Monday, October 15, 2007

Book Review Monday - The Letter – By: Richard Paul Evans

It’s coming on that time of year – the Holidays. There are movies I watch, and a few books I revisit. Richard Paul Evans' first 3 books are on that list.

The Letter – By: Richard Paul Evans – Reviewed by Perle Champion
First published in Birmingham Weekly

‘The Letter’ a good way to tie up ‘Christmas Box’ trilogy

This is an old-fashioned moral tale. Questions are raised; bad things happen to good people; lessons are learned; and love is the message. Think It’s a Wonderful Life, and you instantly know what I mean.

In The Letter, Richard Evans tells a story that tugs at parts of our hearts we don’t often acknowledge. It is the final book in The Christmas Box collection. All three books are good reading, but I liked The Christmas Box best.

The Christmas Box introduces us to MaryAnne Parkin, an aging widow whose bittersweet memories haunt her nights and harry her days as she tries t convey the true meaning of Christmas and life to a young couple and their daughter.

In The Timepiece, book two in the collection, we meet MaryAnne as a young woman in trouble, who is rescued and married by the wealthy businessman, David Parkin. Before the novel’s end, their idyllic life is torn asunder by bigots of the time because of David’s good deed. He saves his friend Lawrence, who is black, from sure death by lynching.

In The Letter book three, we enter the Parkins’life when love seems a fading memory. They are two people living solitary lives together until MaryAnne can’t stand it any more and goes back to England where she was born. She leaves behind a letter and The Letter. The letter, mysteriously left on the grave of the Parkins’ only child, leads David in search of the mother who abandoned him when he was six. He doesn’t find her, but he does find himself and realizes that is what he was looking for all along.

Crisis brings MaryAnne and David home to sit by the bed of their dying friend, Lawrence. David remembers Lawrence once likening love t a tree that needs taking care of. David realizes that love needs nurturing and that, like a tree, neglect is its death knell. MaryAnne and David rekindle their love and fall back into the blissful days of their early life together until real life intrudes once again.

Bad things do happen to good people but good people do go on. I wish Evans ended his story on a more upbeat note, but he has an agenda – moralists always do There is no gathering under the tree at the end here, and no bell rings when Evans’ angel gets his wings.

Note: Evans has a brand new book out Called the Gift – It’s on my list of books to review next month.
Excerpt from his website: The Gift - “The Bible says that God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. My story is about one of God’s weak things. His name is Collin, a frail, beautiful little boy with a very special gift.”

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