark between them, she stops seeing him and begins to see Mike. While Julie is dating Mike she continues to get notes from Richard and suspiciously runs into him at the grocery store and while taking Singer on walks. Julie no has to deal with a stalker, who will do anything to be with her, even murder, as she tries to move on with Mike. Julie then gets Jennifer Romanello, a street smart cop, involved. The Guardian is a suspenseful love story, police drama, and thriller.
1. Richard Franklin goes on a few dates with Julie before she decides they are simply not "clicking." Is this realistic? How would you feel is you were receiving unexpected gifts and notes at your house after the first and second dates?
2. The first chapter after the prologue is four years after Jim, Julie's husband, has died. She says that she has moved on. Is four years long enough to grieve, or is it too long?
3. If you received an unexpected puppy on your doorstep on Christmas Eve, along with a note from your deceased husband, would it help you heal, or hurt you?