Comfort and Joy

Kristin Hannah, 2005

Rating: 5 out of 6.

Joy Candellaro has always loved Christmas. Until this one. She is recently divorced and her sister, with whom she was always close, has further broken her heart. Without these two relationships, life seems to have no point. Impulsively, Joy buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the Northwest.

Things do not go as planned and the plane crashes in the forest, leaving Joy far from the other survivors. She realizes here is her chance to escape, even if just for the holidays. She picks herself up and walks through the trees. Eventually she checks herself in to a run down bed and breakfast.

There she meets Bobby, a young boy who recently lost his mother. The two form a strong bond of shared loss and hurting hearts. Bobby’s father has recently returned to the bed and breakfast to get it ready to sell. He was estranged from his wife, bobby’s mother, and now faces Christmas with a broken hearted son he barely knows. He wants the eight year old to stop believing in his imaginary friends. But he doesn’t know how to make them into a family again. A magical Christmas eve reveals the true meaning of what it means to be a family.

My copy of the book did not say A Fable under the title. It said A Novel, so I was expecting something more realistic. I consciously suspended my disbelief several times at the beginning before I got into the story. Walking away from a plane wreck and only needing a shower and night’s sleep to be back to normal? Later another plot twist gave me the feeling the author was playing tricks on me. But by the time I got to the end, realized the whole of the book, I liked it again.

The problem between the sisters was mended a little too easily for real life, but I think the author was trying to emphasize an over-arching principle, not a detailed solution. This book explores the themes of forgiveness, hope, and taking steps to work toward what you want in life, even if it seems ridiculous to others. It is a bit magical, a bit quantum theory-ish, a bit mysterious. It is also sweet and engaging and one you will think about after you close the covers the last time.

Are you needing a bit of comfort and joy this Christmas? Comment on the blog by clicking the button below!

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