The Bodyguard by Katherine Center follows the classic trope where the bodyguard falls in love with their client. Except this time, the client is actor superstar Jack Stapleton and his new bodyguard is the petite and drab Hannah Brooks. I’m only saying she’s drab because girl lives in a pantsuit. It’s like Miss Congeniality before she gets a makeover.
Anyway, Hannah is assigned to protect Jack Stapleton from a deranged fan which should be a seemingly easy and straightforward gig. Except Hannah doesn’t want it because a.) it’s in Texas and she would rather be literally anywhere else as she refuses to deal with her mother’s death and her sudden breakup with her co-worker Robby (or Bobby – IYKYK), b.) it’s Jack frickin Stapleton, and c.) in order to properly execute the job, she has to pretend to be his girlfriend.
Unfortunately, Hannah is forced to accept and step into the fake role of Jack’s girlfriend while Jack is home with his family for his mother’s surgery. Tensions are high in the Stapleton household, well mostly all the tension is with Jack’s other brother Hank, as the family is still somewhat dealing with the loss of Jack’s brother Drew. As Hannah and Jack are forced to spend time together pretending to be a couple, and so Hannah can do her job, they get to know each other and the lines of their professional relationship begin to blur for Hannah.
The overarching theme in The Bodyguard is centered around grief. Hannah loses her mom early on in the book, where Hannah sort of spirals and instead of wanting to deal with her grief, she’s desperately looking for escape. Despite not having a close relationship with her mom, it’s obviously a huge loss and it affects her more than she realizes. On top of that, she has to deal with a breakup literally a day after the funeral that just piles on the miserable feelings and her desire to run away. I can understand Hannah’s want to just run from her problems, but she’s forced to stay, deal, and figure out how to move on.
Jack carries grief with him as well as he lost his brother in a car accident. Everyone, including his family, believes Jack was at fault for his brother’s death which makes for a very tense family reunion. In grappling with the fact that he saw his brother die and couldn’t do anything to help him, Jack experiences recurring nightmares about the accident where he struggles with accepting the unfortunate outcome of loss. As Jack and Hannah become friends, he opens up to her about his nightmares which in turn, lifts some of the weight off as he moves forward towards the truth.
I enjoyed The Bodyguard. It was actually pretty funny and the banter between the characters felt natural and made it seem more realistic. I will say, Robby/Bobby is a grade A asshole and deserves anything that’s coming to him.
That said, I give The Bodyguard five stars for a refreshing take on a somewhat classic trope. Have you read The Bodyguard? Let me know in the comments!