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Finding Noel Hardcover – 3 Oct 2006

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Finding Noel The bestselling author of "The Christmas Box" brings the magic back to Christmas in his heartwarming new book. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 140 reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
A Well-Crafted Holiday Tear-Jerker 15 Nov. 2006
By Janet Boyer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"And perhaps after all the songs and poems and stories of the season, Christmas is really no more than that--humanity's search for the familiar. Every year we bring out the same songs, partake of the same foods and traditions, and share the things that make us feel that there's someplace we belong. And in the end all any of us are looking for is home." -- (My favorite passage) From the book

I admit it--I'm a sucker for Christmas stories. Skpping Christmas (a delightful story), The Christmas Train (a forgettable tale), A Redbird Christmas (another wonderful story)--I've read them all.

As Christmas draws near, I stay on the lookout for holiday heartwarmers found either at my local bookstores or at the library.

I came across Finding Noel at the library, not realizing that it was a new release. (Admittedly, Richard Paul Evans was unknown to me up until this book.)

Sadly, the author lost his mother on Valentine's Day 2006 and after weeks of struggling with his grief, he decided to write a story for her.

I, for one, am glad he did.

Although Macy and Mark are the central characters in this story, Finding Noel shares the universal struggles of *several* compelling characters, delving into areas such as emotionally detached parents, making ends meet, looking for meaning, surviving child abuse, terminal illness, sudden death of a loved one, and finding a soulmate who accepts and loves unconditionally.

Once I began reading Finding Noel, I couldn't stop. Several times--including the last few chapters--I had to put the book down for a good cry. At first, my worried husband looked over at me and asked "Are you OK?" (My first husband died of leukemia and my present husband understands how tales about any kind of death can really rip me up.) I said "Yeah, I'm fine. Just a great book with some major heartwarming moments..."

He smiled in that knowing way as I put down the book every so often to absorb what the author had written.

While I tend to be a book critic--especially with non-fiction books--tales like Finding Noel totally bypass this analytical part of my personality and hit me right in the heart. One reason is because of the author's flawless prose, but another is because he gets the characters *so right*. Anyone who has experienced the shocking, sudden loss of a loved one due to accident or the stinging cruelty of verbal or physical abuse perpetuated by a parent will recognize the authenticity of the characters that grace this book.

But don't think this book is a downer! Oh no--it's not. Yes, some difficult things happen therein and yes, we see humanity in naked, vulnerable states. But we also see the potential GO(O)D that humanity can do when they aspire to BE good--offering forgiveness, a smile, a helping hand, or seeing past appearances. In the book, Mark's character muses to himself "Man's extremities are God's opportunities" and "Be kind to everyone--you don't know what cross they're bearing and how sweet that kind word might ring."

A heartwarming tale of triumphing despite adversity, finding one's place in the world, living with optimism, and giving people a chance (or more than one!), Finding Noel delivers a bittersweet (mostly sweet!) Christmas tale sure to melt the heart of even the iciest of Scrooges.

Thank you, Mr. Evans, for penning this poignant story (and my condolences on the loss of your Mom.) Finding Noel has reminded me of the importance of the "little things"; personally, I will try to remember to offer understanding or a smile when I'm tempted to be not-so-nice when irritated, tired, or impatient...because, really, we don't really know what's going on "behind the curtain"...
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.5 stars - you'll need some tissues! 24 Dec. 2006
By Ratmammy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
FINDING NOEL by Richard Paul Evans

December 23, 2006

Amazon Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Fans of Richard Paul Evans will enjoy this holiday story just in time for Christmas. FINDING NOEL was written in honor of Richard Paul Evans' mother, who had passed away in February and was his biggest fan. The story centers on a young man, Mark Smart, who had just recently quit college and was down on his luck. He had found out by accident that his mother had passed away. No one notified him of her death because he had left no forwarding address after leaving college, and it was during a call to his family back home that told him of the bad news.

Mark is the picture of a young man who seems to be failing in everything in life. He's an academic failure, he has a very low paying job, and he is alone in the world. It is by a fluke of an accident that Mark meets a woman that will change his life forever, Macy, and it becomes a turning point in his life.

Macy is also a loner, with a past that she doesn't divulge to too many people. But she slowly opens up to Mark. Both of them have something in their past they don't want to deal with or talk about, but unless they can get past these issues, it doesn't seem like they have a future together.

The subplot of Macy's search for her lost biological sister makes for a fast paced story line, and this adds to the story of Macy and Mark's love story, revealing part of Macy's hidden past that she herself had forgotten details to. For me, it was this part of the story that kept me reading to the end, because I found her search fascinating.

As in all of Richard Paul Evans' books, FINDING NOEL is a very sentimentally told story with a lot of old fashioned romance. His books are for those who are looking for a story that will motivate a person, stories that show that there is always hope. FINDING NOEL isn't what I'd call a literary accomplishment, but Richard Paul Evans is a good story teller, and he does succeed in telling a story that will inspire at a time when Christmas cheer is what most of us want to hear. For those who don't enjoy sappy saccharine love stories, this isn't for you, but for those who do like short, simple, happy-ending stories, this is a must read.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A sentimental tale for the holidays 4 Oct. 2006
By Robert Busko - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Richard Evans has a history of writing touching stories. His first book The Christmas Box left many of our library patrons touched for weeks, most freely admitting to shedding many tears.

His newest book, Finding Noel, is sure to please those who read The Christmas Box. The lead character, Mark Smart, is facing perhaps the darkest night of his young life. His scholarship at the University of Utah has been cancelled. He's lost his dorm room and part time job at the college. Just days before he's lost his beloved mother. Then on a dark, cold, and snowy night his car dies near a small cafe. Struggling into the warmth of the diner he meets a young woman name Macy and the rest of his live changes.

Interesting characters make this read worthwhile. Mark's father is a virtual neer-do-well who embarrasses Mark but in the end has one of the more memorable lines in the book. Macy's mother died when she was only five of cancer leaving her and her infant sister, Noel, to be tended by an unreliable father. Jo, the unrelated woman who takes in Macy after her mother died works as a waitress in a truck stop. Yes, there's plenty of tension in Finding Noel. In addition to the wonderful characters, the story is tightly written and doesn't waste the readers time.

This is the first of many holiday books and may turn out to be one of the best.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Finding Noel has more of everything... 4 Oct. 2006
By K Kline - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Finding Noel has more of everything I have come to know and love about Richard Paul Evans' writing. It's seems as though he has taken even more time to develop and enrich his characters, which I love. He has taken me back to the snowy winters of my college days and made me feel those still tender, poignant feelings of being so far from home and family, of searching for something I could not find. And then he takes, once again, my heart in his hands and shows me the way to go home. I saw so much of my life in this book and that, to me, is what makes this writer golden. What a joy to have another tale from Richard, but especially, another tale of Christmas.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Evans' best book to date 23 Oct. 2006
By Jason Wright - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've enjoyed all of RPE's books, but none as much as Finding Noel. I read it all in one day, putting off a long list of other things I had on plate. It's a captivating story and one that deserves a wide audience this Christmas. His descriptions are better than ever and his dialogue really pops. He took a risk with another Christmas novel (after the stunning, historic success of Christmas Box) but he's absolutely delivered with Finding Noel. Two thumbs and a toe way up, as Ebert would say.
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