Miles to Go (Walk Series #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, wakes one morning to find himself injured, alone, and confined to a hospital bed in Spokane, Washington. Sixteen days earlier, reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan left everything he knew behind and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. Carrying only a backpack, he planned to walk to Key West, the farthest destination on his map. But a vicious roadside stabbing has interrupted Alan’s trek and robbed ...
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Miles to Go (Walk Series #2)

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Overview

Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, wakes one morning to find himself injured, alone, and confined to a hospital bed in Spokane, Washington. Sixteen days earlier, reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan left everything he knew behind and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. Carrying only a backpack, he planned to walk to Key West, the farthest destination on his map. But a vicious roadside stabbing has interrupted Alan’s trek and robbed him of his one source of solace: the ability to walk.

Homeless and facing months of difficult recovery, Alan has nowhere to turn—until a mysterious woman enters his life and invites him into her home. Generous and kind, Angel seems almost too good to be true, but all is not as it appears. Alan soon realizes that before he can return to his own journey, he must first help Angel with hers.

From one of America’s most beloved and bestselling storytellers comes an astonishing tale of life and death, love and second chances, and why sometimes the best way to heal your own suffering is by helping to heal someone else’s.

Inspiring, moving, and full of wisdom, Miles to Go picks up where the bestseller The Walk left off, continuing the unforgettable series about one man’s unrelenting search for hope.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The tempo quickens in this second installment of a five novel series about an executive who vows to cross the country on foot after losing everything. Rendered here in a simulated journal, Alan Christoffersen's journey across America is as much a spiritual pilgrimage as it is a physical test. A faith-based fiction by the author of The Christmas Box, Grace, and Finding Noel.

Publishers Weekly
After Alan Christoffersen lost the life he made in Seattle (his wife, home, and career), he went on a walk. With this simple premise, Evans launched this life-affirming series, which has now sold over half a million copies. As the protagonist also reveals in Miles to Go, the intended destination, Key West, was chosen for being "simply the furthest point on the map" from his starting point. The second book begins with Christoffersen facing a major hurdle-after he is robbed and stabbed by several teenagers, he must learn how to walk again. Ultimately, a near-stranger takes him in until he heals. Evans has a gift for conveying emotion through fictional dialogue. Besides being a story of hope and redemption, Miles to Go is a stand-alone page turner which will certainly hook many people on Evans' series.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews

Second in Evan's new series (The Walk, 2010, etc.) about an adman seeking redemption while going through several pairs of Nikes.

Alan Christoffersen, the author's peripatetic ad exec, who is mourning his late wife McKale as well as the loss of his burgeoning career in Seattle, has vowed to walk all the way to Key West. At the end of the first book, our hero suffered a near-fatal assault. The present installment finds him hospitalized in Spokane after surgery for severe abdominal stab wounds. His sole visitor is a woman named Angel, whose flat tire he fixed shortly before the attack. When he is discharged, Angel offers him a room in her apartment, which he accepts, realizing that physical and seasonal obstacles will stymie his wanderlust until spring. Soon he learns that Angel, a 911 dispatcher, is hiding something. Her elderly landlord Bill keeps turning up when she's not home, asking for "Nicole." Nicole has cancelled her cable and given Bill notice she's leaving the apartment.When Angel (admitting she's Nicole) confesses that due to tragedies in her life she's vowed to commit suicide after watching all 100 movies on the AFI's "world's greatest" list, Alan is able to share his secrets for self-healing. Soon the platonic pair have created an impromptu family, including Bill, a recent widower, that gathers for lovingly described holiday meals. But this idyll ends, as Alan must move on. Nicole will be fine thanks to Bill's bequest of $3.6 million. (Overwhelmed by her kindness, he altered his will shortly before his death on New Year's Eve.)Alan hits the road again, rescuing a runaway and calling attention to the problem of abused and neglected children aging out of foster care. In South Dakota, near mountain monuments to U.S. presidents and Chief Crazy Horse, the plot is once again left dangling from a precipice.

This leg of the Walk series is brisker and, thankfully, less didactic than the last.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439191477
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Series: Walk Series , #2
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 8,399
  • File size: 5 MB

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


PROLOGUE


Note



The sun will rise again. The only uncertainty is whether or not we will rise to greet it.
Alan Christoffersen’s diary



Several months after I was mugged, stabbed, and left unconscious along the shoulder of Washington’s Highway 2, a friend asked me what being stabbed felt like. I told her it hurt.

