Christmas was once the best time of the year for Joy Candellaro. But as the holiday draws near this year, she can’t find it in her heart to celebrate. Recently divorced and betrayed by her sister, she feels totally alone. She decides to just disappear for a while, to a remote destination in the Pacific Northwest. But life has a way of changing one’s plans. Soon Joy will begin an adventure no one could have forseen – one that could change her life forever. 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.
Bubby: Sometimes I read a book that just hits me right in the heart and it becomes an instant favorite – one I go back to and re-read often and one that I recommend often. This is one of those books for me. I just love love love it. It’s a magical story and it ends good and it just makes me happy.
Sissy: I re-read this at Bubby’s behest because I couldn’t remember if I had read it or not. As you can tell by the word “reread,” turns out I had read it and liked it some time ago. The writing by Kristin Hannah is excellent, and this is underscored by the major plot twist that comes up mid-book of which I shall say nothing further. Lovely, lovely love story, emotional tale of sadness and joy. As the garage door repairman said today after telling me about how this week so far his truck has broken down, he broke his finger, and his tools all got stolen “without the bad things we wouldn’t appreciate the good things.”
Bubby: Yes, I could not agree more. Joy Candellaro is in desperate need of some comfort and joy in her life. She has to be – why else would she be desperate enough to hop on a chartered plane with a bunch of bearded hunters bound for the north of nowhere?
Sissy: What happens in her personal life is horrible, and I think I would be tempted to do the exact same thing. Actually, I probably would have reacted with more violence and mayhem and THEN hopped a plane to nowhere. I sincerely hope I would be as forgiving as Joy if I was in such a situation. I can’t imagine it, though. I can only picture bloodshed…
Bubby: Well, as much as I love and adore your dear husband, I really don’t think you have to worry about us running off together. Icky. I’m not worried about you stealing my husband either – if only for the fact that he’s 3 feet taller than you and 20 years younger. Bad match there! Yes, readers, Joy’s sister and Joy’s husband have hooked up and left Joy in the dust. And oh yeah – the sister is pregnant. And did I mention that Joy has no children and would love to be a mom? I agree that getting on a plane is the best of the options!
Sissy: Let’s clear some things up here. A. I am NOT 20 years older than Bubby’s husband, nor am I three feet shorter. B. I have spent the last 26 years training my husband to be just perfect and I’m certainly not going to start over on some interloper. And now that Bubby has told you the beginning of the story, you can see why I might become violent in that same situation. But the story just gets better from there. Joy goes on to a whole different adventure, delves into the paranormal, and comes out in one piece at the end.
Bubby: The best part of Comfort and Joy is the sweet relationship that develops between Joy and little Bobby, the boy she meets after the plane trip. They just bond instantly – it’s like they can instantly fill the holes in each other’s hearts. It makes me remember when my boy was little and sweet. Ah, those were the days! But there is a problem – Bobby’s father Daniel is not as fond of Joy as Bobby is.
Sissy: Bobby is adorable, but in his grief over losing his mother he suffers from some delusions. But are they really delusions, I ask you? And Daniel is described as a very fine looking Irishman (I’m thinking Gerard Butler in that role), who Joy finds herself very attracted to. I admit I was nervous about Bobby getting so attached to Joy so fast, because I didn’t want him to suffer again if and when she left. Now you are thinking you know how the rest of the story goes, but you are WRONG! Just when you think you have it figured out, Kristin Hannah pulls a fast one out of left field and you don’t know what hit you. Good stuff.
Bubby: Hey! I was going to say that!
Sissy: Great minds…-
Bubby: Exactly. I have read this book on the couch by the tree at Christmas, on the beach in Hawaii and of course, in my bathtub and it never fails to make me smile. Pure magic. 4.25 bubbles.
Sissy: I read it in my massage chair…I think this is a first class getaway read. 4 bubbles from the violent one.
Click HERE to buy Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
In this second Christmas novella by Mary Higgins Clark we revisit two of her favorite characters, Alvirah and Willy Meehan. Alvirah and Willy are volunteering at a local after-school shelter when they stumble into a seven-year old mystery involving an abandoned newborn and a stolen treasured artifact – a diamond set chalice. The two must use all of their deductive powers to solve the puzzle before the shelter is closed for good and the chalice is lost forever.
