November 30, 2008

Comfort and Joy

And the winner is...


Send me your snail mail address (I moderate comments, so I'll delete it without posting) and I'll get the book out in the mail on Monday. Hope you enjoy it!

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah
Contemporary Fiction - Holiday
2005 Ballantine Books
Finished on 11/29/08
Rating: 2/5 (Fair)

Product Description

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?

It's been several years since I've read anything by Kristin Hannah, but after reading Beachreader's glowing review of Comfort and Joy a couple of years ago, I decided to add it to my list of possible holiday reads. I didn't get around to reading it last year, so when I spotted it on one of my shelves earlier this month, I decided it was next in line for this holiday season.

In spite of my low rating, I must say I was quickly drawn into the story, eager to see how Joy's situation would play out. Somewhere around the half-way mark, though, I began to feel disappointed in the plot and overall writing. The story is unnecessarily drawn out, dialogue repetitive, and the majority of characters underdeveloped. One must be willing to suspend disbelief to enjoy this fairy tale, yet one of the key plot points (involving Joy's relationship with her sister) was impossible for this reader to buy into.

I'm not a big romance reader and as it turns out, Hannah is apparently a hit-or-miss author with me. I gave up on Between Sisters, endured Angel Falls, yet thoroughly enjoyed Summer Island and Distant Shores. One of the reasons I'm so attracted to her books is the Pacific Northwest settings. She always manages to make me want to put our house on the market and move to Washington or Oregon! So, next time I'm in the mood for a light, fluffy read, I'll probably give her another chance. Anyone interested in giving this one a try? Leave a comment indicating your interest and I'll draw the winning name on December 6th.


  1. Oh. I have this on my iPod. I think I'll skip it. Thank you, Les. :)

  2. That sounds wonderful, I know the last book I read from her so impressed me that I bought a few old ones which I haven't read yet, but I know that I loved the "Magic Hour", superb book! Thanks alot Les;)

  3. I have only read Firefly Lane from her, which I enjoyed, but she seemed like one of those fringe writers for me...more of a romance-type book than I normally read.

  4. Hmmm... as soon as I hear the phrase "heart-warming" I usually switch off. This book doesn't sound like my type of thing. Thanks for your honest review.

  5. I'm not a huge romance reader myself, but I usually enjoy anything with a Christmas theme. In fact, I just read one a week or so ago. So, please enter me in your drawing. Thanks

  6. Les, I'd be interested in reading this book. I've a few other titles by her on my TBR list too. So throw my name into the drawing please : )

  7. Joy - You might like it. You never know! I'd give it a try just to see.

    Lorraine - Do you want me to throw your name in the hat? Sounds like you might enjoy it.

    Jill - Yeah, she is a bit romancy. Do you want me to throw your name in the hat?

    Kimbofo - No, I don't think this is your sort of book at all! At least from what I've seen on your blog. Go ahead and skip it. Life's too short. :)

    Framed - You're in! You might just enjoy this one. Everyone has such diverse taste. Who knows!

    Mary - You're in, too. I'd love for someone to read and love it as much as Beachreader did. :)

  8. Gosh Yes, I love book so much that honestly at times, I buy the book just for the cover or the way the pages feel in my hand...yep...seriously ;)

  9. Your review made me curious to try this book, even though your overall reaction was: meh. See how helpful your blog is?

  10. Framed - I got your comment with your address. Tried to send you an email, but it bounced back twice. The book is en route as of Monday! Enjoy!


I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!