Walking on Water

Walking on Water

by Richard Paul Evans


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With this New York Times bestseller, the beloved Walk series ends as Alan Christoffersen reaches his destination and the beginning of a new life: “Definitely a journey worth taking” (Booklist).

After the death of his beloved wife, after the loss of his advertising business to his once-trusted partner, after bankruptcy forced him from his home, Alan Christoffersen embarked on a daring cross-country journey—a walk across America, from Seattle to Key West, with only the pack on his back. Through it all he learned life-changing lessons about love, forgiveness, and most of all, hope.

Now Alan must again return west to face yet another crisis, one that threatens to upend his world just as he had begun to heal from so much loss, leaving him unsure of whether he can reach the end his journey. It will take the love of a new friend, and the wisdom of an old friend, to help him to finally leave the past behind and find the strength and hope to live again.

Walking on Water is a beautiful story of one man’s search for a new beginning, of “humorous moments, heartwarming moments, moments of self-discovery, and moments of profound wisdom” (Deseret Morning News).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451628326
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Series: Walk Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 66,310
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Richard Paul Evans is the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box. Each of his more than thirty-five novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than thirty-five million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than twenty-four languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Mothers Book Award, the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award, the German Audience Gold Award for Romance, five Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Awards, The Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award, and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook at Facebook.com/RPEFans, or visit his website RichardPaulEvans.com.


Salt Lake City, Utah

Date of Birth:

October 11, 1962

Place of Birth:

Salt Lake City, Utah


B.A., University of Utah, 1984

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Walking on Water includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Richard Paul Evans’s fifth and final novel about Alan Christoffersen and his epic cross-country adventure picks up directly after the dramatic events of A Step of Faith. Following the death of his beloved wife and loss of the advertising business he founded, Alan sets out on foot, planning to walk from Seattle to Key West while he attempts to comprehend what has happened to his once idyllic life. Now his journey is nearly complete, despite the numerous obstacles he has faced along the way. Or is it? A life-and-death family matter prompts Alan to take a detour to his childhood home in California. Once there, Alan uncovers shocking secrets about his family’s history, and must gather all his strength and newfound knowledge to finally face the truth about himself.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. How does the T. S. Eliot poem used as an epigraph set the tone of the novel? With the knowledge that this is the final book in Evans’s series, what were your hopes and expectations for the conclusion of Alan’s story?

2. In the prologue, Alan says that “every life can be learned from, as either a flame of hope or a cautionary flare. I don’t know yet which one mine is. By the time you read this, I probably will” (page 5). Do you agree with this statement? Can you think of any characters in the novel or people you know in real life who either support or disprove this statement?

3. What are some interesting parallels between the journal entries in Alan’s father’s family history and Alan’s own life experiences? How does the journal give him a window into his own personal history in way that nothing else can?

4. Alan’s father tells him that “it’s good to take counsel from the past but not to be ruled by it. Otherwise we end up using today to fight yesterday’s battles and missing tomorrow’s promise” (page 76). What does he mean by this? How does this statement relate to the larger themes of the novel and the series?

5. How does Alan’s arrival at the house in Pasadena foreshadow many of the events yet to come in the novel? If he hadn’t taken the detour to Pasadena, how might the outcome of his journey have been different?

6. What prompts Alan’s sudden physical desire for Nicole after his feelings have pointed in the other direction for so long? Is Nicole’s reaction surprising? What combination of events might have led to both of their reactions?

7. When Alan tries to persuade Falene that they should be together, she tells him a humiliating story from her high school days and says, “I’m the same person I’ve always been. I used to think I had changed, but I haven’t. Inside I’m still that same girl behind the bleachers. Even at the modeling agency. Why can’t you see that?” (page 174) Discuss this passage. Everyone has a past, but why is it sometimes difficult to recognize change in ourselves even when others can see it? Are there people in your life in whom you believe more than they believe in themselves?

8. How did you think the final leg of Alan’s trek, from Jacksonville to Key West, compared to the earlier stretches of his journey in the previous novels? Were the Florida scenery and history he encountered interesting to you, or did you prefer reading about some of the other parts of the country he visited?

