Timepiece is a full length novel that offers the first of two prequels to the The Christmas Box novella. It's written as a romance that tracks the relationship and marriage of David and Mary Anne Parkins.
Prequels often read like complicated dot-to-dots where the key scenes mentioned in the previous book must be recreated and fleshed out. In Timepiece Evans concentrates more on the motifs than on the dateline: certain clocks, the house, the angel and of course the Christmas Box. The focus on things rather than scenes helps make Timepiece a better than average prequel.
Unfortunately, though, David Parkins develops into a full blooded Marty-Stu. He's perfect in every regard. He's liberal beyond his time: bravely tossing aside racism and willing to take in Mary Anne when she's pregnant by her ex-boyfriend. He's also wealthy, handsome and desired by all the young ladies in town. On the flip side, Mary Anne isn't the perfect woman she presented herself as in The Christmas Box. Her foibles here make her an interesting and believable character.
While I didn't enjoy Timepiece as much as I did The Christmas Box or The Locket, it did give a glimpse at old Salt Lake City and at the history of the old mansion that features so prominently in The Christmas Box. The book suffers (though not as much) from the same problems as many prequels have.
books | fiction | Richard Paul Evans | 1996