An Accidental Lottery Winner – Find Out What Happens When An Ordinary Person Becomes Extraordinary

Chance can change lives in a split second but the results can last a lifetime. Such is the case in Lilian Duval’s latest book, You Never Know, where two families live very different lifestyles; one struggling and dealing with tragedy and one affluent. While they manage to remain friends, things change after one buys a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket and their lifestyle roles are reversed. While Duval’s characters cleverly introduce moral values into the story in an inspiring way, make no mistake, there is nothing preachy or predictable about this engaging page-turner – it is full of surprises to the very end. Chance also played a part in the real life of the author; she and her husband are survivors of the attack on the WTC Towers in 2001 and both made career changes as a result. 

Ridgewood, NJ, (MediaQuire) November 10, 2011 – You Never Know (Wheatmark, Inc.) by Lilian Duval is a novel about two different families; one having suffered great tragedy and struggling financially, and the other affluent, and how making the choice to buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket changed their lives forever.

Tobias Hillyer starts out in life with his own set of problems: a condescending father, alcoholic mother, and Simeon – his artistically gifted younger brother. While visiting them over Christmas, his life is changed forever when a tragic car accident leaves both parents dead and seriously injures his younger brother. This once-promising anthropology major, always one to do the right thing, is forced to abandon his dreams in order to care for his orphaned, brain-damaged sibling. Stuck in a low-paying job, he marries Carmela, a psychiatric nurse he met while his brother was in the hospital.

In contrast, Tobias’s college roommate Martin seems to get more than his fair share of good luck; having graduated college, married well, and landed a high-paying job with Lehman Brothers in New York. Yet despite the difference in their incomes, the two couples and their children keep in touch.

When Tobias buys a lottery ticket on a whim and wins the jackpot, everything changes for the better…or does it? Suddenly the roles are reversed, and Tobias and Carmela live out their fantasies while Martin faces bankruptcy. When problems begin and life gets more difficult and less predictable, Tobias nearly loses everything he holds most dear as he tries to get his mind around this staggering amount of money.

Simeon surfaces as the unexpected hero of this novel by realizing his own happiness and success as a result of his own efforts. As he departs the nest to embark on his personal life journey, he leaves his family with a gift that brings them full circle and grants Tobias inner peace – making this a story of triumph rather than defeat.

While the characters in You Never Know are unpredictable and surprising to the very end, they are nonetheless sincere and likeable with an inner strength that surfaces in times of struggle. Through her characters, Duval cleverly introduces moral values in a winning and inspiring way without coming across as boring or sermonizing.

Duval adds suspense to the story by intimating how the characters may be impacted by the eventual terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, drawing a parallel with what she and her husband experienced as actual survivors of 9/11 and how their lives were changed forever because of it. For more information, please visit her website at:


Alan Caruba of The National Book Critics Circle: “You Never Know…explores what happens when extraordinary things happen to ordinary people. The author is a survivor of the 9/11 attack and lives in New Jersey where the novel’s protagonist, Tobias Hillyer, has a life filled with both tragedy and extraordinary luck…the characters intertwine in an ever-changing landscape of events, capped by Hillyer’s win of a MegaMillions lottery that, despite the millions involved, evoke a whole new set of problems. It an intriguing story filled with unexpected twists and turns.”

Emily Truman, Esq., Asst. Municipal Prosecutor, City of Newark: “Have you ever read a book you didn’t want to finish simply because it was so good that you didn’t want the experience to end? It’s a rare find, and one to be treasured. You Never Know is one of those books—it’s a book to be devoured in one night, but also a book you want to cherish and read slowly.”

K.L. Stover, Novelist, Philosopher, Conceptual Artist: “In her charming, fast-paced novel You Never Know, author Lilian Duval asks the timeless question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the answer for one small suburban nuclear family in New Jersey is a resounding “Yes!”

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