The Christmas Box Collection: The Christmas Box, Timepiece, The Letter

( 28 )

Overview

Richard Paul Evans' #1 New York Times bestseller The Christmas Box has become a holiday classic, a tale so touching that it continues to "tug families' heartstrings" (USA Today). His exquisite prequel, Timepiece, and The Letter completed the glorious trilogy of the Parkin family. Now all three magical stories are compiled in one extraordinary treasury that -reaches into that place where all broken hearts will forever be made whole" (The Star, ...

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Overview

Richard Paul Evans' #1 New York Times bestseller The Christmas Box has become a holiday classic, a tale so touching that it continues to "tug families' heartstrings" (USA Today). His exquisite prequel, Timepiece, and The Letter completed the glorious trilogy of the Parkin family. Now all three magical stories are compiled in one extraordinary treasury that -reaches into that place where all broken hearts will forever be made whole" (The Star, Chicago).
The Christmas Box
A Christmas story unlike any other, The Christmas Box is the poignant tale of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Together, they discover the first gift of Christmas — and what the holiday is really all about.
Timepiece
Tracing the lives of a young couple as they discover love, loyalty, and the power of forgiveness, Timepiece is a tale of wisdom and of hope — and a gentle reminder that the connections from one generation to the next are indelible.
The Letter
A mysterious letter is found at the grave of a couple's only child in this unforgettable conclusion to the collection. As they face love's greatest challenge, they find its truest meaning and learn the lessons that are echoed throughout.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Orlando Sun Sentinel The book's timeless message is appropriate for any season....The Christmas Box is an artful blend of fiction and inspirational writing. It is a memorable tale whose universal message will not fade with the season.

The Star (Chicago) Richard Paul Evans is a good writer. His style is crisp and uncluttered.

The Daily Sun A sweet and tender love story...The Letter should satisfy Evans' many fans and find him new ones too....On one of these cold winter nights find a comfortable place and settle down and read The Letter....When it is over you will feel warmed and enriched by the story you have shared.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671027643
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Series: Christmas Box Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 112,203
  • Product dimensions: 6.78 (w) x 4.30 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Paul Evans

Richard Paul Evans is the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box. Each of his more than twenty novels has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, and there are more than seventeen million copies of his books in print. His books have been translated into more than twenty-four languages and several have been international bestsellers. He is the winner of the American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards for his children’s books, and the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award. Evans received the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award for his work helping abused children. Evans lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children.

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    1. Hometown:
      Salt Lake City, Utah
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 11, 1962
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salt Lake City, Utah
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Utah, 1984

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One of The Christmas Box: The Widow's Mansion

It may be that I am growing old in this world and have used up more than my share of allotted words and eager audiences. Or maybe I am just growing weary of a skeptical age that pokes and prods at my story much the same as a middle-school biology student pokes and prods through an anesthetized frog to determine what makes it live, leaving the poor creature dead in the end. Whatever the reason, I find that with each passing Christmas the story of the Christmas Box is told less and needed more. So I record it now for all future generations to accept or dismiss as seems them good. As for me, I believe. And it is, after all, my story.

My romantic friends, those who believe in Santa Claus in particular, have speculated that the ornamented brown Christmas Box was fashioned by Saint Nick himself from the trunk of the very first Christmas tree, brought in from the cold December snows so many seasons ago. Others believe that it was skillfully carved and polished from the hard and splintered wood from whose rough surface the Lord of Christmas had demonstrated the ultimate love for mankind. My wife, Keri, maintains that the magic of the box had nothing to do with its physical elements, but all to do with the contents that were hidden beneath its brass, holly-shaped hinges and silver clasps. Whatever the truth about the origin of the box's magic, it is the emptiness of the box that I will treasure most, and the memory of the Christmas season when the Christmas Box found me.

I was born and raised in the shadow of the snow-clad Wasatch range on the east bench of the Salt Lake Valley. Just two months before my fourteenth birthday my father lost his job, and with promise of employment, we sold our home and migrated to the warmer, and more prosperous, climate of Southern California. There, with great disappointment, I came to expect a green Christmas almost as religiously as the local retailers. With the exception of one fleeting moment of glory as the lead in the school musical, my teenage years were uneventful and significant only to myself. Upon graduation from high school, I enrolled in college to learn the ways of business, and in the process learned the ways of life; met, courted, and married a fully matriculated, brown-eyed design student named Keri, who, not fifteen months from the ceremony, gave birth to a seven-pound-two-ounce daughter whom we named Jenna.

