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Book Review: The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

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Every Holiday Season, I anxiously await a new release from Richard Paul Evans. The books and stories that he seamlessly brings to life upon the pages are the perfect start to the season of family, friends, and love. This season’s release is titled The Christmas List and does not disappoint. Reminiscent of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, The Christmas List focuses on a greedy and greatly disliked businessman, whose only goal in life is to make money and climb the ladder of success. James Kier doesn’t care who he stomps on or whose life he destroys, it’s all about the bottom line.

One fateful morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee and the newspaper, his eyes open in shock, as he is faced with reading his own obituary. Thinking that he is going to sue the pants off of the newspaper and developing a not-so-nice plot, revenge is quickly on his to-do list when he gets back home. That, however, changes as James reads all of the comments online, under the story of his death, followed by an eye-opening dream the following night.

To the astonishment of his employees, James returns to work, making a comment how he is sorry to disappoint and that he is, in fact, alive and well (sarcastically, mind you). At his request, James’ longtime secretary, Linda, makes up a list of people he has wronged. To his shock, the list contains only five names. These, explains Linda, are the ones that have been held within her heart and have made the most lasting impression upon her.

So leads the journey of righting wrongs and finding forgiveness. James soon finds out that forgiveness is not always forthcoming and some wrongs just cannot be righted, no matter how great the desire. For James and the reader, this journey is one of great emotion and self-reflection.

The Christmas List is a story of finding and holding dear what is truly important in life. It is a story of redemption and compassion. There truly was not a single aspect of this book that I did not fully and completely absorb and enjoy. The Christmas List is a true treasure to revel in and enjoy from first page until the last. Richard Paul Evans does a perfect job of bringing to life his characters in very real and very true-to-life settings and circumstances. I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion as I read, oftentimes even brought to tears. The Christmas List is a book to be embraced and one that I raced through in two settings. Do not be fooled, however, even after the final page has been turned and the cover closed. This is a story that will linger with you for a very long time to come.

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