Rating:

Winter_Dream_detailReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

In 2010, I became acquainted with the writing of Richard Paul Evans through his romantic Christmas novel, Promise Me. The following year I read his first YA novel and even had the opportunity to meet him at his launch party for Michael Vey in Salt Lake City. This year, I looked forward to Evans’ newest release, A Winter Dream.

A Winter Dream is a modern retelling of the Bible story “Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors”. Set in the exciting world of advertising, Joseph is a rising star in his family’s small ad company. His older brothers are jealous of their father’s deep affection for Joseph, and when Joseph’s younger brother Ben makes a huge mistake, their older brothers use Joseph’s love for Ben against him and force him out of the company–and their family.

Without saying good-bye to his father and mother, Joseph starts a new life in Chicago, quickly advancing in his new business. He meets a new romantic interest named April, a mysterious woman with a secretive past. Soon after his arrival in Chicago, Joseph is forced out of his life once again and transferred to New York. Joseph’s climb up the career ladder forces him to make some difficult decisions regarding his past, and to consider his hopes for the future.

Anyone familiar with the biblical characters might find A Winter Dream predictable; even though it’s a story I’ve heard and read many times throughout my life, I became swept up in Joseph’s plight and was especially eager to see how Evans would present Joseph’s prophetic dreams.

My only complaint about A Winter Dream is its length; at 266 pages, I only got to spend a few short hours lost in Joseph’s world. However, this is a style that Evans has used with his novels for years and it made him a bestselling author. I wanted so much more out of this book, especially regarding Joseph’s relationship with April. She was given such a fascinating back story, and I would have loved to see it more developed. I also wouldn’t have minded if we’d been able to see what was going on with Joseph’s family during the three years they spent apart. I found it pretty surprising that no one in the family–especially Joseph’s mother–attempted to get in contact with him. If this had also been explored, A Winter Dream would have been an even more emotional read.

Though A Winter Dream was inspired by a biblical story, there is no discussion about God or religion, making it an accessible read for those only interested in a captivating story. Others, however, may become interested in reading the original story, which can be found in Genesis chapter 37.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.