Neither Keri nor I ever cared much for the crowds of the big city, so when a few weeks before graduation we were informed of a business opportunity in my hometown, we jumped at the chance to return to the thin air and white winters of home. We had expended all but a small portion of our savings in the new venture and, as the new business's initial returns, albeit promising, were far from abundant, we learned the ways of thrift and frugality. In matters financial, Keri became expert at making much from little, so we rarely felt the extent of our deprivation. Except in the realm of lodging. The three of us needed more space than our cramped, one-bedroom apartment afforded. The baby's crib, which economics necessitated the use of in spite of the fact that our baby was now nearly four, barely fit in our bedroom, leaving less than an inch between it and our bed, which was already pushed up tightly against the far wall. The kitchen was no better, cluttered with Jenna's toy box, Keri's sewing hutch, and stacked cardboard boxes containing cases of canned foods. We joked that Keri could make clothing and dinner at the same time without ever leaving her seat. The topic of overcrowding had reached fever pitch in our household just seven weeks before Christmas and such was the frenzied state of our minds when the tale of the Christmas Box really began, at the breakfast table in our little apartment, over eggs over-easy, toast, and orange juice.

"Look at this," Keri said, handing me the classifieds:

Elderly lady with large Avenues home seeks live-in couple for meal preparation, light housekeeping, and yard care. Private quarters. Holidays off. Children/infants welcome. 445-3989. Mrs. Parkin

I looked up from the paper.

"What do you think?" she asked. "It's in the Avenues, so it has to be large. It's close to the shop and it really wouldn't be that much extra trouble for me. Whats one extra person to cook and wash for?" she asked rhetorically. She reached over and took a bite of my toast. "You're usually gone in the evenings anyhow."

I leaned back in contemplation.

"It sounds all right," I said cautiously. "Of course, you never know what you might be getting into. My brother Mark lived in this old man's basement apartment. He used to wake Mark up in the middle of the night screaming at a wife who had been dead for nearly twenty years. Scared Mark to death. In the end he practically fled the place."

A look of disbelief spread across Keri's face.

"Well, it does say private quarters," I conceded.

"Anyway, with winter coming on, our heating bill is going to go through the roof in this drafty place and I don't know where the extra money will come from. This way we might actually put some money aside," Keri reasoned.

It was pointless to argue with such logic, not that I cared to. I, like Keri, would gladly welcome any change that would afford us relief from the cramped and cold quarters where we were presently residing. A few moments later Keri called to see if the apartment was still vacant and upon learning that it was, set up an appointment to meet with the owner that evening. I managed to leave work early and, following the directions given to Keri by a man at the house, we made our way through the gaily lit downtown business district and to the tree-lined streets leading up the foothills of the Avenues.

The Parkin home was a resplendent, red-block Victorian mansion with ornate cream-and-raspbeny wood trim and dark green shingles. On the west side of the home, a rounded bay window supported a second-story veranda balcony that overlooked the front yard. The balcony, like the main floor porch, ran the length of the exterior upheld by large, ornately lathed beams and a decorative, gold-leafed frieze. The wood was freshly painted and well kept. A sturdy brick chimney rose from the center of the home amid wood and wrought-iron spires that shot up decorously. Intricate latticework gingerbreaded the base of the house, hidden here and there by neatly trimmed evergreen shrubs. A cobblestone driveway wound up the front of the home, encircling a black marble fountain that lay iced over and surrounded by a snow-covered retaining wall.

I parked the car near the front steps, and we climbed the porch to the home's double door entryway. The doors were beautifully carved and inlaid with panes of glass etched with intricate floral patterns. I rang the bell and a man answered.

"Hello, you must be the Evanses."

"We are," I confirmed.

"MaryAnne is expecting you. Please come in."

We passed in through the entry, then through a second set of doors of equal magnificence leading into the home's marbled foyer. I have found that old homes usually have an olfactory presence to them, and though not often pleasant, unmistakenly distinct. This home was no exception, though the scent was a tolerably pleasant combination of cinnamon and kerosene. We walked down a wide corridor with frosted walls. Kerosene sconces, now wired for electric lights, dotted the walls and cast dramatic lighting the length of the hall.

"MaryAnne is in the back parlor," the man said.

The parlor lay at the end of the corridor, entered through an elaborate cherry-wood door casing. As we entered the room, an attractive silver-haired woman greeted us from behind a round marble-topped rosewood table. Her attire mimicked the elaborate, rococo decor that surrounded her.