Really, how do you describe pain? Sometimes doctors ask us to rate our pain on a scale from one to ten, as if that number had some reliable meaning. In my opinion there needs to be a more objective rating system, something comparative; like, would you trade what you’re feeling for a root canal or maybe half a childbirth?

And with what would we compare emotional pain—physical pain? Arguably, emotional pain is the greater of the two evils. Sometimes people will inflict physical pain on themselves to dull their emotional anguish. I understand. If I had the choice between being stabbed or losing my wife, McKale, again, the knife has the advantage—because if the knife kills me, I stop hurting. If it doesn’t kill me, the wound will heal. Either way the pain stops. But no matter what I do, my McKale is never coming back. And I can’t imagine that the pain in my heart will ever go away.

Still, there is hope—not to forget McKale, nor even to understand why I had to lose her—but to accept that I did and somehow go on. As a friend recently said to me, no matter what I do, McKale will always be a part of me. The question is, what part—a spring of gratitude, or a fountain of bitterness? Someday I’ll have to decide. Someday the sun will rise again. The only uncertainty is whether or not I will rise to greet it.

In the meantime, what I hope for most is hope. Walking helps. I wish I were walking again right now. I think I’d rather be anywhere right now than where I am.

© 2011 Richard Paul Evans

CHAPTER

One


Note



We plan our lives in long, unbroken stretches that intersect our dreams the way highways connect the city dots on a road map. But in the end we learn that life is lived in the side roads, alleys, and detours.
Alan Christoffersen’s diary



My name is Alan Christoffersen and this is the second journal of my walk. I’m writing from a hospital room in Spokane, Washington. I’m not sure how you came to be holding my book—truthfully, I don’t even know if you are—but if you’re reading my story, welcome to my journey.

You don’t know much about me. I’m a thirty-two-year-old former advertising executive, and sixteen days ago I walked away from my home in Bridle Trails, Seattle, leaving everything behind, which, frankly, wasn’t much by the time I started my trek. I’m walking to Key West, Florida—that’s about 3,500 miles, give or take a few steps.

Before my life imploded, I was, as one of my clients put it, “the poster child for the American dream”—a happily married, successful advertising executive with a gorgeous wife (McKale), a thriving advertising agency with a wall of awards and accolades, and a $2 million home with horse property and two luxury cars parked in the garage.

Then the universe switched the tracks beneath me, and in just five weeks I lost it all. My slide began when McKale broke her neck in a horse-riding accident. Four weeks later she died of complications. While I was caring for her in the hospital, my clients were stolen by my partner, Kyle Craig, and my financial world collapsed, leading to the foreclosure of my home and repossession of my cars.

With my wife, business, house, and cars gone, I packed up what I needed to survive and started my walk to Key West.

I’m not trying to set any records or wind up in any newspapers. I’m certainly not the first to cross the continent by foot; I’m at least a century too late for that. In fact, the first attempt was made more than two hundred years ago by a man named John Ledyard, who planned to walk across Siberia, ride a Russian fur-trade vessel across the ocean to (what is now) Alaska, and then walk the rest of the way to Washington, D.C., where Thomas Jefferson would warmly greet him. Such are the plans of men. Ledyard only made it as far as Siberia, where Russian Empress, Catherine the Great, had him arrested and sent to Poland.

Since then, no less than a few thousand pioneers, prospectors, and mountainmen have crossed the continent without air-cushioned walking shoes, paved roads, or, unbelievably, a single McDonald’s.

Even in our day there is a sizable list of countrycrossers, including an eighty-nine-year-old woman who walked from California to Washington, D.C., and a New Jersey man who ran from New Brunswick to San Francisco in exactly sixty days.

Nearly all of these travelers carried causes with them, from political reform to childhood obesity. Not me. The only torch I’m carrying is the one for my wife.

You might guess that my destination was chosen for its balmy weather, blinding white beaches, and topaz blue waters, but you’d be wrong: Key West was simply the furthest point on the map from where I started.

I should add the disclaimer that Key West is my intended destination. It is my experience that journeys rarely take us where we think we’re going. As Steinbeck wrote, “we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” There’s a difference between reading a map and traveling the road—as distinct as the disparity between reading a menu and eating a meal. So it is with life. As the saying goes, “Life is what happens to us while we’re planning something else.” That is true. Even my detours had detours.

My most recent detour has left me in the emergency room of Sacred Heart Medical Center with a concussion and three knife wounds to my belly after being jumped by a gang three miles outside Spokane. That’s where you’re joining me.

