Author: Nancy Naigle
- December’s Theme is “Festive”
- This book has been on my TBR since February 2017 when I got it at a conference.
- Why I selected it: It’s Christmas
What I’m Talking About:
Joy is working hard to earn a promotion as the Director of Focus Groups when she gets a call that her only living relative, Aunt Ruby, has had a fall and is in the hospital. Joy returns to the town and home where she spent much of youth. She’s haunted by the memories of her mother’s death so close to Christmas, but is determined to help Ruby and mend the distance that’s grown between them.
Ben is Mr. Christmas, helping the town celebrate its many traditions, including helping Ruby prepare for the annual home tour. At first, Joy sees Ben as a nuisance and competition for Ruby’s attention, but once the pair agrees to work together, sparks begin to fly.
Christmas Joy is literally a Hallmark Christmas Movie, although it’s very romance-lite and chaste. It’s more Joy’s story of dealing with her past and healing her scars so that she can figure out what she really wants in her life. I enjoyed seeing Joy reconnect with her past and learn to love again. Her father’s abandonment and mother’s death scarred her, and she’s pushed those hard feelings down deep. She’s filled her life with a job she loves but is now realizing she’s not fulfilled and happy. It’s not an easy road; however, things progress smoothly as Joy comes to terms with her life.
I enjoyed the festive story even though it wasn’t romance heavy. I don’t feel like I ever got to know Ben, other than he was a bit judgmental at first. He’s handy and helpful, and falls in love with Joy. Joy was also a bit quick to judge, but since we got more of her POV, I saw how she grew and apologized for her snap judgments.
There were a couple scenes that felt slightly preachy to me. Themes such as “don’t be ashamed to celebrate Christmas” and “there is a lack of Christmas celebrations because of political correctness” detracted from the kind-hearted, feel-good moments.
Overall, Christmas Joy is an enjoyable, feel-good seasonal story.
My Rating: B
About the Book:
Joy Holbrook might be all work and no play, but that changes when her Aunt Ruby takes a fall that lands her in a rehabilitation center before the holidays. Joy takes a leave of absence from her job as a market researcher to run the family farm, even though the timing may hinder her chance at garnering the promotion of her dreams.
Ben Andrews isn’t your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. He’s helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home Tour—and win—the last several years. He’s not about to let some drop-in niece break their winning streak.
Ruby seems overly concerned about Joy being able to handle Molly. Under the impression she’s referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, Joy’s not worried at all until the next morning when a little girl named Molly shows up. For the sake of her aunt, Joy is forced to partner with Ben while Ruby is on the mend to help with preparation for the Christmas tour and, in the process finds her career-focused heart dreaming of a family.
Will the magic of Christmas help her to open her heart and find her everlasting joy?
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, holiday
Format(s): paperback (352 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: received at a conference
Amazon (affiliate link)