Nicholas Sparks, known as a writer of sentimental romance novels with dashes of magic and suspense, added another such book to his catalog in 2008 with The Lucky One. The novel, which was published during the continued American invasion in Iraq, centers on the experiences of a soldier stationed in Iraq, and adds a political touch to the usual romantic plot line.

Logan Thibault is a former Marine freshly returned from a tour in Iraq. While he was stationed in the Middle East, Logan discovered a lost photograph of a beautiful woman at a fair in North Carolina. When no one claims the photo, he decides to keep it. Soon after this discovery, Logan begins to experience a streak of extremely good luck. He wins at cards, and he also seems to cheat death during violent skirmishes with the enemy. His friend Victor hypothesizes that the picture, signed with an enigmatic "E," is a lucky charm. Logan has his doubts, but keeps the picture safe nonetheless.

Back in the States, Logan finds it hard to return to his former life in Colorado. In order to give his new life some purpose, he decides to backpack across the country and find the woman who brought him so much luck. From the few clues the picture provides, he makes his way, with his German Shepherd, Zeus, to Hampton, North Carolina. After questioning the locals, he learns that his lucky charm is Elizabeth Green, a single mother and teacher living with her grandmother.

Grandmother Nana takes a liking to the young man and gives him a job in her dog kennel. Logan's relationship with Elizabeth is a little more complicated; he has more than a few nasty encounters with her ex, a deputy named Keith Clayton, and finds himself unable to tell her about the photo or its ability to bestow luck. Despite his secret, Logan finds himself irresistibly attracted to Elizabeth and longs to tell her the truth.

When Elizabeth finally discovers the story of the photo, she is scared and enraged. Accusing Logan of stalking, she seems to kill his belief in their destined love. To make matters worse, Logan finds himself in a final, violent encounter with Deputy Clayton. Fortunately, Logan proves he is truly The Lucky One when Clayton dies and Elizabeth realizes that Logan truly loves her.