Paper Angels – Travis Thrasher & Jimmy Wayne

Paper Angels Travis Thrasher Jimmy Wayne
Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne, Travis Thrasher
Published by Howard Books on November 6, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Christian
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four-half-stars

From Billboard Top Ten charted country music artist Jimmy Wayne comes an inspirational holiday story about a child in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program who encounters the disillusioned businessman who picked his name—soon to be a made-for-TV movie starring Josie Bissett!

Kevin Morrell is a forty-three-year-old husband and father who runs a successful design and marketing firm now suffering in the current economy. Attempting to navigate the hectic Christmas mall traffic, Kevin stumbles across the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Project. His wife insists that he take a paper ornament.

The name on the ornament is Thomas Brandt, a fifteen-year-old still reeling from the implosion of his family—from years of verbal abuse from an alcoholic father to a struggling single mother who now finds herself and her children penniless. The only thing that has allowed Lynn to survive is her faith. Thomas shares that faith, but he also wonders why God has seemingly abandoned them.

You’ve seen them in the stores around Christmastime, an artificial Christmas tree set by the door adorned with a number of ornaments. But they’re more than just decoration. They’re hopes and dreams and faces and smiles and tears. They’re children who probably understand more than most that Christmas isn’t about consumerism; they’re kids that know the difference between needs and wants; but most of all they just want to know somebody cares. They’re Paper Angels. And this is their story.

One of those Paper Angels is Thomas Brandt, a teenager barely coping with a new school, a new life, and newfound poverty. Life wasn’t good before. Living with an abusive alcoholic never is. But now that he, his mom, and his sister have left life isn’t getting any better. They live in a ramshackle trailer, drive a beater that’s barely functional, and just putting food on the table is a struggle. It’s difficult to even accept that they need help, hard to rely on someone else to provide for them when they’ve been fighting so long, but both Thomas and his sister end up in the Angel Tree program.

But it’s not just Thomas’s story. Kevin Morrell is the head of a successful design and marketing firm that has found itself hit hard by the tough economic times. Cutbacks, he’s told. Cut, as in any profit he was making; back, as in right where he’d been stabbed. With his livelihood in flux and his wife pregnant with twins, Kevin isn’t sure adding another expense is a good idea, but at his wife’s insistence he picks one of the Paper Angels—Thomas’s.

And that’s when God begins to work.

Paper Angels is a heartfelt Christmas tale about finding kindness amid consumerism, highlighting the historic Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. But it’s so much more than that too: it’s a story of brokenness and redemption, of forgiveness and second chances, of empathy and integrity and repaying evil with good. Travis Thrasher and Jimmy Wayne have crafted three-dimensional and true-to-life characters and woven their storylines together seamlessly. The result is an inspirational masterpiece set to challenge minds and move hearts.

Past the Angel Tree Program, Wayne and Thrasher manage to tackle themes such as alcoholism, broken families, cyber-bullying, the troubled economy, why bad things happen to good people, and more. The finished product is obviously flavored by the lives of its authors. Wayne’s childhood mirrors Thomas’s story as he was himself a beneficiary of the Angel Tree program as a child. Elements of Thrasher’s life and personality show through in Kevin’s storyline, especially as he is the father of twins.

Paper Angels is the perfect early Christmas present, something to be given out before the hustle and bustle hits full swing, something to remind folks of those Salvation Army trees over the in the corner. It’s a moving and heartfelt story that shouldn’t be missed.

four-half-stars

About Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Bestselling author Travis Thrasher has written over 50 books, spanning genres in fiction, nonfiction and children’s literature. His inspirational stories have included collaborations with filmmakers, musicians, athletes, celebrities and pastors.

With the childhood goal of pursuing a writing career starting in third grade, Thrasher worked for 13 years at Tyndale House Publishers after graduating college. His experience working with as Author Relations Manager allowed him to understand the writing life as well as training him to work with a variety of personalities. This experience has proven to be invaluable with varied writing projects in the decade he’s been a full-time writer.

His novels are as diverse as the people he’s worked with, ranging from love stories to supernatural thrillers. Publishers Weekly said “Sara and Ethan are two of the most real and sensitive lovers to grace the genre” when reviewing his first novel, The Promise Remains. They also stated “Thrasher demonstrates a considerable talent for the horror genre” in a review for Isolation years later. His readers have enjoyed the unpredictability of his novels, whether it’s due to a unique style such as second person or a twist they never saw coming.

Thrasher’s storytelling ability has also allowed him to work with others on their books, from musicians like country musician Scotty McCreery and Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. He has also penned novels based on songs such as Paper Angels with Jimmy Wayne and novelizations for films including Do You Believe? and God’s Not Dead 2. Upcoming projects continue to expand his talents, with projects including The Black Auxiliary about the lives of the 17 American black athletes who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, and Baby Don’t Hurt Me about comedian Chris Kattan’s life and time on Saturday Night Live.

Travis lives with his wife and three young daughters in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

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