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Comfort & Joy
Cover of Comfort & Joy
Comfort & Joy
A Novel

New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah is beloved by readers around the world for her unique blend of powerful emotion and exquisite storytelling. In Comfort & Joy, she offers a modern-day fairy tale—the story of a woman who gets a miraculous chance at happiness.
Joy Candellaro once loved Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she is at a crossroads in her life; recently divorced and alone, she can't summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. When an unexpected detour takes her deep into the woods of the Olympic rainforest, Joy makes a bold decision to leave her ordinary life behind—to just walk away—and thus begins an adventure unlike any she could have imagined.
In the small town of Rain Valley, six-year-old Bobby O'Shea is facing his first Christmas without a mother. Unable to handle the loss, Bobby has closed himself off from the world, talking only to his invisible best friend. His father Daniel is beside himself, desperate to help his son cope. Yet when the little boy meets Joy, these two unlikely souls form a deep and powerful bond. In helping Bobby and Daniel heal, Joy finds herself again.
But not everything is as it seems in quiet Rain Valley, and in an instant, Joy's world is ripped apart, and her heart is broken. On a magical Christmas Eve, a night of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, Joy must find the courage to believe in a love—and a family—that can't possibly exist, and go in search of what she wants . . . and the new life only she can find.


From the Hardcover edition.

New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah is beloved by readers around the world for her unique blend of powerful emotion and exquisite storytelling. In Comfort & Joy, she offers a modern-day fairy tale—the story of a woman who gets a miraculous chance at happiness.
Joy Candellaro once loved Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she is at a crossroads in her life; recently divorced and alone, she can't summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the beautiful Pacific Northwest. When an unexpected detour takes her deep into the woods of the Olympic rainforest, Joy makes a bold decision to leave her ordinary life behind—to just walk away—and thus begins an adventure unlike any she could have imagined.
In the small town of Rain Valley, six-year-old Bobby O'Shea is facing his first Christmas without a mother. Unable to handle the loss, Bobby has closed himself off from the world, talking only to his invisible best friend. His father Daniel is beside himself, desperate to help his son cope. Yet when the little boy meets Joy, these two unlikely souls form a deep and powerful bond. In helping Bobby and Daniel heal, Joy finds herself again.
But not everything is as it seems in quiet Rain Valley, and in an instant, Joy's world is ripped apart, and her heart is broken. On a magical Christmas Eve, a night of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, Joy must find the courage to believe in a love—and a family—that can't possibly exist, and go in search of what she wants . . . and the new life only she can find.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Christmas parties are the star on the top of my "don't" list this year. Other things to avoid this season: Ornaments. Trees. Mistletoe (definitely). Holiday movies about families. And memories. Memories most of all. Last year, I celebrated Christmas morning in my own living room, with the two people I loved most in the world. My husband, Thomas, and my sister, Stacey.

    A lot can change in twelve months.

    Now, I am in my kitchen, carefully packing frosted Santa cookies into Tupperware containers, layering wax paper between each row. On a strip of masking tape, I write my name in bold black letters: Joy Candellaro. When I'm done, I dress for work in a pair of black jeans and a bright green sweater set. At the last moment, I add little wreath earrings. Perhaps if I look festive, people will stop asking me how I am doing. Balancing the pale pink containers in my arms, I lock up my house and make my way to the garage. As I round the hood of the car, I sidle past the row of file cabinets that line the back wall. My dreams are in those metal drawers, organized with the kind of care only a librarian can manage.

    I have saved every scrap I've ever read about exotic locales and faraway places. When I read the words and see the pictures, I dream of having an adventure.

    Of course, I've been dreaming of that for ten years now, and since I've been single again for almost three months, and separated from Thom for eight months before that, it's safe to say I'm a dreamer not a doer. In fact, I haven't added to my files or opened one of the cabinets since my divorce.

    I ease past them now and get into my sensible maroon Volvo. Behind me, the garage door opens, and I back down the driveway.

