Jacob Christian Churcher
One of the best things about reading books for the Friday book reviews is discovering writers new to me. Richard Paul Evans fits this description. The Noel Diary is his latest Christmas novel. Apparently, he is well-known for setting stories at Christmas time. He also manages to release those books in time to place under the tree.
The lead character in The Noel Diary is novelist J. Churcher. The J stands for Jacob. Actually his full name is Jacob Christian (JC) Churcher and thus you have the first of many layers in the story.
Churcher comes from a home broken in many ways. The breakdown occurs after a family tragedy. This background provides the basis for the theme of the book. Families unable to cope with the hardships life throws at them. Fortunately for Churcher, he found support from outside sources, hence his success.
The thrust of the story is about forgiveness and grace and reconciliation. After learning of the death of his estranged mother, Jacob returns to Salt Lake City to settle the estate and clean out the house he spent his first sixteen years in. An old neighbor, Elyse, reaches out to him and guides him in the direction of grace.
The Noel Diary
But the story is also a romance. Churcher’s character even explains the difference between romance and love stories. Jacob falls in love with Rachel, an adoptee looking for her birth mother. Her only clue was that her mother lived with the Churcher family prior to giving birth. They find a diary written by Noel while cleaning out the house.
The diary helps Jacob vaguely remember Noel. But he was only four when all the events took place. In order to find answer’s for Rachel, Jacob attempts to reconcile with his father.
Reconciliation can be difficult. However, the Christmas season is the perfect time for this. Forgiveness and grace are key ingredients in a successful reconciliation. Honesty with one’s own faults is also an important ingredient.
I concluded from looking at Richard Paul Evans’ website’ website that he is a prolific writer. My belief is his success stems from the ability to write entertaining stories while sharing the important keys of humanity. The Noel Diary is both a romance and a love story, but it is so much more. Evans uses many parallels and allegories in his writing. My interpretation of the story is one of love regardless of past mistakes. Forgiveness is the key to finding grace.