Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review: Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans

The following is a summary of Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans from his website:

“There are stories, Christmas stories that are stored away like boxes of garlands and frosted glass ornaments, to be brought out and cherished each year. I’ve come to believe that my story is a Christmas story. For it has forever changed the way I see Christmas.” The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life had dealt him one body blow after another: he lost his scholarship and had to drop out of school; his beloved mother had died in a car crash; his girlfriend dumped him, and now, late on a snowy night in November, his car had broken down. Stumbling into a coffee house, he was looking for a phone to call a tow truck. What he found was a beautiful young woman with an unusual name who, through a simple act of kindness, changed his life forever. Macy Wood had little memory of her birth parents, and memories she’d rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word “Noel” was the only clue to the little sister she only vaguely remembered, a clue that would send her, and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family. From the author of the beloved classic, The Christmas Box, comes another inspiring story of the power of love and the wonder of Christmas.

My Review:

I probably would not have read this book if it was not selected for one of our book club selections. I am very glad that my group chose this book as it was a touching and sweet story. This is the first book that I have read by Richard Paul Evans and I plan on reading more of his work in the future.

One of the major themes of this book is that people are put into others lives for a reason. Macy has lived a pretty rough life by growing up with a family that admitted they didn't really want her--they essentially adopted her because their 'ideal' adoption choice was no longer available. Macy remembers having a sister but all ties to her were severed once the adoption was finalized. As a young adult Macy begins her quest of finding the sister that she has yearned for most of her life.

Mark is a young man who doesn't really know what he is searching for. His heart seems to be hardened from his string of badluck and heartbreak. When Mark's car breaks down he happens to wander to a coffee shop where Macy is working to use a phone. They immediately form a special connection and start to help each other find what is missing and needed in their lives.

As I indicated earlier, this is a sweet Christmas story. During the busy holiday season this is an easy to read novel that really doesn't make you look to deep into the story for meaning. But I think with such a simple message that this story delivers, needing to look deeper is not necessary.

I must admit that at first I didn't think I would enjoy this book because it seemed to consist of mostly dialogue. At about the halfway point that did change, and you were able to see deeper into the heart of the characters. This was an emotional story for me so I did need to keep my tissue handy...so consider this your KLEENEX ALERT.

I did enjoy this story and I can't wait to discuss it with my book club. Richard Paul Evans has a great website that you can check out here. He shares information about all of his books and also has reading group discussion guides available.


Toni said...

this sounds great... really heartwarming. I need to get some Christmas stories read this year... 8 days until Christmas. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

this sounds like a great book.. i love it when a book comes out of the blue and surprises me in a nice way!:)

Anonymous said...

I loved The Christmas Box so I bet this one is good.

Anonymous said...

I've discovered some very good books because someone in my book group suggested that our group read them.

Glad this one worked out so well for you (that's not always the case, but it's good to try new things!)

Jo-Jo said...

Toni: Thanks for the reminder...I didn't really need that ya know...lol lol

Ramya: I agree...I love those nice surprises on the pages of a book!

Kathy: I will have to check out the Christmas Box next year. I have heard a lot about that one.

Dawn: I know what you mean, because we have definitely picked a couple of duds in our group. We have found though, that sometimes the books that we dislike the most have a tendency to spark a great discussion.

Darlene said...

I've got this one waiting for me at the library but the library is closed until Monday replacing the carpets. I'll pick it up next week. I can't wait to read it over Christmas.

Jo-Jo said...

Dar: It will be worth the wait...such a sweet book to read just before Christmas. I can't believe we only have a couple of days left. Ok...I need to breath now!

The Bookworm said...

awwww...sounds good and what a cute cover ;)


Michele said...

For me, the very best part about book clubs is the exposure to books that you might not have chosen for yourself.

This one looks lovely and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)