Richard Paul Evans, the author of THE CHRISTMAS BOX and a number of
other novels, was inspired to pen another Christmas-themed story,
this time in remembrance of his mother who passed away on
Valentine's Day 2006. I chose to read this book because I also lost
my mom this year, just a month before Evans did, and I wanted to
see what he would write in honor of her (his biggest fan).
Mark Smart currently lives in Utah. He's alone in the world, his
mother having recently passed away. But because he had no
forwarding address when he dropped out of college after losing his
scholarship, no one was able to notify him of her death. He found
out about her passing when he happened to phone home to check in,
and learned that the funeral had been just a few days prior to his
Down on his luck, Mark now works as a janitor in a middle school.
One cold snowy evening, his car breaks down and he walks through
the wind and the cold looking for help. He comes upon a
coffeehouse, and a woman named Macy Wood opens the door. Despite
the fact that she has never met him before and is trying to close
up the shop, she lets him in and allows him to use the phone.
Meeting Macy that night changes Mark's life, as Macy comforts him
at his lowest point. The two strike up a friendship, and Mark
begins to fall in love with her.
Mark learns about Macy's horrible past, a world in which she was
unloved, despite the fact that she had been adopted into a home.
She's no longer in contact with her adoptive family because of all
the awful memories she has of them, having run away when she was
only a teenager. She is now in her early twenties and lives with a
roommate. She has vague memories of her biological family, except
for the last day she had spent with her father, but she does
remember her younger sister. Macy would love to have someone to
call family, so she asks for Mark's help in locating her long-lost
Mark has issues with his father and refuses to go home again.
Instead, he focuses on his new life in Utah and his growing
relationship with Macy. He meets her roommate, who is like a second
mother to her, and wants very much to spend the rest of his life
with Macy. But Macy has a lot of baggage that prevents her from
trusting anyone, including Mark. While at first she welcomes Mark's
love and attention, soon she is pushing him away. It doesn't seem
that the two of them will have a happily ever after.
Richard Paul Evans writes in a simple prose, but his stories often
pack a lot of emotion. FINDING NOEL is the love story of two lost
souls who find each other at the right time, though it takes a lot
of effort for them to overcome their pasts and truly accept one
another. When Mark hits rock bottom, he meets Macy and feels she
has saved his life. But in fact Mark saves hers, as he finds out
months later after getting to know Macy's roommate and best friend.
Tissues will be needed before the story ends, and fans of Evans
will want to add this book to their collection.
FINDING NOEL is an uplifting story that fits in perfectly with the
spirit of the holidays.
Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton (Ratmammy@lofton.org) on January 21, 2011