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Comfort & Joy: A Novel
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2007
Joy Candellaro a school librarian, is not very happy this Christmas season, that's for sure. In years past, Christmas has always been a wonderful celebration. But this year, Joy's life took a turn for the worse possible scenario when she catches her sister Stacey in bed with her husband Thom. A bitter divorce takes place after, and Joy has not been able to look Stacey in the eye since. And to make matters much worse, Stacey is pregnant.

When Joy comes home from work and finds her sister there wanting to talk it out, she can't bear it. She just needs to run away from it all-and she does. She turns around and goes to the airport, and on an act of spontaneity, buys a ticket bound for the rural northeast. Than the completely unexpected really happens. The plane crashes and explodes within a short period of time. Joy is unconscious for minutes, yet wakes up suddenly, walking away from the scene there. She ventures up the road to a fishing lodge owned by a father and son.

When she walks up to it, it appears to be closed down. But she knocks on th door anyway, and a boy, Bobby lets her in. He says they are no longer open really, but finds her a room anyway. She and Bobby become fast friends-and yet Bobby has a real chip on his shoulder as does his father Daniel who is not pleased that Joy is there. Reluctantly, he lets her stay there for the week, and while there Joy and Bobby bond. Bobby has lost his mother in a car accident, and is still grieving terribly. He is not happy with his dad, as he took off when Bobby was very little, and left he and his mother alone. And now all of a sudden, Daniel has to step in and be a parent to his son.

The story takes a twist when Joy knows she has to get back home to her "real life," even though she hates to leave Bobby, and actually Daniel too. He comes to like Joy in a kind of romantic way.

When it is time to go to Christmas Eve service, it is Joy's last day there before going home. It is after the service, that Joy has an attack of some sort, and passes out unconscious. The story then takes another turn from that point-and I won't tell as I don't want to give it away.

I highly recommend this book, even though the ending could have been better. The author could have written the ending differently than she did for the book to make more sense there-but the rest of it was really good and hard to lay down.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Christmas isn't a time for cynicism or skepticism. It's a time when miracles can happen, which is almost what occurs in the life of Joy Candellaro.

As our story opens it seems that Joy isn't aptly named because there's not much in her life but betrayal and misery. Her divorce from Thom is still new enough to pain and her sister is the one who caused it. Not a time for family happiness!

In spite of all this, Joy determines to celebrate her first Christmas on her own with a tree, the trimmings, and an eye-popping gift that she certainly feels she deserves. However, the holly and tinsel go by the board when her sister, Stacey, drops by to announce that she's going to have Thom's baby. Joy sees red, and buys an airline ticket for Canada. Does she know anyone there? No. Does she know what she'll do when she gets there? Has no idea. She simply wants to escape from a life that has become untenable.

Kristin Hannah fans know that there's good news in the offing, and they'll not be disappointed or surprised when Joy meets a father and son who are enduring more than their share of sorrow. You know what they say about comfort and joy.

Sandra Burr gives a splendid reading of this story of second chances - if you have the courage to accept them.

- Gail Cooke
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2005
Kristin Hannah has presented us with a delightful gift that is sure to give your emotions a thorough workout. COMFORT & JOY is a magical tale that has been released just in time for the Christmas season, where very often the impossible becomes possible. This unusual story begins in an all-too usual way. Joy Candellaro comes home unexpectedly to find her husband Thom in bed with her sister Stacey; they were not taking a nap.

Needless to say, the orderly world of Joy Candellaro, school librarian, is quickly turned upside down. The pain of betrayal, the grief over losing her husband, and the devastating loss of her sister and best friend are too much to endure. Joy is able to bear it for a while as she continues going to work, but she cannot move beyond her pain enough to take part in any of the pre-holiday parties and fun. Then, in what may be the most insensitive moment in literary history, Stacey brings her a wedding invitation.

Torn between pain and anger, Joy decides to get away for the Christmas holidays and impulsively takes a charter flight to a place called Hope in British Columbia. As Joy is beginning to relax and imagine vacationing in a quaint little fishing lodge at the edge of the sea, something goes terribly wrong with the plane. Miraculously, she manages to walk away from the crash landing and... That's all I can tell you about the plot without spoiling this wonderful story.

However, as possibly the newest member of the Kristin Hannah fan club, I can enthusiastically recommend this book, and I intend to begin reading the rest of her bestsellers, which include ANGEL FALLS, MAGIC HOUR, and many more. The author has a talent for understanding the feelings of her characters and being able to express them with poignancy and love. Whether it is the fears of a little boy who has just lost his mother or the heartfelt love of his now single father, Kristin Hannah chooses the right words with which to touch the reader's heart. And, most difficult of all, she manages to demonstrate the power of love and forgiveness in even the most impossible situations.

If you're looking for the perfect story to get you in the mood for the holiday season, or anytime, then COMFORT & JOY is definitely up to the task.
[...]
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 7, 2005
Joy Candellaro used to LOVE the Christmas season. But after finding out about her husband and her sister, Joy is not feeling very joyful. Tired of it all, she hops on a plane and disappears from her frustrating life - at least for a little while.

Daniel O'Shea is a widow with an eight-year-old son, Bobby, who is about to have his first Christmas without his mother. Bobby is not adjusting too well and is making it harder on Daniel. In fact, Bobby seems to be distancing himself from the world around him and slipping into deep depression.