    It is still early in the morning on this last Friday before Christmas. The street lamps are on; light falls from them in cones of shimmering yellow through the predawn shadows. As my car rolls to a stop at the bottom of the driveway, the headlights illuminate my house. It looks . . . faded in this unnatural light, untended. The roses I love so much are leggy and bare. The planters are full of dead geraniums.

    A memory flashes through me like summer thunder: there and gone.

    I come home from work early . . . see my husband's car is in the driveway. The roses are in full, riotous bloom.

    I remember thinking I should cut some for an arrangement.

    In the house, I toss my coat on the maple bench and go upstairs, calling out his name.

    I am halfway up the stairs when I recognize the sounds.

    In my mind and my memories, I kicked the door open. That's what I told people later. The truth was, I barely had the strength to push it open.

    There they are, naked and sweating and rolling, in my bed.

    Like an idiot, I stand there, staring at them. I thought he'd feel my presence as keenly as I'd always felt his, that he'd look up, see me and--oh, I don't know, have a heart attack or burst into tears and beg for my forgiveness or beg for forgiveness while having a heart attack.

    Then I see her face, and a bad moment rounds the bend into horrific. It is my sister.

    Now there's a "For Sale" sign in front of my house. It's been there for months, but who am I kidding? A wrecked marriage scares everyone. It's like a rock tossed into a still blue pond; the ripples go on and on. No one wants to buy this house of bad luck.

    I hit the gas too hard and back out into the street, putting the memories in my rearview mirror.

    If only they would stay there. Instead, they're...

About the Author-
  • Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed novels, including Winter Garden, Firefly Lane, and Night Road. She and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.



Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 31, 2005
    It's the last day before Christmas vacation, and Joy Faith Candellaro, a Bakersfield, Calif., high school librarian, is still fretting over finding her husband, Thom, in bed with her sister, Stacey. Although divorced nearly three months - and urged by everyone to move on with her life - Joy just isn't joyful. She's trying, though: she buys a Christmas tree and plans to get herself something spectacular to put under it. Too bad that Stacey's waiting in her driveway with a wedding invitation and the news that she's pregnant with Thom's child. Enraged and betrayed, Joy drives off - and ends up at the airport, holding a ticket to Hope, Canada. What will she do when she gets there? Who cares? All she knows is that life has to be better elsewhere. What happens next is Hannah's version of a Christmas ghost story, as Joy encounters a father and son whose own misery gives her a new perspective. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love ) fans will enjoy this fare, but from the subtle-as-a-50-pound-fruitcake irony of Joy Faith's name to a plot twist that necessitates hanging disbelief on the mantel alongside the Christmas stockings, it may be a bit too much for the more skeptical to swallow.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2005
    Things aren't going well this holiday season for librarian Joy Candellaro. It was bad enough that her husband cheated on her with her own sister, but discovering that the couple is expecting a baby and receiving an invitation to their wedding sends her over the top. She flees to the airport and on a whim catches a charter plane to the Pacific Northwest. When the plane makes a crash landing, Joy survives but is left stranded at an old fishing lodge, where she meets the proprietor, a handsome widower, and his young son. She finds herself unexpectedly falling in love with both the precocious boy and his gruff father. Come Christmas Eve, Joy must decide if she can stand up to her real life or get lost in a dream world. This tale of magic, love, and fantasy will appeal to Hannah's many fans, but a clunky paranormal aspect may leave others scratching their heads. [See Prepub Alert, "LJ" 7/05.]

    Copyright 2005 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Hartford Courant

    "Happy, hopeful and très romantique."

  • The Columbus Dispatch "[Kristin Hannah's] best book yet."
  • Rendezvous "Hannah will touch the deepest corner of your heart."
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer "An engaging holiday tale."
  • Romantic Times "A heartwarming holiday tale [that] resonates with poignancy and deep emotion."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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