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Thursday, December 22, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans @richardpaulevan @SimonAudio

TITLE: Finding Noel
NARRATOR: Richard Paul Evans
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: September 25, 2006
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 4 hrs and 33 mins
GENRE: Holiday/Christmas
The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life has dealt him one blow after another, until one snowy November night, when he meets a beautiful young woman who will change his life forever. Macy Wood has little memory of her birth parents, and memories she'd rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word "Noel" is the only clue to the little sister she vaguely remembers, a clue that will send her and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family.
MY REVIEW:

It’s just not Christmas without a heartwarming, inspirational story by Richard Paul Evans!

Mark Smart has had a tough time of it lately. He left his home in Alabama to attend the University of Utah on an engineering scholarship. He lost the scholarship, his beloved mother died, and his girlfriend got engaged to someone else. Because he didn’t leave a forwarding address or phone number when he lost his scholarship and his dorm residence, he didn’t find out about his mother's death until two days after the funeral! Mentally, he is really struggling with how to cope and has had suicidal thoughts and is suffering from depression and loneliness. One night, his car breaks down and he walks to a coffee shop only to find that it has just closed for the evening. The waitress, Macy Wood, agrees to let him in to use the phone and he ends up pouring out his heart to her. They make a connection, and the kindness of this woman changes Mark’s world.

Mark’s father, Stuart, is a mechanic and owns his own auto repair shop. Once Mark turned ten years old, Stuart brought his son to work on Saturdays and taught him how to do routine maintenance on vehicles. Stuart hoped his son would one day take over the family business, but Mark had no interest in it. He felt like he was robbed of his childhood and that he never got to just hang out and play with his friends.

Mark’s mother, Alice, was nothing like his father. She was kind-hearted and soft-spoken, and Mark was very close to her. He reaches out to his maternal aunt, and she reveals to Mark that there are things in the past that he doesn’t know about and to not be so hard on his father. When the secrets are revealed, it’s a real turning point in Mark’s relationship with his father.

Meanwhile, Macy Wood has her own troubled past. Her mother passed away when she was very young, and then she was left with just her father who wasn’t really equipped to raise her. She was separated from her little sister and adopted into what should have been a loving family, but her adoptive mother was cruel and hit her and never failed to remind her that she wasn’t like the rest of her “natural” children. Mark ends up falling for Macy and proposes to her after a whirlwind romance, but she tells him that she can’t marry him until he deals with his past.

I really liked his story, but there was a lot of brokenness and sadness. I’ve read a couple other books by Evans, and this one definitely was a tougher story. I really liked Macy as a character, but I also felt like she put an awful lot on Mark! He almost had to be a mind-reader to figure out what she wanted and wasn’t saying! The best part of the story was when Mark was reunited with his father.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story but not as much as other stories by Evans, such as The Christmas List and A Winter Dream. I think this might be due, in part, to Evans’ less than enthusiastic narration of his own book! I absolutely love Evans as a story-teller, and he really knows how to tug on those heart-strings. However, he failed to deliver the emotions in his narration. Here is a sample:



MY RATING:

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