Joseph Jacobson works with his 11 brothers in a Denver advertising agency owned by his father. Joseph, the second youngest (from his father’s four marriages), is clearly the favored son. His brothers are consumed by growing envy and anger, and eventually find a way to banish him from the firm, the family and Denver.
Sound vaguely familiar?
It should. It’s the story of Joseph – he of the coat of many colors in the Bible, the son of Jacob, the young man sold into slavery who eventually becomes the second most powerful man in Egypt. In A Winter Dream by Richard Paul Evans, Joseph Jacobson becomes the second most powerful man in a Chicago-based advertising agency.
Evans, author of the 20-year-old favorite The Christmas Box and numerous other books, has told an engaging story that demonstrates the author’s own knowledge of the advertising business and a fairly clever way of retelling the Biblical story. Evans includes a number of modern flourishes and embellishments – a girlfriend from southern Utah, assignment to a company backwater instead of the prison of the Biblical story, and a coat that, while it isn’t of many colors, is still full of meaning for Joseph and his brothers.
Telling a story that holds the reader’s interest is Evans’s long suit. This isn’t serious literary fiction, but it’s not meant to be. It’s simply a story about relationships, brokenness, healing, and redemption. The novel includes a bit of accelerated plot development at the end – some of the resolution could have stood another chapter or two – but it is still a good story.
Related: My review of The Christmas Box.