9. Discuss the chapter in which Alan visits Lottie’s Eats and encounters a roomful of men with no ambition greater than the lack of ambition. Why is it unusual that Lottie asks Alan where he has come from rather than where he is going? What do the men in the bar represent? What else was meaningful about this scene?

10. Near the end of his trip Alan reflects: “I may be wrong, but it seems that there may be some unraveling of the American tapestry. I see people getting so caught up in celebrating diversity that they are neglecting their commonality. I don’t see this as a good thing” (page 251). Discuss what this passage means. Do you believe that this is something currently happening in our culture? If so, do you agree with Alan?

11. As Alan approaches the end of his travels, he has a sudden realization. “I was more troubled than I had been for months. . . . I realized there was something different at the core of my pain. Fear. Fear of completing my journey. . . . What was I going to do when my walk was finally over?” (page 246) What makes this realization a pivotal moment for Alan?

12. Before Alan reaches the end of his journey, do you think he ever truly knows why he is walking? If Alan had to sum up his journey in fewer than ten words, what do you think he would say?

13. Were you satisfied with the way the series ended? Would you be interested in reading more stories about Alan Christoffersen?

14. Discuss the book’s title and how it ties in to the ending of the book. What is the significance of the phrase “walking on water” as it relates to the series and to the final chapter in Alan’s journey?

15. Discuss other themes, characters, or scenes that you liked or didn’t like in this novel and in the series as a whole. Are there characters you would have liked to see more or less of? What was your favorite thing about the series? Would you recommend these books to others?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. On his walk through Florida, Alan dines on a wide variety of traditional Southern dishes and hearty seafood. Find a good restaurant with similar fare in your neighborhood and have your book club meeting there. Or, search online or in cooking apps for recipes for foods like fried chicken or clam chowder to serve at your next meeting. You may even want to try fatback!

2. Share a story of a journey you took that changed your life. It doesn’t have to be as major as Alan’s. Was there a weekend adventure or class trip when you were young, a visit to see a relative, or a day at the beach that is particularly memorable for you? How can traveling even a short distance change your everyday outlook?

3. Despite all his hardships, Alan consistently demonstrates the power of positivity and kindness to others. Take turns sharing positive statements about each member of your group. You will all go home with smiles on your faces!

4. To keep up with Richard Paul Evans’s newest books, charity work, and other projects, visit www.richardpaulevans.com, www.facebook.com/RPEfans, and www.thechristmasboxhouse.org.

