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.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on November 1, 2011