“I felt a little like an archaeologist, digging through sedimentary layers, uncovering the past. But not someone else’s past. My past.”
Famous and lonely. Rich but living with the pain of a rough childhood. Writing about love without anyone to love in life. That is the world of J. Churcher. His life consists of writing best-selling novels and traveling for his book tours. He’s not good at relationships. When a reporter asks him to share a Christmas memory, he tells of the Christmas his mom got mad at his messy room and sent him to the street to live with another family. After several hours in the cold, he knocks on his own door and asks his mom if he can live there again if he’s good. She ends the interview quickly, but the phone rings shortly thereafter to let him know his mother has died and he had inherited her house and belongings. Does he want to go back to the house where he has mostly painful memories?
The Noel Diary is the newest release from Richard Paul Evans. It’s the first book in his new Christmas series, which will have books coming out in 2018 and 2019. I pre-ordered the book as he is my favorite author. I saw him at a book signing for Michael Vey 7 and he talked about The Noel Diary. He wrote it quickly, but based the story on many events from his own life. He said it was difficult to write but more true. After seeing him talk in person, I could hear him in this book.
When Churcher does go back to Utah, he finds his mother turned into a hoarder after kicking him out of the house when he was 16. He decides to clean the house himself, looking for something, but not knowing what exactly. A neighbor stops by who used to take care of him off and on when he was little and she fills him in about his history from her perspective. Then a stranger named Rachel shows up at his door asking if her mother used to live there. She looks like a woman Churcher remembers in a dream. What Rachel and Churcher discover together about their mothers changes their worlds forever.
The Noel Diary was a captivating story. I actually read the book in one day. Knowing that is it partially Richard Paul Evans’ own story drew me in, too. I was not disappointed. This may end up as my favorite book of his after The Sunflower. I would recommend this to any readers ages high school and above as the physical and emotional abuse Churcher faces as a child is hard to read about. It is a good book to read around the holidays.