Bubby: In years past, Sissy and I had a tradition of giving the newest Mary Higgins Clark thriller as a Christmas gift to our mother each year. Imagine how thrilled we were when Ms. Clark wrote her first Christmas novella, Silent Night, in 1996. Mom was thrilled too. In later years, Mary Higgins Clark teamed up with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark to write the annual story. Although our mom is no longer with us, we still enjoy rereading these holiday mysteries every year. All Through the Night is one of my favorites because of the main characters, Alvirah and Willy. They are featured in several other books and I love them in every one. They are a former housecleaner and plumber who struck it rich in the lottery but still maintain their working class sensibilities and humor.
Sissy: I covet Alvirah’s secret agent diamond starburst pin. I don’t know if it’s actually in this book but I think it is and when I see the name Alvirah I always think of that sparkling pin. This is not in any way your usual dark and twisty Mary Higgins Clark mystery, but rather Clark’s nod to the cozy mystery genre. Willy and Alvirah are like your favorite wacky great-aunt and uncle, only unlike my great-aunts and uncles they have pots of money. Why, Bubby, do we have no relatives leaving us pots of money?
Bubby: Because, Sissy, all of our relatives had lots of children and died penniless. Maybe Willy and Alvirah could adopt us? If they were real, I’m sure they would! My favorite character in this novella is little 7 year old Stellina. She is just the sweetest thing ever. I like my holiday stories to be light and fluffy with lots of snow, lots of cheer and a happy ending. All Through the Night provides all of that and more.
Sissy: This story has your requisite holiday newborn babe, only this one is abandoned in a church, the holiday sparkle, in the form of a stolen, jewel-encrusted chalice, and a Christmas theme name, Stellina (you know, as in stellar, or star). Why go with Mary, Carol, Noel, or Holly, when you can make up a new name? I love Mary Higgins Clark, but I hate the name Stellina. It’s like a mob wife name. I would have come up with something better, like Starlighta, Jingloria, or Awreatha. Right–back to my original train of thought. We have the feel good aspect of a saved homeless shelter, and a nice little tale all wrapped up in the end with green paper, red bows, and glitter spray.
Bubby: Awreatha? Wow. I don’t know why you didn’t use that name for your first daughter! Oh, wait – she was born in January, not December. She’s lucky you didn’t go with “Frostiana.” Whatever your preference in names, dear reader, you will like this tasty little morsel of a Christmas tale. 4 bubbles from Bubby-Claus.
Sissy: Yes, a perfect read for your Hawaiian Christmas vacation. 3 1/2 bubbles and Mele Kalikimaka from Santa Sissy.
Click HERE to buy All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark on Amazon.com
Click HERE to buy All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark on BookDepository.com
©Bubble Bath Books 2012
Bubby: Sissy! Our first contest went so well that I think we should do another. What think you?
Sissy: What’s behind door #1? A trip to Tahiti? A golden necklace? Or . . .Godiva chocolates?
Bubby: Ooo! Let’s do Godiva chocolates! They are better than a trip or a necklace (and our budget won’t extend to a trip or necklace anyway.)
Sissy: Right! So here’s what one must do to enter to win a deluxe one pound box of Godiva Chocolates: “like” us on Facebook AND leave a comment on our blog site about your favorite author and why we should review a book by them.
Bubby: What if someone ALREADY “likes” us on Facebook? Can they still win?
Sissy: Yessirree! If you’ve already liked us on Facebook, simply do the comment bit and you are in! Make sure that we have some way to contact you just in quesadilla you are a winner. There will be two winners, p.s., and they will not have to share their chocolates–they will each get their own. But how long does this bit of chocolatey cheer last, Bubby?
Bubby: The contest will stay open through December 31st at midnight. Of course this is all contingent on the world not ending tomorrow – but I’ve never trusted the Mayan calendar so I think we are all ok. Winners will be announced on January 2nd because we will be too sleep-deprived to do it on the 1st. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year to all!
Sissy: I do like Mayan Truffles, however. Enter the contest! Win! Eat the best chocolates in the world! (Godiva never gave us nothing for saying they were the best, so don’t get your hankies in a knot!)
Bubby: Don’t forget that to win you need to “like” us AND leave a comment. Previous comments don’t count, no matter how much we like you. Good luck to all and to all a good night!
Sissy: Last word. (I just wanted to have the last word for a change.)