Dec 8, 2012

WinterHaven Sleigh Tour

Well, well, well... This should be fun :) Today I am jumping on board the WinterHaven Sleigh Tour hosted by WinterHaven Books. This week, I am posting a review of Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans.

"There are stories, Christmas stories that are stored away like boxes of garlands and frosted glass ornaments, to be brought out and cherished each year. I've come to believe that my story is a Christmas story. For it has forever changed the way I see Christmas."
The Christmas season is supposed to be full of joy, but not for Mark Smart. Life had dealt him one blow after another until one snowy November night, when he finds a beautiful young woman who will change his life forever. Macy Wood has little memory of her birth parents, and memories she'd rather forget of her adopted home. A Christmas ornament inscribed with the word "Noel" is the only clue to the little sister she only vaguely remembers, a clue that will send her and Mark on a journey to reclaim her past, and her family.

Finding Noel was a quick and easy read in general. It tugs at your heartstrings, leaving you a tad bit misty-eyed. This book isn't really completely warm and fuzzy like you'd expect a Christmas book to be. The characters face several painful obstacles throughout their entire lives, experiencing moments when they almost give up and times when their downfalls build strength.

The only thing that gets them through their weakest moments are the kindness of others. Sometimes you just can't carry all the burden by yourself, and that's when an angel appears. In Mark's case, Macy is his angel, and she alters the course of what could have been a very short life for him.

Macy is a pillar of strength. Not to sound cliche, but that girl seems to handle anything thrown at her and come out okay - for the most part - on the other side. After hearing her story, I'm surprised she didn't end up in a ditch or a rehab center. She had a little help along the way, but Macy's most admirable quality is her determination to do the right thing. She never allows the world around her to harden her heart and she won't let it break her.

Mark is alright. I didn't really feel much for the guy - he was kinda generic. I felt like he was there only to compare to Macy and help her along her journey. His story has some twists and turns, but it definitely takes a back burner to Macy's.

Characters aside, the story itself is unique in regards to Christmas. Mark views it differently than I've ever heard it. He says:
"And perhaps after all the songs and poems and stories of the season, Christmas is really no more than that - humanity's searching 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."
It's an interesting way of looking at it, especially because that's what Macy is looking for throughout the entire novel. Her sister, Noel, who is the only blood family she really has left, is out there somewhere according to Macy's vague memories and an ornament with Noel's name inscribed in the red paint.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. It's not something I would usually pick up - I'm not typically a fan of Christmas novels - but this one was unique and felt genuine.

I'd recommend :).

Happy Reading Everyone :)

~ Keely ~

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