For those of you who have been following my walk since my first step (or before), I warned you that my story wouldn’t be easy. I suppose that’s no surprise; no one’s story is easy. No one goes through life without pain—of this I’m certain. The price for joy is sadness. The price for having is loss. You can moan and whine about this and play the victim—many do—but it’s just the way it is. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. That’s one of the benefits of walking.

I also warned you in my first journal that you might not believe or be ready for all I have to share with you. This book is no different. No matter—accept or dismiss what you want to believe.

Since I began my walk, I’ve traveled only 318 miles, less than ten percent of the distance to Key West. But already there have been profound experiences; I’ve met people along the way I believe I was meant to meet and I’m certain there are more to come.

This is a story of contrasts—about living and dying, hope and despair, pain and healing, and the tenuous, thin places between both extremes where most of us reside.

I’m not sure whether I’m walking away from my past or toward a future—time and miles will tell and I have plenty of both. As the poet Robert Frost said, I have “miles to go before I sleep.”

I’m happy to share with you what I learn. Welcome to my walk.

© 2011 Richard Paul Evans

CHAPTER

Two


Note



I’ve gone from a schedule of hours and minutes to not being able to tell you what day of the month it is.
Alan Christoffersen’s diary



My second night in the hospital was rough. I was wet and hot with fever and somewhere in the night I started coughing. Each expulsion felt like another blade plunging into my stomach. The nurse checked my bandages, then told me not to cough, which wasn’t at all helpful. In spite of the medications they gave me to help me sleep, for most of the night I just lay there, lonely and aching. I wanted McKale more than life. Definitely more than life. Of course, if she were with me, I wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Exhaustion finally overcame me and I fell asleep around 4 or 5 A.M.

The next day I woke to a young nurse walking around my bed looking at monitors and writing on a clipboard. Since I’d been admitted to the hospital, a bevy of nurses and doctors had been swarming around me in my delirium, flashing in and out of my consciousness like dancers in a music video. But I didn’t remember any of them. This was the first nurse I was cognizant of. She was small, petite, and barely the height of a floor lamp. I watched her for a few minutes then said, “Morning.”

She looked up from her clipboard. “Good afternoon.”

“What time is it?” I asked. It was kind of a funny question since I didn’t even know what day, or week, it was. The last two weeks had run together like eggs in a blender.

“It’s almost twelve-thirty,” she said, then added, “Friday.”

Friday. I had left Seattle on a Friday. I’d been gone for just fourteen days. Fourteen days and a lifetime.

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Norma,” she said. “Are you hungry?”

“How about an Egg McMuffin?” I said.

She grinned. “Not unless you can find one made of Jell-O. How about some pudding? The butterscotch is edible.”

“Butterscotch pudding for breakfast?”

“Lunch,” she corrected. “Also, in a couple hours we’re sending you in for a CT scan.”

“When can I take the catheter out?”

“When you can walk to the bathroom on your own—which we’ll attempt after we get the results back from your scan. Are you claustrophobic?”

“No.”

“Sometimes people get claustrophobic in the scanner. I can give you something for anxiety if you are. A Valium.”

“I don’t need anything,” I said. I didn’t care about the scan; I wanted the catheter out of me. In the haze of the last forty-eight hours, I vaguely remembered pulling the catheter out and making a real mess of things.

I had two good reasons for wanting it out; first, because it hurt. No one should stick anything up that part of the male anatomy. Second, an infection from a catheter is what killed my wife. The sooner the thing was out, the better.

A hospital orderly, a husky young freckled man wearing bright purple scrubs, came for me around two in the afternoon. He unhooked some wires and tubes from my body, then wheeled my entire bed down the linoleum corridor to radiology. I didn’t know it was my second visit until the technician operating the equipment said, “Welcome back.”

“Have I been here before?”

“You were out the first time,” she replied.

The scan was tedious, surprisingly loud, and took about an hour. When it was through, the orderly wheeled me back to my room and I fell asleep. When I woke, Angel was back.

© 2011 Richard Paul Evans

CHAPTER

Three


Note



Somewhere between being stabbed and waking in the hospital, I had an experience that’s difficult to describe. Call it a dream or a vision, but McKale came to me. She told me that it wasn’t my time to die—that there were still people I was meant to meet. When I asked her who, she replied, “Angel.” Who is this woman?
Alan Christoffersen’s diary



The first time I woke in the hospital, there was a strange woman sitting in a chair next to my hospital bed. She was about my age and dressed casually, wearing a fitted T-shirt and jeans. When I could speak, I asked her who she was. She told me that we had met a few days earlier just outside the small town of Waterville. Her car had been stopped at the side of the road with a flat tire.

