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Book club questions for Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah takes a closer look at Joy’s journey toward happiness in this festive-themed read. There will be spoilers so for more context about the story, check out my spoiler-free review first.
I so enjoyed Comfort & Joy! I thought it was so touching and I loved the twists. I personally could tell where the story was going but I wasn’t sure how it would end. Overall, very well done.
While I’m more of a fan of Kristin’s latest historical fiction work, I do like her contemporary stories as well.
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.
Book Club Questions for Comfort & Joy
- We first meet Joy at an absolute low point. Her sister, Stacey, had an affair with Joy’s husband Thom and now she’s pregnant and they’re getting married. Joy is all alone. Let’s talk about where Joy was emotionally at the beginning of the novel.
- Joy, on an impulse buy, books a flight to Hope, Canada hoping to fly far, far away from her problems. But on the journey, the flight crashes. While she survives, she walks away instead of staying behind with the crash site. Why did Joy leave?
- She eventually meets Bobby, who had just lost his mother. Why do you think Joy felt the need to help Bobby overcome his grief?
- What was your impression of Daniel?
- When did you start to suspect that all wasn’t what it seemed with Joy’s visit to Rain Valley and her relationship with Bobby and Daniel? Or were you surprised at the twist that Joy was in the hospital this entire time?
- Why was Bobby the only one who could see Joy?
- Joy is convinced that her visit to Rain Valley and her experiences with Bobby and Daniel were real. As Joy tries to prove it, did you believe she somehow went there or did you think it was something she imagined while being in the coma?
- What did this experience teach Joy about forgiveness when it comes to Stacey? Would you have accepted Stacey back in your life or would you have continued to stay angry at her?
- Joy sells her house and decides to find out if Rain Valley and Bobby and Daniel were real all along. What did you think about the ending where Joy finally finds them and is reunited?
- This book is positioned as a modern-day fairy tale—do you agree with that? What message do you think the book is trying to send?
- How does this book rank in terms of other holiday books you’ve read?
- If they turned this into a film or TV series, who should play the main roles?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for Comfort & Joy! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan
The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan is such a feel-good story! You also can’t beat the setting in the Scottish Highlands.
In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…
Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…
As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
A lighter take on sisters during the holiday is The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox. This one is a lot of fun.
When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.
With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?