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Utah man's new Christmas novel earns praise from fellow authors

By Shadow Mountain Publishing | Posted - Dec. 5, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

In a world filled with mainstream media, there is a need and quiet demand for faith-promoting, family-strengthening, and value-building media. "The Last Man at the Inn" by R. William Bennett is a perfect, must-read novel to help fill that need this holiday season.

Written by the best-selling author of "Jacob T. Marley," R. William Bennett writes the story of a journey of faith and conversion we all take in one form or another, told through the eyes and heart of a common man. It is written to affirm the believer, to lovingly beckon to the undecided, and to call out to those who may not even know they are looking for something only that there is a space in their soul that somehow needs to be filled.

'The Last Man at the Inn' is a wonderful invitation to look at Christ’s birth, life, and death through new eyes. I appreciate William Bennett’s timely reminder that true disciples come to Christ and stay.

This new Christmas novel is praised by New York Times best-selling author of "Christmas Jars," Jason F. Wright. He says, “Not just a Christmas book, 'The Last Man at the Inn' is the story of a man who is experiencing a crisis of faith and his path to conversion. Beautifully told with a surprise ending.”

Brad Wilcox, the best-selling author of "7-Day Christian," says, “'The Last Man at the Inn' is a wonderful invitation to look at Christ’s birth, life, and death through new eyes. I appreciate William Bennett’s timely reminder that true disciples come to Christ and stay.”

When asked to describe what the book is about, Bennett says, “It’s a story about a man who embarks on a journey of faith. It is made unique by the fact that Simon, the protagonist, was, as the title says, the last man to get space at the inn in Bethlehem before the arrival of Joseph and Mary. He has a chance to surrender his lodging when he sees them, but does not, justifying his need for a good rest. He is not a bad man. He’s just an ‘everyman.’”

Bennett continues, “Later that evening, during a walk in the quiet night, he passes a cave where he sees the young couple who had sought a room with their newborn, surrounded by shepherds who had left their flocks. Curious but cautious, he looks on from afar. He feels a mixture of guilt but also of a type of fascination and peace he has never experienced before. It is here that he begins his journey of faith, which will transform him into a converted follower on the day of Christ’s crucifixion.”

Emily Belle Freeman, author of "A Christ-Centered Christmas" and "A Christ-Centered Easter" says, “Both riveting and poignant, this book gives the reader a glimpse into what it might have been like to live as one of the first Christians and followers of Jesus Christ. The story left me pondering the path of discipleship and give me a deeper desire to stand more firmly as a witness of Christ in my own life.”

Bennett says he feels this book can be for everyone, including those who feel like they already have faith. He explains, “I think we all believe that faith is multifaceted, not the result of a single experience. All Christian doctrine is based on one primary belief that Jesus is the Christ. But after that, we paint our portrait of faith for the rest of our lives, learning and practicing and receiving testimonies of repentance, forgiveness, charity, sacrifice, humility and so much more. We are all constantly on a journey of at least one aspect of our total faith experience. I hope this story will lend help to those of us who are seekers along our way.”

When asked what inspired Bennett to write this novel, he said, “I have always believed completely in the Savior. I asked myself one time, ‘If I had lived back then, would I have had the faith to believe in and follow the Savior if I heard him speak?’ Or would I just have misjudged him as a fanatic?’ Of course, I know what I hope I might have done, but I wanted to work it through. That became the spark for the story.”

And for those who embark on this journey, Bennett says he “hopes that the reader may ask themselves the same questions, and vicariously through my character, Simon, search their feelings and discover that for themselves.”

"The Last Man at the Inn" is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Deseret Book, and many other book resellers. It’s the perfect gift and an excellent way to get into the Christmas spirit and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Shadow Mountain Publishing

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