Comfort & Joy

Kristin Hannah, Author . Ballantine $15.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-48367-6

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.)

Reviewed on: 09/26/2005
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
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