"Hello," she said cordially. "I am MaryAnne Parkin. I'm happy that you have come. Please have a seat." We sat around the table, our attention drawn to the beauty and wealth of the room.

"Would you care for some peppermint tea?" she offered. In front of her sat an embossed, silver-plated tea service. The teapot was pear-shaped, with decorative bird feathers etched into the sterling body. The spout emulated the graceful curves of a crane's neck and ended in a birds beak.

"No, thank you," I replied.

"I'd like some," said Keri.

She handed Keri a cup and poured it to the brim. Keri thanked her.

"Are you from the city?" the woman asked. "I was born and raised here," I replied. "But we've just recently moved up from California."

"My husband was from California," she said. "The Santa Rosa area." She studied our eyes for a spark of recognition. "Anyway, he's gone now. He passed away some fourteen years ago."

"We're sorry to hear that," Keri said politely.

"Its quite all right," she said. "Fourteen years is a long time. I've grown quite accustomed to being alone." She set down her cup and straightened herself up in the plush wingback chair.

"Before we begin the interview I would like to discuss the nature of the arrangement. There are a few items that you will find I am rather insistent about. I need someone to provide meals. You have a family, I assume you can cook." Keri nodded. "I don't eat breakfast, but I expect brunch to be served at eleven and dinner at six. My washing should be done twice a week, preferably Tuesday and Friday, and the beddings should be washed at least once a week. You are welcome to use the laundry facilities to do your own washing any time you find convenient. As for the exterior," she said, looking at me, "the lawn needs to be cut once a week, except when there is snow, at which time the walks, driveway, and back porch need to be shoveled and salted as the climate dictates. The other landscaping and home maintenance I hire out and would not require your assistance. In exchange for your service you will have the entire east wing in which to reside. I will pay the heating and light bills and any other household expenses. All that is required of you is attention to the matters we have discussed. If this arrangement sounds satisfactory to you, then we may proceed."

We both nodded in agreement.

"Good. Now if you don't mind, I have a few questions I'd like to ask."

"No, not at all," Keri said.

"Then we'll begin at the top." She donned a pair of silver-framed bifocals, lifted from the table a small handwritten list, and began the interrogation.

"Do either of you smoke?"

"No," said Keri.

d"Good. I don't allow it in the home. It spoils the draperies. Drink to excess?" She glanced over to me.

"No," I replied.

"Do you have children?"

"Yes, we have one. She's almost four years old," said Keri.

"Wonderful. She's welcome anywhere in the house except this room. I would worry too much about my porcelains," she said, smiling warmly. Behind her I could see a black walnut étaèe with five steps, each supporting a porcelain figurine. She continued. "Have you a fondness for loud music?" Again she looked my way.

"No," I answered correctly. I took this more as a warning than a prerequisite for cohabitation.

"And what is your current situation in life?"

"I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in business. We moved to Salt Lake City to start a formal-wear rental business."

"Such as dinner jackets and tuxedos?" she asked.

"That's right," I said.

She took mental note of this and nodded approvingly.

"And references." She glanced up over her bifocals. "Have you references?"

"Yes. You may contact these people," said Keri, handing her a scrawled-out list of past landlords and employers. She meticulously studied the list, then laid it down on the end table, seemingly impressed with the preparation. She looked up and smiled.

"Very well. If your references are satisfactory, I think we may make an arrangement. I think it is best that we initiate a forty-five-day trial period, at the end of which time we may ascertain if the situation is mutually favorable. Does that sound agreeable?"

"Yes, ma'am," I replied.

"You may call me Mary. My name is MaryAnne, but my friends call me Mary."

"Thank you, Mary."

"Now I've done all the talking. Have you any questions that I might answer?"

"We'd like to see the apartment," Keri said.

"Of course. The quarters are upstairs in the east wing. Steve will lead you up. They are unlocked. I think you will find that they have been tastefully furnished."

"We do have some furniture of our own," I said. "Is there some extra space where we could store it?"

"The doorway to the attic is at the end of the upstairs hall. Your things will be very convenient there," she replied.

I helped myself to a cracker from the silver tray. "Was that your son who answered the door?" I asked.

She took another sip of her tea. "No. I have no children. Steve is an old friend of mine from across the street. I hire him to help maintain the home." She paused thoughtfully for another sip of tea and changed the subject. "When will you be prepared to move in?"

"We need to give our landlord two weeks notice, but we could move in anytime," I said.

"Very good. It will be nice to have someone in the house for the holidays."