Then Joy and Bobby meet. These two disillusioned people may be able to help each other ... and Daniel as well.

***** In my opinion, this is one of the best novels I've read for this year's holiday season. Author Kristin Hannah has proven time-and-time-again that she has an almost mystical way of making her readers empathize with her characters. This story is no different. You will be snared quickly and be in no rush to free yourself. Awesome! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2010
I have a tradition of reading Christmas themed books during the holiday. This year one of my choices was Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah. I've loved many of Kristin's books and this is no exception. It has everything you could want in a holiday novella......sadness bouyed by hope, tragedy which eventually creates joy and sibling rivalry culimating in a poignant and magically journey. Some of the reviewers did not like the suspension of reality aspect of this book, but that's what makes it so special to me.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Heartbroken after her husband falls in love with her sister, who is now pregnant with his child, Joy Candellaro impulsively decides to leave town right before Christmas and hops on a plane to Canada to get away. But her plane crashes and Joy wanders away only to end up at a fishing lodge owned by Daniel O'Shea, who has a young son, Bobby. Joy immediately bonds with Bobby who is still dealing with his mother's tragic death. She doesn't bond as easily with Daniel who has problems of his own - he was divorced from Bobby's mother and is struggling to establish a relationship with his young son. But just when Joy thinks she might be falling in love with Daniel, she is pulled away from them and has to fight her way back. While trying to do so, she begins to realize that things aren't what they seem and she begins to question what is and what isn't real. But in her heart, she knows she needs to find Daniel and Bobby before she'll be whole again.

"Comfort and Joy" is a unique type or romance and while it doesn't quite work in the end, Kristen Hannah deserves a lot of credit for attempting it. Joy is a believable heroine, devastated and needing to get away after the betrayal of her husband and sister. Bobby is very cute and very real, prone to having imaginary friends and seeing his dead mother, he very much needs loving parents. Unfortunately, not only because the book is from Joy's viewpoint but because of the whole premise of the book, Daniel is never a fully developed character and the romance between him and Joy never really worked for me. The book is divided into two parts and the second section goes in a totally different, Sixth Sense type of direction that may take readers off guard. It wasn't until I reread certain parts of the book that I realized how cleverly Hannah devised certain plot lines (like the way Joy was able to play games with Bobby and Daniel and a phone call she made) and how she placed little hints as to what was going on. Again, it ultimately didn't work, but it was a good attempt and well done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2006
I haven't read a Kristin Hannah book yet that I didn't love... and I place this one at the top. I sailed through this unabridged audio, read so fabulously by Sandra Burke. This is not the usual kind of story I expected. If you've read other books by this author, you pretty much know how things will go..... but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist in this story.... actually, I loved the way the story ended. I am a true fan of this author and can't wait for her next book. I immediately fell in love with Joy, Bobby, and even the gruf Daniel, with his wonderful Irish accent. This is the kind of book you just can't wait to finish, but never want to end. I highly recommend it. I'd love to see Kristen revisit these people one day in a future story....
JMHO //(*_*)\\
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2005
There are times in every person's life where they would like to 'start over.' Kristin Hannah's novel Comfort and Joy is the heartwarming story of Joy Candellaro and her journey of acceptance and reconciliation as she begins a new life.

Joy Candellaro, a school librarian, is newly divorced. Her former husband Thom is engaged to her sister Stacey. Joy struggles with their betrayal and the loss of her dream of marriage and family. All she wants to do is leave her life and start over.

In a brief moment of panic, Joy runs from her life and boards a flight to Hope (which is located in Canada). The plane crashes and Joy finds herself battered and bruised, but alive, in Rain Valley where she meets widower Daniel O'Shea and his son, Bobby. There, Joy receives the incredible opportunity to heal emotionally and learn what is truly important to her.

The twist in Comfort and Joy was unexpected and handled skillfully. It added immensely to the story and confirms that life is truly magical and beautiful.

Armchair Interviews says: Hannah's beautiful and poignant story is a wonderful read for the holiday season, or anytime of the year. Read it and know there are second chances, if only we believe. We highly recommend Comfort and Joy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2006
I just finished reading this book, didnt take me that long. I found the story fasinating and really captured my attention and made me want to continue reading on. When I got to the second part where she finds out the truth, I went back to reread most of the conversation parts and its like all of a sudden I'm like Joy, putting the pieces together.

I guess to read this book, its pretty much just an enjoyment. I mean for me, the ending was pretty much how I imagined it to be so if you do too much thinking into the logic and reality, it pretty much spoils it. So Im trying not to overthink the whole possibilities of what mightve happened there.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2012
I won't repeat the silly plot as it's been covered in numerous other reviews. However this book is so irritating and so wrong on so many levels I did feel compelled to contribute my two cents worth. What is up with this author's idea of family that one must forgive and forget when your sister gets herself knocked up by your husband and you catch them in the act, in your bed, no less? Of course you should attend their wedding when invited; she is your sister after all. Kristin, Kristin you need to lay off watching Jerry Springer. The weird attempt at some sort of mysticism later in the novel and the bizarre conclusion is just strange and clumsy. I didn't get the magic here at all, but must confess it did make me laugh out loud. I will forgive the author this stink bomb as I paid nothing for it as it was a library loan and I have only myself to blame for plowing through the entire thing. However it may very well be the most humorous really bad novel by a usually decent writer that I have yet to encounter so surely that has some entertainment value?
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