I recalled the encounter. She had tried to change the tire herself but had spilled the wheel’s lug nuts down the side of the incline into a deep gorge, leaving her stranded. I had taken a nut from each of the other tires and attached her spare.

She had offered me a ride to Spokane that I turned down. Just before she drove off, she gave me her business card, which (since I’d thrown my cell phone away on the first day of my walk) was the only contact information the police found on me. They called her and, inexplicably, she came. Her name was Annie, but she told me to call her Angel. “That’s what my friends call me,” she said.

She was with me when the doctor told me that I would need several weeks of convalescence at home.

“I’m homeless,” I said.

There was an awkward silence. Then Angel said, “He can come home with me.”

Since then she had come every day to see me, staying for about an hour each night, our conversation as stilted as two teenagers on a blind date. I wasn’t bothered that she came—I was lonely and appreciated the company—I just didn’t know why she came.

Tonight’s visit (angelic visitations, she called them) was later than usual. When I woke, she was looking down, reading a paperback Amish love story. As I looked at her, a song started playing in my head.

I’m on top of the world looking down on creation…

The tune, ironically cheerful, kept on playing, as annoyingly insistent as a scratched vinyl record. The melody was from a seventies song—something from my childhood. The Carpenters. My mother loved the Carpenters. She’d talk about Richard and Karen Carpenter like they were relatives.

Even as she was dying of cancer, she’d play their records. Especially when she was dying. She said their music kept her spirits up. As a kid, I knew the words to all their songs by heart. I still did. “Close to You,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Hurting Each Other”; I remember tracing the Carpenters’ signature logo on typing paper, then trying to improve it, which was probably my first commercial graphic attempt.

My mother would play their albums on our walnutveneered, Zenith console stereo (a Plymouth-sized appliance which nearly took up the entire east wall of our living room), and their music would fill our home, which always made me feel peaceful because I knew it made my mother happy.

Angel was still engrossed in her book when I realized why the tune had come to mind. She looked like Karen Carpenter. Not exactly. She was blond and probably a little prettier, but close enough to warrant a second glance. I wondered if she could sing. As I was musing over the similarities, Angel suddenly looked up. She smiled when she saw me looking at her. “Hi.”

My mouth was parched and I ran my tongue over my lips before speaking. “Hi.”

“How are you feeling?”

“A little better than yesterday. How long have you been here?”

“About an hour.” Silence. Then she said, “You were talking in your sleep.”

“Did I say anything profound?”

“I think you were calling for someone … McKay or McKale?”

I winced but offered no explanation.

“I talked to your nurse. She said that if your scan turns out well, you could leave in a few days. Maybe even Monday.” Her mouth twisted a little. “Halloween. Scary.”

“That would be nice,” I said.

After a moment she said, “My offer’s still open. You’re welcome to stay with me. I’ve already moved some things around in my apartment …” then she added cautiously, “just in case.”

“That’s kind of you,” I said without commitment.

She looked at me apprehensively. Nearly a minute had passed when she asked, “What do you think?”

What did I think? I had spent the last few days considering the few options I had. After the destruction of my life, the only friend I had left was Falene, my former assistant, back in Seattle. In spite of our friendship, I couldn’t go back there.

My only other option was my father in Los Angeles. If I went to California, I knew I’d never come back. And I needed to come back. I needed to finish my walk.

For the first time since I’d left my home, I realized that my trek was more than just a physical commitment; it was a spiritual one—like the walkabouts of the Australian aborigines or the spirit walk of the Native Americans. Something I didn’t completely understand compelled me onward.

And, for whatever reason, this woman was part of my journey. There was some reason she was in my path and sitting by my bed. I just had no idea what that reason might be.

After a moment I said, “If it’s not too much trouble.”

Her lips rose in a slight smile and she nodded. “No trouble at all.”

© 2011 Richard Paul Evans

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 181 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(94)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 183 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2011

    My name is . . . Karen Christoffersen

    "You don't know me," but I am the amazingly privileged person to whom this book, Miles to Go, is dedicated. I never in a million years expected to have any book dedicated to me, much less one as good at this, but Richard has honored me and my family in so many ways. First by deciding to use my sweetheart's name as his main character in this series, and also by weaving a story so poignant, and so tender, that thousands, even hundreds of thousands of readers cannot wait for the next book. I have read Miles to Go and I can tell you that it is a book you will not put down until it is finished. It is a book that can change how you look at life, and show you how to make your life better. Nearly every page says something to me that is so profound I want to take notes, write a sentence down and put it on my fridge so I can be reminded of it every day. Yes, it is a sad story, a painful one, but so infused with hope that the feeling is tangible. We need hope. Perhaps this is why Richard's books are so popular. Hope. You will find it and so much more in Miles to Go. I can safely say that the real Alan Christoffersen would have loved it.

    17 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    awesome

    Great Book. Just Ready for the next one.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Love this author

    Richard Paul Evans is an excellent author weaving beautiful feel good stories with real life characters. This is one of my favorites of his.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2013

    An excellent read

    Plans often get interrupted...instead of frustration, learn from the interruption, help others in the midst of your interruption, don't just fling people aside and claim you are too busy...also allow people to help you when life becomes too burdensome.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    A good contiunuing story.

    The book has a good story to it, however, it is a bit too repetitive trying to allow the reader to remember what has already happened in the story. I have also read the first book in the series and do plan to read the last book in the series. It is a relaxing read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2012

    It shows us how to journey!

    After I read the first book in the series I couldn't wait to read the second one. I had the same reaction to this one, so went to the third one as soon as possible. On the surface this did not appear to be a journey I would take, but as I read on my own journey became clearer. The parts that continue to resonate with me were the inner workings in the characters portrayed; not the outer circumstances. All the books have given me insight into how I should treat people I meet. That would be all people as well as the people closest to me. The importance of being in the now is also stressed; the need to stop, look, and listen to those around us. I continue to be surprised at all the parallels to my own life and journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Brittney

    Im back!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Loved this book #2

    ,

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012

    Keeps getting better

    Trusting strangers to help you-one of the hardest things to do, but yet our main character has to do just that as does the stranger who offers him help. Together they learn from and lean on each other. As always, beautifully written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Read the series

    Second of a series about a man who loses everything and sets off to walk from Seattle to Key West. Great story about not only his walk, but finding himself along the way. Read the first book in the series before this one, although you can pick up here but will miss a lot of the background story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Great, Great!!!

    Not to sure if I like these continuing books! but than it is a Richard Paul Evans and all of his books are worth the wait. As for this book very good.

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  • Posted July 19, 2012

    highly recommended

    I wss hesitant to start the Walk series. After reading the first
    one, I couldn't stop reading them. I can hardly wait until
    the 4th in the series is published.
    I have read just about everything Richard Paul Evan's has written
    and must say, I have enjoyed all of his books. The Walk
    series is very special.
    Thanks
    lovestoread11

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    If you havent' ever read any of Richard Paul Evans, books you are missing out.

    I have read, everyone of his boooks and am never ever disapointed in any of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    The big problem with Richard Paul Evans "Walk Series" books is once you start them, you cannot wait until the next one becomes available. Extremely well written and interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    LOVE,LOVE!!

    Always happy to continue to read this Walk Series. I am getting ready to read #3. I just want to get to the end of this journey and see all the lessons learned along the walk. It was sad, funny, mysterious, pure and clean writting like all his books, just great!!. Love, Love .

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  • Posted April 20, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I absolutely love Richard Paul Evans' books. He is an exceptiona

    I absolutely love Richard Paul Evans' books. He is an exceptional writer with a plethora of amazing stories to tell. This one is no exception!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Geat read

    Liked it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    A long journey

    I have enjoyed this series for the most part but its starting to become very 'fairytale-ish'. The depth of emotions or lack there of is starting to lose me. The character Alan is around all these lovely women & not 1 does he desire to soothe his overwhelming sadness? Was hoping for a bit more realistic stuff. But good series overall.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    After reading The Walk, I absolutely had to read this book. I wa

    After reading The Walk, I absolutely had to read this book. I was worried that it wouldn't be as exciting as the first book, but Richard Paul Evans does not disappoint in this book! The book has all kinds of twists and turns in learning about the characters and realistically tells Alan's journey on the road. It's a great read, I highly recommend.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I was so entertained by the journey taken by Alan. Although it is fiction, we all face adversity in our lives. I am able to relate to how Alan responds to the people he meets - this is not just a journey across the US, it is a spiritual journey. Start with book one "the Walk" then move on to "Miles to Go". I can't wait for the next book to come out.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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