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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Audiobook Review: A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans

TITLE: A Winter Dream
NARRATOR: Fred Berman
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2012
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 5 CDs, 5 hrs and 3 mins
GENRE: Holiday/Christmas, Inspirational
ISBN: 9781442353091
From wonderful storyteller and author of the bestselling phenomenon "The Christmas Box," a new holiday novel based on the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors.Joe is forced out of the family business by his jealous siblings. Moving on to another company, he soon becomes chief advisor to the CEO. But when the economy turns, Joe's siblings need his help to save the family business.

Based on the Old Testament story about Joseph and the coat of many colors and including a love story, "A Winter Dream" can be embraced for its message of forgiveness by believers and nonbelievers alike.

I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

I discovered Richard Paul Evans last year, when I listened to The Christmas List. I loved it so much that I vowed to read at least one Evans book each Christmas. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review his latest holiday story.

A Winter Dream is the modern-day retelling of the biblical story, Joseph and The Coat of Many Colours. In this version, Joseph "JJ" Jacobson is a 29 year-old man. He is the 12th of 13 children with 11 brothers and one sister. His father, Israel "Izzy" Jacobson, has been married four times, most recently to Rachel, who is the mother of JJ and his younger brother, Ben. Izzy is the president of an advertising firm in Denver that specializes in retail advertising. All of his children work in the family business. Izzy has never made it a secret that he favours JJ, and his half-brothers are jealous of him. Izzy spent most of his life working hard to make his firm successful. By the time that he married Rachel, his business was already a success and he took to spending more time with his new wife especially after she bore him two sons. The elder sons were resentful of the attention that JJ and Ben received from their father, who was absent for most of their upbringing.

The story begins three years before at a business meeting with a prestigious client. He is unimpressed with the ideas presented to him and threatens to take his business elsewhere, but JJ saves the day with a brilliant pitch. Izzy becomes even more filled with pride, and he plans a family dinner to celebrate the firm's latest success. To his dismay, Izzy shares JJ's dream with the rest of the family, the one in which JJ dreamed of walking through a snow-covered forest and coming upon a tree covered in lights, like a Christmas tree, surrounded by 11 other trees. After a great storm, the 11 trees were bent towards the special tree in the middle. Izzy felt that the dream symbolized JJ as the "tree of light" with his 11 brothers bowing down to him. To show his love for his son, Izzy presented JJ with his Navy flight jacket from Vietnam which was decorated with patches from different places of deployment. It was a prized possession that was coveted by all his sons, and they became even more jealous of JJ.

The following morning, JJ drives his parents to the airport to catch their flight for a much-needed vacation. Back at the office, JJ is summoned to a meeting with his brothers. He learns that his younger brother, Ben, has embezzled a large sum of money from the firm due to a gambling addiction. His brothers tell him that they want to make an example of Ben and bring charges against him. JJ is horrified and offers to repay the sum, but this is not good enough for his siblings. They promise that they will sweep the issue under the rug if JJ is prepared to make a sacrifice: Quit the firm and move away, never to return or speak to his parents again. JJ is horrified that his siblings would use this opportunity to their advantage to get rid of him. He knows that it will break his father's heart, but he agrees to their conditions. They line up a job at a big firm in Chicago and rent a cheap apartment for him. He must leave immediately, before his parents return from their trip.

While JJ thrives at his new job, the brothers get what they so richly deserve and bring ruin upon themselves.

Evans writes the most moving, inspirational stories! I was so touched while listening to this story, which I finished on Christmas Day, that I was moved to tears on more than one occasion. Despite being ousted by his family, he manages to pick up the pieces and start anew. JJ handles his challenges with grace and, as the old saying goes, "You can't keep a good man down." This biblical story is one of my favourites, and Joseph reminds us that the best gift that we can give to ourselves and others is that of forgiveness. Such a poignant reminder at this time of the year more than any other!

I loved A Winter Dream, and I will continue with my holiday tradition of listening to an Evans book every Christmas!
Fred Berman is a new-to-me narrator, and he was an excellent choice for this book! His pace was excellent, and I found it very hard to put my iPod down!


5 stars! It was superb! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it! A big thanks to Simon Audio for the opportunity to review this book!

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  1. Sounds like one I should put on my list for next year. And I love the cover.

    1. Me, too! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Carol!


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