Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Books by Richard Paul Evans

A Winter Dream
By Richard Paul Evans
Copyright
Read by Fred Berman
Approximately 6 hours


Lost December
By Richard Paul Evans
Copyright 2011
Read by John Dossett
Approximately 6 hours

Richard Paul Evans is nothing if not formulaic. These two books are almost interchangeable in plot, though they are based on two different Biblical premises. The first, A Winter Dream, is a rewriting of the tale of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors. The second, Lost December, is a rewriting of the prodigal son.

In both books, the young up-and-coming son leaves home, runs into trouble, finds himself again, and returns home. The only difference is that in A Winter Dream, Joseph is forced to leave home, and in Lost December, Luke leaves home by his own choice.

In each book, the short chapters begin with a line from the protagonist's diary. He also does this in his series The Walk.

Since I listened to these back-to-back, it was not hard for me to see the similarities in these books.

However, Evans writes well and tells a good story. His main character is always interesting, even if these two fellows were nearly interchangeable. He always has a happy and satisfying ending, even if you have to wonder if things like that really happen (and you know they usually don't).

Evans gives us hope in his stories. That, I think, is why he is such a successful author. He helps the readers think that maybe, just maybe, all that is wrong in their lives will somehow turn out all right in the end.

If you are a feminist, you might find these stories lacking. Women are not generally front and center in these books, and do not come off well. In both books there is a girlfriend who deserts the boy and destroys his faith in humanity, and another woman who is sweet and kind and worthy of him. Women also tend to hold traditional jobs in Evans' stories - they are secretaries and waitresses.

Even though there are some things about Evans's books I don't like, I have to give him a solid rating of 3.5 - 4 when I review him, simply because the stories are solid and well written. They also make me feel something, usually, and that means a lot.




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