Simon & Schuster|October 30, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-2803-6
The author of the bestselling phenomenon ‘The Christmas Box’ presents a new holiday novel about family, fate and forgiveness. Joseph Jacobson is the twelfth of thirteen siblings, all of whom are employed by their father’s successful Colorado advertising company. But underneath the success runs a poisonous undercurrent of jealousy; Joseph is his father’s favourite son and the focus of his brother’s envy and hatred. When the father seems ready to anoint Joseph as his heir, the brothers make their move, forcing Joseph from the company and his Denver home, severing ties to his parents and ending his relationship with his soon-to-be fiance. Alone and lonely, Joseph must start a new life.
Joseph joins a Chicago advertising agency where his creativity helps him advance high up in the company. He also finds hope for a lasting love with April, a kind woman with a secret. However, all secrets hold consequences, and when Joseph learns the truth about April’s past, his world is again turned upside down. Finally, Joseph must confront his own difficult past in order to make his dreams for the future come true.
A Winter Dream is an ingenious modern retelling of the Old Testament story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colours by the master of the holiday novel.
In A Winter Dream, Evans reimagines the story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colours from the Old Testament in the Bible.
This modern day retelling involves an advertising firm that is family run. There are 13 children – 12 brothers and 1 sister who all work at the Denver, Colorado firm. Israel or Izzy Jacobson is the father who has been married to four different women. His current wife, Rachel, is the mother of only two of the children – Joseph (JJ) and his younger brother, Ben. Izzy, as the patriarch of the family is President of their firm. Izzy has never been secretive of the fact that JJ is his favourite son and all his brothers are extremely jealous of JJ.
A very important client is about to walk away from the firm until JJ pitches him an idea that he loves and signs the contract. Izzy is so proud of JJ for saving the day that he arranges a family dinner to celebrate JJ’s ingenuity. However, he ends up sharing a dream that JJ had had and told his father about. The dream involved JJ walking through a forest covered in snow when he stumbles upon a tree covered with lights and surrounded by 11 other trees. After a bad storm, the 11 trees all bent toward the lighted tree in the middle. Izzy himself felt that this dream symbolized JJ as the tree of light with his 11 brothers bowing down to him. This dream in and of itself did not sit well with JJ’s brothers to begin with. Then to make matters worse, Izzy presents JJ with his Navy flight jacket from Vietnam and was the most prized and special possession that he owned and was adored and desired by ALL his sons. Once the jacket had been presented to JJ, the special family dinner was soon over. The brothers were not at all impressed or happy about their father’s gift to JJ.
The morning after the dinner, JJ is called into a meeting with his brothers where they inform him that his younger brother, Ben has embezzled a huge amount of money from the company for his gambling addiction that no one was aware of. The brothers want to press charges against Ben and have him prosecuted. JJ is literally dumbfounded that his brothers would want to do this and offers to pay back the money himself out of his own savings. However, the brothers are not at all receptive to this idea but tell JJ they’d be willing to sweep the whole issues “under the rug”, so to speak, if JJ will make a sacrifice. They request that JJ quit the family business, move away, and NEVER return to or speak to his parents or siblings again. JJ realizes they want rid of him and is not only horrified but deeply saddened that his brothers would go these lengths to try and get rid of him. JJ loves Ben and doesn’t want him prosecuted and sent to jail, and although he knows agreeing to their demands will break his father’s heart, he accepts, packs up his office and leaves. He was not only leaving his family, his job, him home, but also his girlfriend who didn’t want to give up her job to go with him. The brothers have already lined up another job with a different advertising firm in Chicago for JJ and he heads off to the windy city. The apartment they rented for him in Chicago was cheap and run-down.
However, JJ ends up doing very well at his new job while the jealous brothers in Denver bring upon themselves ruination and unhappiness.
There is a lot more to the story but I don’t want to give anything else away.
I felt so sorry for JJ and can only imagine the depth of pain and hurt he felt at being turned against by his own brothers. It was an emotionally charged story in so many ways. It is amazing what jealously and greed will do to some people.
Evans has an amazing ability in holding the reader’s attention from the first page to the last. He can evoke emotion in you before you even know what hit you.
A Winter Dream is a story of jealousy, greed, relationships, bitterness, healing, and redemption. This story most definitely tugged at my heart strings as I’m sure it will yours. Kudos to you, Richard, another hit!