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The Road to Grace
The Third Journal in the Walk Series: A Novel
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About The Book
The third novel in the New York Times bestselling series about an advertising executive who loses everything and embarks on a walk across America: “definitely a journey worth taking” (Booklist).
Reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, left behind everything he knew and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. As he treks the nearly 1,000 miles between South Dakota and St. Louis on foot, it’s the people he meets along the way who give the journey its true meaning: a mysterious woman who follows Alan for nearly a hundred miles, the ghost hunter searching graveyards for his wife, and the elderly Polish man who gives Alan a ride and shares a story that Alan will never forget.
Full of hard-won wisdom and truth, this is a moving stand-alone story as well as the continuation of the unforgettable bestselling Walk series. The Road to Grace is a compelling and inspiring novel about hope, healing, grace, and the meaning of life.
Reading Group Guide
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In the third book in Richard Paul Evans’s bestselling series, former advertising executive Alan Christoffersen continues his walk across the United States in an attempt to find solace after the death of his wife and the betrayal of his business partner. When a mysterious woman begins to follow him on his journey, Alan is forced to confront his past and some hard truths about his late wife’s family.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Many characters in both film and literature embark upon journeys as a reaction to unexpected life events. How does Alan’s journey compare to other “journey” narratives you’ve encountered? What is significant about Alan’s determination to cover hundreds of miles by foot?
2. Do you think that Pamela’s explanation of her behavior justifies what she did to McKale? Are her actions understandable?
3. Based on your knowledge of Alan’s history with his former business partner Kyle Craig, were you surprised that Leszek was able to convince him to initiate contact with Kyle? What does this say about how Alan may have felt on a deeper level? How does Leszek’s own story help Alan put things into perspective?
4. Discuss Alan’s reaction to Analise when he wakes in the middle of the night. Did you guess at her secret before she told it to Alan? Could you understand Alan’s reaction? Why are Analise and Alan able to form a bond so quickly? Have you ever experienced a similar, immediate connection with someone?
5. Were there any towns that Alan visited that held particular interest to you? What was interesting about them? Have you been to any of the places he visits during the novel?
6. Discuss Alan’s memories of the one birthday party his father threw for him. Why does he thank his father for throwing this party? What is Alan thankful for? What has happened in the novel up to this point that may have changed Alan’s view of his past?
7. Israel asks an interesting question: How could a just God give an eternal punishment for a sin that took place in a limited time? How do you feel about this question?
8. Of all the different individuals Alan encounters during The Road to Grace, who do you think had the greatest overall effect Alan’s character? Which character did you most enjoy reading?
9. Alan says that some of America’s small towns “were tinder for some of the world’s greatest people and ideas.” Discuss this statement. How might small town living breed greatness in people?
10. How has Alan changed since the beginning of The Walk series? How do you describe the concept of grace? Do you think Alan has found grace?
11. During the ghost tour in Hannibal, Alan learns that the elderly Mr. Lewis has been searching for the ghost of his wife for decades and thinks, “I had seen the possibility of my own ruin.” What do you think Alan means? Why does Mr. Lewis’s behavior have such a great impact on him?
12. Analise tells Alan that she understands his impulse to walk across the country after McKale’s death more than he knows, while Leszek is at first confused by Alan’s journey. How do the different ways characters respond to Alan’s walk reflect the state of their own lives? How does the theme of seeing ourselves reflected in others recur throughout the novel?
13. Were you surprised by the news Alan learns from Falene at the end of the book? Did you expect something like this to happen? How did Evans foreshadow this news earlier in the book? Given what Alan learns at the end of The Road to Grace, where might you see his journey leading next?
14. Discuss the theme of forgiveness in the novel. Consider Alan’s conversation with Pamela and Leszek’s story of his captivity and escape in your response. Have you ever been confronted with the choice of whether or not to forgive? Is there any action that you would consider to be truly unforgivable?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Create a playlist of songs that inspire you and listen to them on a long walk around your neighborhood or a local park. Reflect on any problems or issues you are currently facing and use your walk to begin thinking of steps toward a solution. You’re guaranteed to raise your spirits! At your next book club exchange playlists or share ideas generated during your walk with the rest of the group.
2. Watch the 2011 movie, The Way, directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen, which tells the story of a grief-stricken father who, after the death of his son, decides to walk hundreds of miles through Spain on an ancient spiritual route. Discuss the similarities between this movie and The Road to Grace.
3. The Road to Grace is full of interesting facts about American history and culture—Wall Drug to Walt Disney to Mark Twain. Put together a list of the notable Americans you admire most, and the attractions, town, and museums you’d most like to visit. At your next book club map out a fantasy road trip based on where your members’ interests intersect both geographically and topically. Maybe it will even inspire you to start planning a real trip!
4. To learn more about Richard Paul Evans visit his website at www.richardpaulevans.com and become a fan of his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RPEfans. To find our more about his charity, The Christmas Box International, visit www.thechristmasboxhouse.org/wp.
About The Reader
Richard Paul Evans is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than forty novels. There are currently more than thirty-five million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than twenty-four languages. Richard is the recipient of numerous awards, including two first place Storytelling World Awards, the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award, and is a five-time recipient of the Religion Communicators Council’s Wilbur Awards. Seven of Richard’s books have been produced as television movies. His first feature film, The Noel Diary, starring Justin Hartley (This Is Us) and acclaimed film director, Charles Shyer (Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride), will debut in 2022. In 2011 Richard began writing Michael Vey, a #1 New York Times bestselling young adult series which has won more than a dozen awards. Richard is the founder of The Christmas Box International, an organization devoted to maintaining emergency children’s shelters and providing services and resources for abused, neglected, or homeless children and young adults. To date, more than 125,000 youths have been helped by the charity. For his humanitarian work, Richard has received the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. Richard lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children and two grandchildren. You can learn more about Richard on his website RichardPaulEvans.com.
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (May 8, 2012)
- Runtime: 5 hours
- ISBN13: 9781442346307
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More books in this series: The Walk Series
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