When I wrote my first book, "The Christmas Box," it was an intensely personal expression. To me, "The Locket" has that quality too.
When I was sixteen, a high school sociology teacher gave us the assignment to visit a nursing home resident every week for the duration of her course.
My first meeting with my adopted resident, Lucille, was as awkward as I imagine a blind date with someone else's great-grandmother would be: Each attempt at conversation was met with blank, dubious stares.
Through time, I soon learned that I was Lucille's only visitor. That she spent her weekends and holidays alone in her small room, looking out at the pastoral landscape of the care facility. My attitude began to change. Lucille never spoke to me, never even learned my name, but I began to see something change in her demeanor whenever I visited. A quiet gratitude, perhaps. A friendship.
Two months later the assignment ended, but not my visits. I continued to spend time with Lucille until the day I walked in to find an orderly stripping her bed. When I asked Where Lucille was, the busy orderly replied, "She died yesterday."
It was only then that I realized the extent of my connection with Lucille. I left the facility deeply saddened that I never got the chance to say good-bye. I never went back.
That is, until I wrote "The Locket." As I began to write the story of Michael Keddington and Esther Huish, I found that I had returned to that quiet room.
"The Locket," like all of my novels, is a love story. A story about the young love of Michael and Faye and the challenges they face. It is also a story of old love, between Esther and the man she lost so many years before. But, ultimately, it is a story of the love between generations, and the nurturing and forgiveness those relationships always require.
My hope is for you to come to understand the many gifts the elderly can bring to our lives. And, most of all, that in reading "The Locket," you, and those with whom you share my story, will be brought closer to those you love and those whom you should.
About the Author
RICHARD PAUL EVANS is the #1 best-selling author of The Christmas Box. His fourteen novels have each appeared on the New York Times bestseller list; there are more than thirteen million copies of his books in print. His books have been translated into more than 22 languages and several have been international best sellers. He is the winner of the 1998 American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards for his children’s books, and the 2005 Romantic Times Best Women 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.