I love them. I fell head over heels with A WINTER DREAM by Richard Paul Evans. The 266-page novel is so fast-paced, I whipped through it on the treadmill in seventy-minutes. I also displayed the full spectrum of emotions. Evans’ books do that.
Evans is known for his holiday books. The first was THE CHRISTMAS BOX. He self-published that slim novel, and traveled around the country on his own dime, telling the touching story about the loss of a child. He won hearts wherever he went.
When Evans arrived at my radio station so many years ago, he pressed about a dozen, autographed self-published paperbacks into my hand. The story behind THE CHRISTMAS BOX plays into Evans’ latest book, A WINTER DREAM, in an astonishing way.
More on that in a moment.
Evans – the second-youngest of seven brothers – is not unlike his main character in A WINTER DREAM, Joseph Jacobson. JJ is the second-youngest of twelve boys, and the obvious favorite of his Advertising Agency guru/father. When JJ’s dad praises him in front of all his brothers, then tops that by giving JJ a treasured coat, his angry brothers concoct a plan to exile him.
JJ loses the woman he believed he would marry – she won’t follow him from Denver to Chicago, where his brothers have lined up a low-level position for him in one of the top ad agencies. JJ’s brothers believe he’ll wash out quickly in the Windy City. He doesn’t.
Instead, JJ has a prophetic dream.
He spins that into a winning advertising slogan. He climbs this new ladder of success, along the way, falling for a woman with a mysterious past. Just when he seems on top of the world, another jealous character acts, and everything unravels again.
JJ is exiled again, this time to a Manhattan ad agency with a satellite office to which misunderstood, genuinely good people have been banished. And, he has prophetic dreams about each of them, boosting their morale.
By now, you’re probably recognizing this as a retelling of the Biblical Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors. I missed the reference, by the way, which proves A WINTER DREAM stands on its own merits.
Evans tells me that loving forgiveness saved Joseph.
It saved JJ. And, those qualities saved him.
He says when his first book, A CHRISTMAS BOX, became a New York Times bestseller, his many brothers exiled him. Hurt and rejected, Richard Paul Evans struggled. He chose, instead of anger, a creative, caring path – and, Evans found a way to take us on that journey in A WINTER DREAM. It is tears and laughs and stand-up-and-cheer and it’s definitely happily-ever-after.