Cover image for The letter
The letter
Evans, Richard Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Simon & Schuster, [1997]

Physical Description:
238 pages ; 22 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.3 9.0 57195.
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This glowing novel of loss and healing carries readers back into the lives of the characters from Evans' bestselling "The Christmas Box". After the death of their daughter, David and MaryAnne Parkin discover a letter written by the child which helps to restore the joy to their embattled relationship. Two-color throughout.

Author Notes

Richard Paul Evans was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 11, 1962. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Utah in 1984. In 1992 while he was an advertising executive, he wrote a story about parental love and the meaning of Christmas for his daughters. The story, The Christmas Box, was copied and passed around to relatives and friends, and was published. It was adapted as an Emmy-winning television movie in 1995 starring Richard Thomas and Maureen O'Hara.

His other fiction works include The Locket, A Perfect Day, Promise Me, Lost December, A Winter Dream, A Step of Faith, and The Mistletoe Promise. His series include the Christmas Box series, The Walk series, and the Michael Vey series. He also writes non-fiction works including The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing, and Hope; The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me about Life and Wealth; The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me for Women; and The Four Doors: A Guide to Joy, Freedom and a Meaningful Life. He has won several awards for his books including Romantic Times best women's novel for The Sunflower.

He is also a public speaker, traveling the country to bring awareness of the problem of neglected and abused children. In 1997, he used his Christmas Box Foundation to begin a shelter for abused and neglected children called the Christmas Box House.

(Bowker Author Biography) Richard Paul Evans is a bestselling author. He lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Don't let serious fiction readers near this sophomoric tearjerker, for they would be appalled to be reminded that bad books are not only published but also highly promoted by publishers. Then again, this kind of superficial story is easy reading, and lots of popular fiction fans will love it, share it, and recommend it. In a Salt Lake City cemetery in the Depression years, an old woman places a rose and a letter on the grave of the child of a wealthy local couple, David and MaryAnne Parkin. MaryAnne wants out of the marriage, and soon after discovering the items on the grave, she flees to Europe. The letter she found prompts David to seek the mother who had abandoned him years ago. Of course, what he really wants is for MaryAnne to come back to him; meanwhile, his inquiry into his mother's whereabouts reveals what he thinks was her suicide a long time ago. David and MaryAnne are finally reconciled, but he dies a short time later, and, as it turns out, David's mother is very much alive. Despite being written in the prose style of an adolescent turned loose with a thesaurus, and despite characters so thin that daylight shows right through them, this soap opera of spun sugar will delight the Madison County set, as well as readers of Evans' previous best-selling novels, The Christmas Box (1995) and Timepiece (1996). --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in Salt Lake City during the Depression, this overwritten, tear-jerking tale of personal redemption returns to the characters Evans introduced in his bestseller The Christmas Box. Twenty years have passed since the death of David and MaryAnne Parkin's three-year-old daughter, Andrea. David has maintained an unvarying stoicism about Andrea's death, shutting out MaryAnne, who finally rebels against her emotional limbo and leaves him. Feeling thrice abandoned by the women in his life (first by his mother, Rose, when he was six, then by his daughter, now by his wife), David reads an unsigned letter in Rose's hand that MaryAnne had discovered at the foot of Andrea's grave. Immediately, he decides that finding his mother will lead him to the answers he craves. Through his quest, David confronts poverty, racism, personal demons and the temptation of new love. By striving to understand his feelings for his mother, David is able to reconcile his grief for his daughter and renew his love for MaryAnne. Evans again offers a surplus of melodrama and flowery prose, further undermined by one-dimensional characters and contrived situations. Readers who crave a huge dose of sentimentality, however, will be touched by this exhortation to moral strength in the face of tragedy. Simultaneous audio; author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Aiming to duplicate the sugary success of The Christmas Box and Timepiece (which jointly have 5.5 million copies in print), Evans brings back David and MaryAnne Parkin, whose daughter died 19 years ago. A letter left at her grave suggests that David's biological mother is trying to make contact. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.