A dramatic turn of events on Christmas Eve forces Joy to make a painful choice. Can she summon enough faith to hold on to her newfound happiness This modern-day fairytale tells the story of a woman caught between two lives and finding a joyous resolution on Christmas Eve.
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. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah
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.