Author(s): Richard Paul EvansDownload
Updated and Renamed now as If OnlyA heartwarming and inspirational Christmas novel in the tradition of The Christmas Box, The Gift, and The Christmas List. The New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Box and The Walk series returns with a holiday novel of hope, love, and redemption.She was my first kiss. My first love. She was a little match girl who could see the future in the flame of a candle. She was a runaway who taught me more about life than anyone has before or since. And when she was gone my innocence left with her. As I begin to write, a part of me feels as if I am awakening something best left dead and buried, or at least buried. We can bury the past, but it never really dies. The experience of that winter has grown on my soul like ivy climbing the outside of a home, growing until it begins to tear and tug at the brick and mortar. I pray I can still get the story right. My memory, like my eyesight, has waned with age. Still, there are things that become clearer to me as I grow older. This much I know: too many things were kept secret in those days. Things that never should have been hidden. And things that should have.
Some Reviews: 1222 in Goodreads.com
This book made me incredibly sad. I was leisurely browsing through Cole’s and I pulled this book from the shelf. I recognized the author from his series The prisoner of cell 25 and so I bought the book. I expected it to be a lighthearted quick read that I’d forget about in a few months time. I was wrong. This book, this story is so heartbreaking. Eric’s just a kid, whose biggest worry is the Cuban missile crisis. He meets Grace, dumpster diving and takes her to his clubhouse. They form a strange but adorable relationship. However, there’s darkness surrounding Grace. The abuse she suffers at the hands of her step father isn’t what brought me to tears. Her strength and her will to survive is what totally gutted me. When a lot of people would have given up, Grace stayed strong. The ending not only makes you miserable but it also makes you angry. It makes me beg the question; why do bad things happen to good people? There’s no answer but the ending did give me some closure. While Grace’s story ends a sad note, Eric’s continues on spreading hope. It’s worth the read. It’ll break your heart but read it anyway. You won’t regret it.
This was definitely an interesting read. The book read really fast and was hard to put down. Evans is a fantastic writer and did a really good job foreshadowing the story through Grace’s journal excerpts. Evans made the fear/tension during the Cuban missile crisis feel very real for the reader.
This book dealt with some very adult issues (will list at the end to avoid spoilers for those that don’t want them) that I simply did not expect based off the back cover. I was somewhat shocked to find them in a YA novel that seemed it was for younger teens, but the book was not graphic in the slightest. The book addressed tough issues very gracefully. In some ways I was disappointed to have things not discussed in depth, but considering the intended audience is for young adults it’s probably best to not delve too deeply or graphically into adult topics.
Frankly I wouldn’t read this book again and probably wouldn’t recommend it to many individuals, but I could see this being a good book for discussion in a book club or something along those lines.
SPOILERS: This book does deal with incest, rape, and murder.
I have enjoyed every one of Richard Evans books that I have read so I am reading some of the books, especially the Christmas books to catch up. I was surprised at this one as it was very much not like the other Christmas stories I have read of his. This was a thought producing book about child abuse and a love story all in one and God’s grace. Sometimes life kicks us to the curve and we wonder where is God in this. But in this case a 14 year old boy helps bring an abused 16 year old runaway girl to believe again. She sees her future in the candle flames so she believes she knows what is going to happen to her. As a mother of 4 grown children, I have learned that as they get older (in the teens) I have to respect their choices and teach them at the same time. Eric’s mother and father found this out too. They made the wrong choice and Eric and Grace paid for it, especially Grace. I finished the book just before I went to sleep and I woke up all night thinking about the ending, the choices and the story and getting involved. I would recommend this book to anyone.
I listened to this book several years ago on a road trip, and decided to read it again to refresh my memory on why I loved it so much. It’s a powerful story about abuse and love, so be prepared for an emotional gut-punch. I mean, Evans starts the book with the story of The Little Match Girl, so that should give you an idea of the kind of story it is. It’s about a young boy who takes in a girl (Grace) who is hiding from those who want to hurt her. (I think the Duffer Brothers were closet Richard Paul Evans readers… Stranger Things, anyone?) Eric was mature WAY beyond his years, which I found a little unbelievable, but maybe that’s just me being cynical. It’s a VERY good book. I’d recommend keeping some tissues nearby, and maybe a notepad to write down some thought-provoking quotes. 🙂
Richard Evans again writes a compelling story of a runaway girl and the two young brothers who help her hide in their backyard clubhouse. Each chapter is extremely short, titled with a short quote from the girl’s journal (referred to in the novel, not included). The reader learns only bits of the girl’s story — that she shares with the brothers AND that the oldest boy understands. It is definitely a coming-of-age story as the boys live with their father’s debilitating illness (but curable), a new community/home, and this mystery girl. This book joins his Christmas Box and other novels focused to help abused children.