Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans

A Winter Dream
Richard Paul Evans
Simon & Schuster

Official Synopsis

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.

My Thoughts

I've already determined that I like Richard Paul Evans' writing style. He has a fluid and relaxed way of engaging the reader's interest that makes his books so easy to comprehend and digest, perfect for the holiday season.

That being said, his use of the Old Testament story of Joseph in a modern setting just didn't work for me. Other readers have complained that it feels rushed, and I agree with them. Combining the rushed feel with the absurdity of circumstances and it just didn't work. The characters are nice enough, Joe especially. He really is a nice guy, pretty much a guarantee in one of Evans' Christmas stories, at least from what I've noticed so far.

If Joseph's brothers wanted to throw him out of the family, why set him up with a halfway decent job doing what he does best, even if it is halfway around the country? What was up with the character of April being an escapee from a bigamist cult? Joe handled that part of the story surprisingly well considering its absurdity. And how about the ease with which Joe rose up through the ranks of the marketing firm? Nope, none of these elements worked for me. The story felt entirely too slipshod and erratic.

Plus, it's really not a Christmas story. The book, being all of 260 pages, took place over 3 years time. In other words, poor use of planning and timeline. There are a few Christmases within A Winter Dream, but nothing to actually make it a "Christmas story" despite Joe's dream about himself being a Christmas tree and other trees bowing to it. While the concept of dreams worked for Joseph, dreams from God I might add, they didn't work here simply because I never sensed Joe had any semblence of faith. Why in the world would he be blessed with prophetic dreams when he doesn't really have any faith?

So this one was a miss for me.
Click the above button for a link to the official page of links for this Christmas Fiction Extravaganza!


  1. Hi Carissa, I'm just shamelessly 'hacking' this comment section to let you know I received your Christmas card and that it totally made my day! Receiving a hand-written letter is just amazing, so thank you very much. I sure hope my card makes it to you in time for Christmas. Just one more working day for me and then I'm off until the New Year! I really need a break, I'm quite drained from writing my PhD thesis these last few months. You know when you write every day, you just don't see how you can improve anymore, you're sort of blind to your own writings? So after the holiday I hope to return with a fresh outlook and to do lots of editing! It's been so warm here in The Netherlands, we've got double digit temperatures (that's above 50 F), which is absolutely not normal for The Netherlands in December. We don't often get a white Christmas, but it will normally be freezing a bit in the nights and be about 4-6 C (39-43 F) during the day. My mom and sister are coming to my place for Christmas, so I have quite a bit of Christmas prep still to do, a bit of cleaning and last-minute grocery shopping.... Tonight I made use of the extended opening times of many shops and went to Utrecht, the 'large' city in my neighbourhood. I didn't buy much, but just enjoyed the Christmassy displays and the good atmosphere. I've never read a Charles Dickens Christmas story besides The Christmas Carol, but The Chimes sounds interesting. I just looked it up and saw it's about New Year's eve, so I might just fit it in this year before that day! I'll stop with this outrageously long comment now and wish you a merry and blessed Christmas!

    1. Yay, my card made it to you! I'm so excited about that . . . I wasn't sure it would arrive on time. Wow, I honestly had no idea you were at the PhD phase of your education. Consider me extremely impressed. I survived my BA, and have give some mild consideration to pursuing a Masters Program. I'd really love to work in Christian publishing, so I need to research degrees that would help me reach that goal. We stand the slimmest, minutest chance of snow on Christmas this year. I'm holding my breath for it, but even if it just snows on Christmas Eve, that's fine by me. Our cold temps with snow really hit in the first 3 months of the year, so they're coming. I can wait. ;) That's awesome you have family coming. I still live with my parents and my younger sister so no guests coming. Although I am hopeful my mom's older brother and his wife might make it for next Christmas. It would be so amazing to have them celebrate the holidays with us. Don't be surprised if I write you the occasional note and letter. I really do love writing letters to friends, it's kind of a habit most of modern society has gotten out of in the last decade or so. But I still love doing it. I hope you have a terrific Christmas with your mom and sister!

    2. Aw, thanks! I really do like research and I'm lucky to have found the place where I do my PhD, we're trained very well.

      I hope you get to find work in Christian publishing someday!

      I'd really like to receive some letters from you in the future, I totally agree it's a sadly forgotten art. And I will definitely write back if you do!


Book Review: Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart (Kopp Sisters #3, 2017)

Original Summary Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp is outraged to see young women brought into the Hackensack jail over dubious charges ...