Monday, December 04, 2006

Comfort and Joy By Kristin Hannah

In this modern-day fairy tale, New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah gives us a very special gift: the heartwarming story of a woman at a crossroads, caught between two lives, who finds a second chance at happiness.

Joy Candellaro used to love Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she finds herself at loose ends. Recently divorced and estranged from her sister, she can't summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the rural Northwest.

Yet Joy's best-laid plans go terribly awry. The plane crashes deep in the darkness of a forest. Miraculously, Joy and her fellow passengers walk away from the wreckage as the plane explodes. There, amid the towering trees, Joy makes a bold and desperate decision to leave her ordinary life behind and embark on an adventure . . . just for the holidays.

Daniel O'Shea has returned to the small town of Rain Valley, following the death of his ex-wife. Now he is a single father facing his son's first Christmas without a mother. Six-year-old Bobby isn't making it easy, the boy has closed himself off from the world, surrounding himself with imaginary friends.

When Joy and Bobby meet, they form an instant bond. Thrown together by fate, these wounded souls will be touched by the true spirit of Christmas and remember what it means to be a family.

Then a dramatic turn of events shows Joy the price of starting over. On a magical Christmas Eve she will come face-to-face with a startling truth. Now she must decide: In a time of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, can she find the faith to reach for the love she has found . . . and the new life only she believes in?

I'm going to be honest here and say that this is not a book I would have picked up had a friend not only recommended, but mailed to me so I could read. I had never read anything by this author before and in truth had never even heard of her. Since reading this book I did go out an buy another of her stories.

I first I thought this would be your typical Christmas themed story. I was wrong for sure, when they say dramatic turn, they mean it. I was to say the least surprised and more than a little bowled over by this story's plot twist. I have read the many reviews over on Amazon and I can completely see the point of some of those readers. But if you have a little bit of faith are willing to believe in Christmas miracles and want lopreservererveer than you will enjoy this emotionally charged offering from Ms. Hannah.

Some of the plot line has been said to be too far fetched and the characters reactions to certain events not believable and while that may be true for some, I found that I could and did believe their reactions. More importantly I believed them to be true to the characters in this story.

Joy for the most part is doing the best that she can against what I think are impossible odds. This story is told in the first person from her perspective and while I usually don't read books written in first person I don't think this story would work another way. To understand Joy's betrayal by her husband and sister, to sympathize with her emotions and her need to run away you have to read it form her point of view. All the characters there actions and ultimately the outcome are all based on Joy's observations, her emotional struggle and ultimately her decision to forgive or not to forgive the sister she has loved all her life.

This book is so much more than the story of Daniel and Joy, of Joy's relationship with the sad and confused Bobby, more that her sister's need to reconcile and even her ex-husband's need to find a way to love one sister after hurting the other. This book is a journey, one that begins and ends with Joy.

All in all this is a compelling read that asks the reader to believe in the miracle of Christmas, to take that leap of faith into the unknown and while doing so watches as a woman finds her way to live and hopefully love again.


  1. Hi Jen, this sounds interesting, it isn't an inspirational romance is it?

  2. I've read all her early books and really like them. But then she seemed to move more towards Women's Fiction and I kind of stopped reading her. Sadly I don't think this one will change my mind as not meaning to be scrooge like - but I don't really care that much for Christmas romance stories.

  3. I loved Hannah's earlier books too...but I haven't read one in quite a few years, for the same reason Kristie mentioned above.

    You did a great job on the review, but I'm not sure I'll pick up the book either.

  4. Karen
    I wouldn't say it was an inspirational romance.

    Kristie and Colleen
    Had my friend not recommended it, I probably wouldn't have either. I was suprised how much I did like since it's not really my cup of tea normally.

  5. Nice review Jenn. Author name rang a bell. I haven't read her, but Linda has and blogged up one of her women's fiction titles:

    Linda liked her as well. I'm not sure which title I'll try. I'm not big into Christmas romances, but the fact that you admit you would never have selected this book--yet enjoyed it--....dunno, I like those unexpected kind of reads.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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