"THE FORGOTTEN ROAD: The Broken Road Series (Book 2)," by Richard Paul Evans, Simon & Schuster, 272 pages
Richard Paul Evans returns to his New York Times best-selling series with "The Forgotten Road," the second book in the planned trilogy about second chances.
The novel picks up just after the first book ends, with Charles James missing his flight which ends up crashing. As a secret survivor, Charles uses this moment of fate to change his life. The previous story spent a lot of time with Charles wondering why he was not happy after obtaining everything he'd always dreamed of. His journey was more internal in the first installment, but in "The Forgotten Road," the reader joins Charles on an external journey as he continues to progress into the person he wants to become.
With a second chance at life before him, all Charles can think of is the last time he was truly happy — when he was with his ex-wife, Monica. To get to her and hopefully redeem himself in her eyes, Charles decides to walk the entire length of Route 66, from his home in Chicago to Monica's place in California.
Along his journey, he discovers not only America's forgotten road but also the man inside of him he lost over the years.
There is a reason why Evans is a best-selling author. While one may not always love his characters or the outcome, both feel real and raw. Evans stays close to his recurring themes of love, redemption and emotional journeys in "The Forgotten Road," but the story still feels fresh, thanks to Charles' road trip and the charming and quirky characters he meets along the way.
These characters, all with different backgrounds, help Charles learn about himself and how he interacts with others. And the places Charles visits are characters in their own right, as Evans pays homage to real-life cities, shops and landmarks. This versatility in setting keeps the story moving and takes the reader on an adventure outside of Charles' main struggles and goals.
Evans also starts each chapter of the book with a quote from Charles' diary, an nice touch that gives the reader additional insights into the main character's progression.
While one doesn't need to read the first book in the Broken Road series to understand "The Forgotten Road," it does help explain certain aspects of Charles' journey. At under 300 pages, "The Forgotten Road" is a quick read and another satisfying leg on this three-book journey.
"The Forgotten Road" contains no swearing, violent or sexual content.