Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans

The story of Alan Christoffersen who began a walk in the Pacific Northwest after the untimely death of his wife and the devasting loss of his advertising business continues in Road to Grace, the third book in this moving series by Richard Paul Evans.  Known for tugging at readers' heart strings, Evans does it again as we see Alan try to move past his agonizing grief by pushing his body further and further across America's west into the heartland states.  As he meets strangers who open their homes and their pasts to Alan, he opens his heart to their stories, but never quite applies the same compassion and gentleness to his own hurt.  Three characters will especially move you to thought in this segment of the journey.  First is Alan's mother-in-law who shows up in Montana and follows Alan on foot despite his repeated screams that she go away.  Alan's heart is hardened against the woman since she had abandoned his wife McKale years before, but the mother will not go away/  Finally Alan must hear her story.  Later, when traveling alone again, Alan meets (I won't spoil it and share the circumstances of the meeting) an older Polish man, who is a Holocaust survivor.  His simple lifestyle and appreciation of each moment in each day will make you stop and review your own life.  Finally the third interesting person is a young mother. grocery store clerk by day and Emeril wannabe by night, who invites Alan for supper.  Each person has an impact on Alan, but unfortunately his emotional state and now his physical condition remain weakened.
Tragedy and accidents always seem to be close by Alan, and this book ends with a huge surprise, making readers anxious for the fourth book  

I was fascinated by the combination history/travelogue that narrator Alan provides as he walks from Montana through South Dakota (Wall Drug, Badlands, Corn Palace), and finally into Missouri (Hannibal and Mark Twain country).  Made me want to travel, although I'll chose wheels, not athletic shoes. I actually listened to this novel on cd and it was an awesome way to pass the time while canning tomatoes and doing some sewing projects.  Since the story is told in first person narration, it is ideal for the audio format.  I would say this was my favorite of the series so far and I will definitely finish the series.  If  you are new to Richard Paul Evans, or just want to catch up on all his writings, check out his website

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