Customer Reviews

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Walking on Water (Walk Series #5) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Zazzy1 More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully Wow!  A must read!!!      Like so many other fans, I eagerly anticipated the finale installment of Richard Paul Evans “The Walk” series, “Walking on Water”.   After traveling vicariously through Alan’s eyes for the last 4 years I was almost sad to see the adventure end as I counted the days to May 6th ,  anxiously intrigued to read the conclusion.  If ever there was a roller coaster road of life, Alan Christoffersen has traveled it.  Snagged and tripped up by various speed bumps along the way, he was encouraged and challenged by the stories of those he has met traversing from Seattle, WA to Key West, FL.  This book concludes that emotional sojourn and I can honestly say it was so worth the wait.        So close yet so far, this chapter began with him back at his boyhood home in Arcadia, CA. to be near his ailing father.     Alan learns more about his family and his past then he ever thought possible and through turmoil realizes what a gift that knowledge is.  One of my favorite lines in the book comes from a chess analogy from his father:  “The past makes a good bishop but a poor king”.  To figure out what it means, one must read the book. ¿   .  Good friends and old friends rallied around him once more.   Love slips through his fingers through no fault of his own and he returns to let last leg of his quest alone.         Traveling though Florida,  Alan meets some interesting characters including two “sirens” and a group of brew drinking men who try to convince him that he needs to give up his past memories as to them it only brings pain.   A tunnel visioned religious fanatic tries to persuade Alan that his “Church” is the only saving way to God and Alan brilliantly refutes the man’s arguments.    He continues on to hopefully complete the mission he started and what he discovers at the end brought me to tears.  Actually, most of the book is tear-worthy and profoundly heart moving.     After running the gamut of emotions while reading this book, I am anxious to read it again.  I will miss Alan and all that he has taught me  about hope, grace and forgiveness throughout his journey.   Thank you, Alan, for letting me to hitch a ride and share your experiences.  This series as a whole is awesome and each book has gems of wisdom and insight. I will be recommending it to everyone.   I can’t wait to see what Richard Paul Evans has in store for us next!!
kyladyVD More than 1 year ago
I loved the whole Walk series but Walking on Water was my very, very favorite. Richard Paul Evans is an outstanding author. Hopefully he will continue writing series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the entire series. I will miss the characters
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
THE WALK, what an incredible series by Richard Paul Evans! WALKING ON WATER #5, the last book in the series – a bittersweet story, as it comes to a close. What a great ride (or should I say walk)? I have followed this journey through each book; each with special meaning, unique people, and places—connecting with Alan Christoffersen on his journey to find his way, after losing his wife, his business, his money and near suicide. However, we must say goodbye to Alan and wish this much loved character the best. However, he learned many important lessons along the way, as he traveled from Seattle, WA to Key West, FL for his cross country journey. I always prefer the audio version--who better to narrate than Richard himself—as he knows how to speak to the heart! A heartwarming, and inspiring journey (mixed with humor)--full of life lessons about love, loss, and forgiveness and, most of all, hope. This particular book was special as Alan he had the opportunity to get to know his dad, on a more personal level, through his diary and his mom’s letters---sacrifices his dad made for his son. Key West was the place his mom and dad were engaged so the journey came full circle. A great ending with the love of a new friend, a wise father, and the loyalty and friendship of an old friend, as he leaves his past behind to start over--a much wiser and smarter man, after overcoming his struggles and challenges. I enjoyed learning about the author’s inspiration for creating THE WALK and am positive this series touched many lives – Well done! Looking forward to his next series. “You take away everything a man lives for, then what does he live for?” ¿ Richard Paul Evans, Walking on Water
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good series to read. Sorry to see it end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hip hoppity happy& very excited. Like so many other fans of Richard Paul Evans, I was so hip hoppity happy and very excited to read this wonderful book. This Walk Series is an awesome fantastically heartfelt series, I enjoyed all the of the Walk Series, but I do have to say that  Walking On Water was my total favorite one that I have read. It is about loss, love, life experiences, friendships, and A walk that is adventurist and exciting, while some of his walk may be sad and lonely. If you like to read about someone's life then this one is a definite must read!!! 
Taffie10 More than 1 year ago
Just when I think his writing just can't get any better..... Best series I've ever read!  Do you enjoy Nicolas Sparks?...me too!! Danielle Steele?.... Like wise!! Richard Paul Evans? You just can't beat him!!  If you haven't started "the Walk" series do yourself a favor and do so! You are lucky!.... You don't have to wait five years for this "GRAND" finally!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just an incredible series to read. I ended up reading the entire 5 book series in less than two weeks. Once you start reading The Walk you just can't stop. Excellent reading !
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Every year as the new book has been released, I've reread the whole series. Such a wonderful series! Written beautifully, I felt like I was with Allan on his walk. I was sad to see the series end. Richard Paul Evans is my all time favorite!
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I have read each "Walk" book and looked forward with great anticipation to the next as it became available. This series is one I don't look forward to its ending as I have enjoyed it that much! I have read so man of R.P.Evans inspirational books and I plan to start my grandchildren on reading them this Christmas as they are of an age appropriate to experience the feelings of inspiration offered by his writings. My "Evans Library" is a source of great joy to go back to time and time again. I you haven't tried his writings, please try one, you won't regret it. Reward yourself! Celtic Colleen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the ending to this series. I couldn't put down the book until I finished it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well, if you've read the rest, you need to finish the series! Frankly, I was a bit disappointed, and I don't even know why. We learned a lot more about his father and background, but the end of the trip seemed anticlimactic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can i join? If yes than thank you and also can i have a mentor
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CluckLE More than 1 year ago
I loved doing the walk with Richard Paul Evans. Every step of the way was unexpected. I was hoping for a good ending and was not disappointed. 
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