The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans.
Jacob Churcher is a successful author. His childhood, however was not as successful. His mother suffered from mental illness and her care of Jacob wasn't great. Now that she's passed away, Jacob heads back home to clean out her house. Being back in his childhood home evokes many memories. When a young woman named Rachel knocks on the door looking for answers from Jacob's mother, it brings back even more memories. Memories of a young pregnant woman who loved him like a mother. And this is who Rachel is looking for. Together, they embark on a search .......
Evans is a a master at heart-string tugging stories. Feel-good tales that encounter some bumps along the way to a happy ending. And The Noel Diary fills the bill on those counts. Not so much on the holiday front though. I was hoping for more seasonal reading. (Noel in this case, is a person.)
Is there anyone more suited to interpret their work than the author themselves? Absolutely not. They imagined it and wrote it. Evans has been the narrator for the majority of his books on audio. This was the first time I had listened instead of reading. Unfortunately for this listener, Evans' voice just didn't work for me. Although he does provide some inflection, I found his reading to be just that. Reading, not performing. The male and female characters had the same monotone voice. And as I tend to listen with earbuds in, I hear in greater detail. Some of the words sounded garbled at the end of sentences and I found his drawn out A's and O's to be, well, just annoying. The reader makes or breaks a book for me. I finished The Noel Diary, but didn't love it as much as I had hoped to. I'll be returning to the written page for next year's seasonal offering. Listen to an excerpt of The Noel Diary. Or if you prefer, read an excerpt of The Noel Diary.