A Christmas Memory

In A Christmas Memory, Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Promise; The Road Home), author of more than 40 novels, delivers an emotionally moving fictionalized story that pays homage to a man who made a profound impact on his early life. The story begins in Pasadena, Calif., in 1967 and centers on Rick, a sensitive and bright, yet socially awkward, eight-year-old with Tourette syndrome. When Rick's older brother, Mark, dies in the Vietnam War, his death drives a wedge between his parents. The loss is compounded by the fact that Mark "didn't believe in war and didn't want to go." As the family struggles with grief and guilt, Rick's father loses his job. This forces a move to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Rick's mother was born and raised. Rick's parents separate shortly after the family settles into the house of Rick's deceased grandmother. While his mother sinks into a severe depression, Rick is bullied by peers and badgered by an ogre of a teacher. Rick finds respite when he befriends a neighbor's dog and, ultimately, the dog's elderly owner, Mr. Foster. This man of integrity--a Black contemporary of Rick's grandmother, separated from his own family--opens his house and heart to the young boy. He offers companionship and wisdom that shepherds Rick through a sad uncertainty, all of which coalesces into a touching and memorable Christmas.

Themes of friendship and forgiveness infuse Evans's beautiful and tender story, one that delivers a heartfelt message about remembrance, love and hope.--Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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