Read by Sandra Burr
Synopsis: 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.
My Thoughts: During the winter season, I try to squeeze in at least one Christmas read. Christmas is the time for miracles and this book had it. Though there were a couple of things that did not settle well for me, I did find myself enjoying it. I even shed a small tear for the main character.
The story captured my attention and had me going through a roller coaster ride with my feelings. The idea of catching your sister having sex with your husband in your bed had my blood boiling, but had me hooked right into the story. The main character, Joy, had to find peace within herself and try to forgive what her sister had done to her. By trying to move on, Joy ran away which changed her life with a tragic twist. As the story was being told, I found myself growing furious, irritated, happy, hopeful, and worried. The story even had me remembering of my past that had me feeling nostalgic.
As much as I enjoyed listening to this story and how Joy grew to be a stronger person, I couldn't help disliking two things. First, the idea of how Joy quickly forgave her sister. Okay, I understand that we cannot hold grudges and that we must learn to forgive those who have wrong us, but I did not like how it was done here. The topic of how wrong adultery is was never discussed between the two sisters. It was more of how Joy's sister and ex-husband fell in love, got together, but Joy just happened to be in the middle of it. This had me steaming! The other thing I did not like was what happened at the end. I was hoping and praying that Joy didn't hallucinate her time away from her life. I even cheered when she was able to go back to the place and try to see if it were all true. But I did not like the kiss. It felt forced and unbelievable. I would have been content with Joy finding the truth and having clues the would help the reader predict what would happen to Joy. Did this make sense? Even though I was angered with the two previous things, I still found myself liking this book a great deal.
Next, the reader, Sandra Burr, was excellent. She read the story smoothly, emphasized the emotions, and knew how to role play the characters and situations. I loved listening to Burr as she told Joy's story. It was also very fun listening to her as she was on the phone or on television. Sandra Burr made listening to this audio a very enjoyable experience.
In all, this was not a perfect book but I liked it tremendously. I was captured by the story and by Joy. I rate it: