Timepieceby Richard Paul Evans
April 3, 1912. "Is this life, to grasp joy only to fear its escape? The price of happiness is the risk of losing it." So reads one of the many wise entries in David Parkin's diary in Timepiece, which traces the miraculous lives of David and his wife MaryAnne as they discover the power of love, loyalty, forgiveness and a long-forgotten keepsake that/i>
April 3, 1912. "Is this life, to grasp joy only to fear its escape? The price of happiness is the risk of losing it." So reads one of the many wise entries in David Parkin's diary in Timepiece, which traces the miraculous lives of David and his wife MaryAnne as they discover the power of love, loyalty, forgiveness and a long-forgotten keepsake that will change the fate of their family for eternity.
We go back to Salt Lake City, this time to 1908, when David Parkinthoughtful and sensitive person, millionaire head of Parkin Machinery Co., and collector of clockshires as his secretary one MaryAnne Chandler, the young woman (originally from England) destined to become David's wife, to live in his big mansion, and, in time, to become the benevolent, devout, mysteriously wise widow of The Christmas Box. How MaryAnne achieved such wisdom (quick answer: through suffering a lot) is the real subject of this book, and Evans out-Dickenses Dickens in his facile uses of melodrama in getting to his desired end. In Evans's world of tears and truth, people are by and large either all good or all bad, and if MaryAnne's perfections include being attractive, spunky, quick, principled, courageous, loving, and morally unwavering, the qualities of the base and degenerate villains who reduce her life to ashes are her perfect opposites not in some but all ways ("The men entered clumsily, growling in foul and guttural tones, drunk with whiskey and hatred"). In the beginning, there will be marriage, birth, and immeasurable happiness; and then, with purest villainy as its catalyst, there will be profound and equally immeasurable sorrow. But the healing spirit of human love and hope and goodness will not be destroyed entirely, living on in the muted but unquenchable goodness of MaryAnne's heart; in Evans's perfectly choreographed little flurry of symbols at the close; and even in the transformation of one of those pure villains into purely sensitive penitent.
Certain handkerchief heaven for many, while others may experience the stirring ofwell, let's just say other feelings.
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By Richard Paul Evans
Pocket BooksCopyright © 1997 Richard Paul Evans
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Of all, clockmakers and morticians should bear the keenest sense of Priority-their lives daily spent in observance of the unflagging procession of time ... and the end thereof. "
DAVID PARKIN'S DIARY. JANUARY 3, 1901
When I was a boy, I lived in horror of a clock-a dark and foreboding specter that towered twice my height in the hardwood hallway of my childhood home and even larger in my imagination.
It was a mahogany clock, its hood rising in two wooden cues that curled like horns on a devil's head. It had a brass-embossed face, black, serpentine hands, and a flat, saucer-sized pendulum.
To this day, I can recall the simple and proud incantations of its metallic chime. At my youthful insistence, and to my father's dismay, the strike silent was never employed, which meant the clock chimed every fifteen minutes, night and day.
I believed then that this clock had a soul-a belief not much diminished through age or accumulated experience. This species of clock was properly called a longcase clock, until a popular music hall song of the nineteenth century immortalized one of its ilk and forever changed the name. The song was titled "My Grandfather's Clock," and during my childhood, more than a half century after the song was written, it was still a popular children'stune. By the age of five, I had memorized the song's lyrics.
My grandfatber's clock was too large for the shelf, so it stood ninety years on the floor, It was taller by half than the old man himself, tho' it weighed not a pennyweight more. It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, and was always his treasure and pride, But it stopp'd short never to go again when the old man died.
My fear of the hallway clock had its roots in the song's final refrain.
But it stopp'd short never to go again when the old man died.
When I was young, my mother was sickly and often bedridden with ailments I could neither pronounce nor comprehend. With the reasoning and imagination of childhood, I came to believe that if the clock stopped, my mother would die.
Often, as I played alone in our quiet house after my brothers had left for school, I would suddenly feel my heart grasped by the hand of panic and I would run to my mother's darkened bedroom. Peering through the doorway, I would wait for the rise and fall of her chest, or the first audible gasp of her breath. Sometimes, if she had had an especially bad day, I would lie awake at night listening for the clock's quarter-hour chime. Twice I ventured downstairs to the feared oracle to see if its pendulum was still alive.
To my young mind, the clock's most demonic feature was the hand-painted moon wheel set above its face in the clock's arch. Mystically, the wheel turned with the waning moon, giving the clock a wizardry that, as a child, transfixed and mystified me as if it somehow knew the mysterious workings of the universe. And the mind of God.
It is my experience that all childhoods have ghosts.
Tonight, just outside my den stands a similar grandfather's clock-one of the few antiques my wife and I received from MaryAnne Parkin, a kind widow we shared a home for a short while before her death nearly nineteen years ago. The clock had been a gift to her on her wedding day from her husband, David, and during our stay in the mansion it occupied the west wall of the marble-floored foyer.
David Parkin had been a wealthy Salt Lake City businessman and a collector of rare antiquities. Before his death, in 1934, he had accumulated an immense collection of rare furniture, Bibles, and , most of all, clocks. Time-marking devices of all kinds-from porcelain-encased pocket watches to hewn-stone sundials filled the Parkin home. Of his vast collection of timekeepers, the grandfather's clock, which now stands outside my doorway, was the most valuables marvel of nineteenth-century art and engineering and the trophy of David's collection. Even still, there was one timepiece that he held in greater esteem. One that he, and MaryAnne, cherished above all: a beautiful rose-gold wristwatch.
Only eleven days before her death, MaryAnne Parkin had bequeathed the timepiece to my keeping.
"The day before you give Jenna away," she had said, her hands and voice trembling as she handed me the heirloom, "give this to her for the gift."
I was puzzled by her choice of words.
"Her wedding gift?" I asked.
She shook her head and I recognized her characteristic vagueness. She looked at me sadly, then forced a fragile smile."You will know what I mean."
I wondered if she really believed that I would or had merely given the assurance for her own consolation.
It had been nineteen winters since Keri, Jenna, and I had shared the mansion with the kindly widow, and though I had often considered her words, their meaning eluded me still. It haunted me that I had missed something that she, who understood life so well, regarded with such gravity.
Tonight, upstairs in her bedroom, my daughter Jenna, now a young woman of twenty-two, is engaged in the last-minute chores of a bride-to-be. In the morning, I will give her hand to another man. A wave of melancholy washed over me as I thought of the place she would leave vacant in our home and in my heart.
The gift? What in the curriculum of fatherhood had I failed to learn?
I leaned back in my chair and admired the exquisite heirloom. MaryAnne had received the watch in 1918 and, even then, it was already old: crafted in a time when craftsmanship was akin to religion-before the soulless reproductions of today's mass-market assembly.
The timepiece was set in a finely polished rose-gold encasement. It had a perfectly round face with tiny numerals etched beneath a delicate, raised crystal. On each side of the face, intricately carved in gold, were scallopshell-shaped clasps connecting the casing to a matching rose-gold scissor watchband. I have never before, or since, seen a timepiece so beautiful.
From the dark hallway outside my den, the quarter-hour chime of the grandfather's clock disrupted my thoughts-as if beckoning for equal attention.
The massive clock had always been a curiosity to me. When we had first moved into the Parkin mansion, it sat idle in the upstairs parlor. On one occasion, I asked MaryAnne why she didn't have the clock repaired.
"Because," she replied, "it isn't broken."
Treasured as it is, the clock has always seemed out of place in our home, like a relic of another age-a prop left behind after the players had finished their lines and taken their exits. In one of those exits is the tale of David and MaryAnne Parkin. And so, too, the riddle of the timepiece.
Excerpted from Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans Copyright © 1997 by Richard Paul Evans. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Richard Paul Evans is the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box. Each of his more than twenty-five novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than twenty million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than twenty-four languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Mothers Book Award, the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award, the German Audience Gold Award for Romance, two Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Awards, the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook at Facebook.com/RPEFans, or visit his website, RichardPaulEvans.com.
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Date of Birth:
- October 11, 1962
- Place of Birth:
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- B.A., University of Utah, 1984
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Timepiece is a very sweet, romantic story about David Parkin, a young business owner and collector of timepiece. He falls in love with MaryAnne, his new secretary. Within a short time they are married, have a baby girl, then suddenly face great hardships together. The story focuses not only on David & MaryAnne's love. The significance of David's passion for clocks and other timepieces is brought up repeatedly as David learns to find meaning for his life in people, instead of the passage of time and the measurement of it. Timepiece is the second of several books written by Richard Paul Evans. If you're looking for clean, sentimental romance novels with a significant message to share, you will absolutely love Evans's books.
This book is the most touching book I have ever read. I can't say anything else about this book because it's quality is without words. I highly recommend reading Timepiece.
The Timepiece gives the reader a renewed sense of life. It makes apparent all the good things life offers and how we should appreciate everyone God has placed in our lives. Live the days like there your last.
I read this book because it was there, and I'm glad it was. It's well written and moves quickly. I stayed up to read the entire book and went to bed with a renewed appreciation of my family.
I enjoyed this book alot. It's very interesting to read this book. It's about an old man, a young man,a woman, and a baby. This book is sooo goood!
Suffice it to say that I am totally disappointed with B&N. I cannot even get an update on my account and I had a $95 credit. With my wife ordering books, I have no idea whether you are charging me or reducing my account. Fortunately I also have Kindle....where we are going once our credit runs out. John P Duff