Chicago celebrity, Charles James can’t shake the nightmare that wakes him each night. He sees himself walking down a long, broken highway the sides of which are lit in flames. Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him?
By day, he wonders why he’s so haunted and unhappy when he has all he ever wanted-fame, fans and fortune and the lavish lifestyle it affords him. Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, this is what he’s dreamed of. But now, at the pinnacle of his career, he’s started to wonder if he’s wanted the wrong things. His wealth has come legally, but questionably, from the power of his personality, seducing people out of their hard-earned money. When he learns that one of his customers has committed suicide because of financial ruin, Charles is shaken. The cracks in his façade start to break down spurring him to question everything: his choices, his relationships, his future and the type of man he’s become.
Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: What will he do with it?
The Broken Road is the first book in a much-anticipated new trilogy by beloved storyteller Richard Paul Evans. It is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances. It is an epic journey you won’t soon forget.
This story was different from the stories I tend to find myself reading. When I purchased the book, I thought it was a completely fictional tale, but upon reading it, realized that it was fiction based loosely on a true story. The story follows the life a man, named Charles James, with him telling the tale of his rise and fall from grace.
As I say this, I loved the story. The author, who was able to write this story by interviewing Charles (which is not the man’s true name, but alias), really brought Charles to life. He was able, in first person, to vividly convey the main character’s thoughts and feelings in a way that made me, as a reader, feel like I was right there with him, having a heartfelt conversation.
Though Charles loses focus, chooses the wrong priorities, and makes what some would see as unforgivable mistakes, he is a sympathetic character. Quite possibility because of knowing about his upbringing in earlier chapters, I couldn’t help but to see him as the good guy who wanted to do the right thing, but easily found himself getting caught up in the ills of modern day life.
If I have to say something that was lacking in this story, I would say it had a sort of incomplete, cliffhanger, ending. Towards the end, Charles, after his fall, sees himself having a second chance, to sort of start all over in life, and possibly mend some severed relationships. But the story ends there, with the idea of him having a second chance and with him questioning himself on what he will do with it. Now seeing that this story was loosely based on a true story—an actual man’s life, he’s not there yet—he’s not at the point where he’s actually pursued that second chance, and the author makes that known in the book. So although it was a disappointment to not know what became of Charles James, it was understandable. If it’s possible for the author to do, it would be nice for him to follow up with the man who is Charles James and see what becomes of his second chance at life.
Yes, I would recommend this story to those who like character driven stories that can make one think about life, it’s purpose, and what matters.
4 out of 5 stars. I ended up liking this story despite being sort of incomplete. I believe its strength was the author’s ability to bring the main character to life, make him sympathetic and relatable.