The Noel Stranger
by Richard Paul Evans
It was an early morning yesterday
I was up before the dawn
And I really have enjoyed my stay
But I must be moving on
Like a king without a castle
Like a queen without a throne
I’m an early morning lover
And I must be moving on
Now I believe in what you say
Is the undisputed truth
But I have to have things my own way
To keep me in my youth — “Goodbye Stranger” – Supertramp
Maggie Walther’s life is a pretty good one. She’s been married for nine years, owns a thriving catering business, and her husband is a well-liked local councilman. Everything is sailing smoothly in their lives until Maggie receives a phone call from the newspaper informing her that her husband has been arrested for bigamy.
Maggie goes into shock and begins to ask herself multiple questions: Why did he do this? Didn’t he love me? What’s wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enough? She falls into depression and must find a way to reclaim her life.
Christmas is coming and Maggie thinks buying a tree will help brighten her mood. On the Christmas tree lot she meets Andrew, a real hunk who seems to click with her right away. As this new relationship blossoms, Maggie gets caught up with demons from her past. After enduring a rough childhood and the major emotional damage from her past marriage, she finds it difficult to totally trust Andrew, or anyone.
This was an interesting story. I could totally sympathize with Maggie. She’s been burned so bad by her husband, and because of that, it’s hard for her to trust anyone. She ends up making some big mistakes. Something quizzical about her though, is that after finding out what her husband has done, she’s fairly forgiving and maintains contact with him. Now, here’s a man who’s excellent at deceiving others, with multiple families and children all over the country, and she’s willing to sit down and offer him support. At one point it seemed like she might even forgive him and attempt to rekindle their relationship. When people behave like this it puzzles me, yet I’m also attracted to their forgiving behaviors.
One small niggle I had was the speed of Maggie’s new relationship with Andrew. As damaged as Maggie is, this new relationship happened with the snap of a finger and everything goes very fast. Instalove always seems to be an issue for me. Andrew does seem perfect, but is he really?
It’s hard for me not to read at least one Richard Paul Evan’s book over the Christmas season. The nice thing about the books in this series is that they can be read as standalones without following previous books. I did read and enjoy The Noel Diary, book #1 in this series, but it’s a totally different story and characters.
This book had some twists with a big one toward the end. I loved the Supertramp references! Overall, it was pleasing and I’ll likely read book three.
- Series: The Noel Collection (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 6, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501172050
- ISBN-13: 978-1501172052
Maggie Walther feels like her world is imploding. Publicly humiliated after her husband, a local councilman, is arrested for bigamy, and her subsequent divorce, she has isolated herself from the world. When her only friend insists that Maggie climb out of her hole, and embrace the season to get her out of her funk, Maggie decides to put up a Christmas tree and heads off to buy one — albeit reluctantly. She is immediately taken by Andrew, the kind, handsome man who owns the Christmas tree lot and delivers her tree. She soon learns that Andrew is single and new to her city and, like her, is also starting his life anew.
As their friendship develops, Maggie slowly begins to trust again — something she never thought possible. Then, just when she thinks she has finally found happiness, she discovers a dark secret from Andrew’s past. Is there more to this stranger’s truth than meets the eye?
Thanks for reading my review! Have you read this book or other books by Richard Paul Evans? Let’s chat!