Copyright © 1993 by Richard Paul Evans

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First Chapter

Richard Paul Evans' #1 New York Times bestseller The Christmas Box has become a holiday classic, a tale so touching that it continues to "tug families' heartstrings" (USA Today). His exquisite prequel, Timepiece, and The Letter completed the glorious trilogy of the Parkin family. Now all three magical stories are compiled in one extraordinary treasury that -reaches into that place where all broken hearts will forever be made whole" (The Star, Chicago).


The Christmas Box


A Christmas story unlike any other, The Christmas Box is the poignant tale of a widow and the young family who moves in with her. Together, they discover the first gift of Christmas -- and what the holiday is really all about.


Timepiece


Tracing the lives of a young couple as they discover love, loyalty, and the power of forgiveness, Timepiece is a tale of wisdom and of hope -- and a gentle reminder that the connections from one generation to the next are indelible.


The Letter


A mysterious letter is found at the grave of a couple's only child in this unforgettable conclusion to the collection. As they face love's greatest challenge, they find its truest meaning and learn the lessons that are echoed throughout.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

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(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Very good book. Hard to put down. Well written and one I most li

    Very good book. Hard to put down. Well written and one I most likely read again in the future. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    I highly recommend this book. I first read it in 1999 and loved it. That hooked me on reading all of Richard Paul Evans books. I bought this one for my sister.

    I highly recommend this book. I first read it in 1999 and loved it. That hooked me on reading all of Richard Paul Evans books. I bought this for my sister.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    Be ready to cry-

    This is a sweet story- get the tissues ready, you will need them. This is the tale of a young family, forgiveness and a letter left at the grave of David and Mary Ann's daughter. I really loved the characters, it was a sweet story, a touching story. You will cry. I go this book as a gift and I really liked it- it would make a great Christmas gift for a friend or a family member. It is also a great conversation piece and the book cover is creatively done. It was the whole package.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010

    The Christmas Box Collection by Richard Paul Evans

    The Christmas Box Collection is an excellent book, you will not be able to put it down ounce you start reading it, make sure to have a box of kleenex next to you, the love that they share, his loylalty, there trials, it bring a whole new look at true and endless love.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    meaning of christmas

    very good book with excellent points / hard to put down once you start reading

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Classic!

    I had previously read The Christmas Box and mainly made this purchase based on that story; however, I was unable to set this collection down! Timepiece and The Letter are both as moving and inspirational as The Christmas Box and I would recommend this book to anyone who is well equipped with a box of Kleenex!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    BEAUTIFUL STORIES

    I have read several of rpe books and have not been dissapointed in any of them. His stories are beautifully written. I get lost in his books, i can't put them down. I have several authors whom i like to read, but by far he is my all time favorite. I would give all his books a ten rating if i could. I always recommend his books when asked what's good? the three stories in this book happen to be my favorites. Heartwarming. He is truly a very talented writer!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2005

    Had the read the rest

    I started out reading The Christmas Box not realizing that it was part of a series. I read it in a matter of hours and once I realized there were more I just had to read them and get them for gifts for my family to enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Wonderful...Absolutely Wonderful.

    Pleasure to read. Will always have this treasure tucked away, to enjoy and to share with others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2002

    Inspiring, Deep

    As with all of Richard Paul Evans' works, you will feel inspired, moved and like your heart has been made better. He writes with depth and simplicity. We are fortunate to still have writers left like Mr. Evans and Kirk Martin (Shade of the Maple) who understand that pure love and innocence are to be celebrated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2001

    WONDERFUL AND CAPTIVATING

    The Christmas Box, like all of Mr. Evans' books, is inspirational and uplifting. You actually feel better after experiencing his work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    Inspirational and revealing

    Wonderfully written and spectacularly inspirational. One of the most subtly indepth books I have ever read. Your heart is lifted and one of life's greatest dilemma's is simply answered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2000

    A story you want to hear year after year!!!

    I'm only 13 years old and I have hear these stories atleast 5 times. I LOVE them they are timeless. I will read them in the future to my children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2000

    Excellent Book to read every Christmas!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was very heartwarming and truly brought back the meaning of Christmas for me. I strongly recommend that anyone who is up for a good, heartwarming, wonderful novel, read this book. I read it every Christmas!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    Very Moving Collection

    One of the most moving collections I have ever read. Originally I bought the book The Christmas Box for my mother. I changed my mind and did not give it to her as my father was very ill at the time and I was afraid it would upset her further. Instead, I read it myself. Then I found the other two of this collection. I sat down and read them in one setting. Now, every Christmas I read all three books again. I couldn't get through Christmas without it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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