Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 18th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A heartwarming Christmas story about family, friendship and finding love in unexpected places.
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 isnÔÇÖt your average accountant. He also happens to be the handiest man in Crystal Falls. HeÔÇÖs helped his elderly neighbor, Ruby Johnson, decorate for the annual Christmas Home TourÔÇöand winÔÇöthe last several years. HeÔÇÖs 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 sheÔÇÖs referring Molly the bunny that is one of the menagerie of animals, JoyÔÇÖs 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?
Christmas Joy is a sweet and hopeful story about a young woman coming to terms with some hard truths and finding happiness that she’s long denied herself. This is the first book by Nancy Naigle that I’ve read and it’s done something quite remarkable by putting me into the Christmas spirit in the middle of October. Maybe it’s all the talk about cookies? Naw, it’s so much more than that. It’s a great story about fellowship and shows that charity comes in all forms.
Joy is a young woman focused on her career in marketing in Washington D.C. When she’s notified that her aunt Ruby has taken a fall and ends up in the hospital, she doesn’t hesitate to make the trek “home”. Through this one act, Naigle shows us what kind of person Joy is and makes her immediately likable. What we come to learn is that she’s attached a lot of grief and sadness to the holidays and the small town of Crystal Falls. What follows is Joy getting to know her aunt Ruby and just how much Ruby gives and gets from the community. While Joy won’t back down from a challenge and she may feel overwhelmed at times, everyone comes to her aid. Joy just has to learn a thing or two about accepting help. This is just such a foreign concept to her and it’s definitely a lesson she needs to learn.
On the lighter side, there’s a budding romance with all around local good guy Ben. Ben is a bit of an anomaly to me. He’s romantic and charming but sometimes he felt more aloof to me then Joy. I suppose it’s more that he’s guarded his heart and although he’s clearly attracted to Joy and could want a future with her he skeptical about taking any risks with her.
Christmas Joy tugged on every heart string and I couldn’t help but really love the way that Joy steps up in this situation. Molly, a seven year old girl that is in Ruby’s life and now Joys, well she completely melted me. I think her relationship with Joy is what pulled me in in deep and tipped this from 4 stars to a 5 star read. I just loved the friendship they formed and what it taught joy about what she may really want in life.
Ultimately Christmas Joy is great story about a community of people that take care of each other. It’s about Joys about finding something she knew was lost, but she spent years denying and let grief hold her back. I love that she discovers the missing pieces and takes chances she would have normally ignored. It’s not just a small the first book of Nancy Naigles’ that I’ve read but won’t be the last as her story telling and writing style is exquisite. 5 #LetTheButterflysTakeFlight Stars
~Review by Cyndi
The next morning, Joy stood at the kitchen sink, sipping a cup of coffee. The house was chilly. An old hooded sweatshirt jacket that had seen better days was draped on the back of one of the kitchen chairs. She slipped it on and pulled her braid free from the back. In so many ways, this place was exactly the same; it made her feel like a teenager again.
She stared out the window at the familiar property in the daylight. Ruby had always been an animal lover, but Uncle George would flip out if he knew that sheÔÇÖd adopted all these wayward animals.
She glanced at the worn edges of the oversized sweatshirt jacket. Had it been one of Uncle GeorgeÔÇÖs? Maybe the animals were RubyÔÇÖs way of filling the gap that Uncle George had once filled. CouldnÔÇÖt blame her for that. Had to get lonely out here by herself, but the place was beginning to look like a petting zoo. The smell was farm-y too. And at the moment, every single one of the motley crew was lined up side by side, like theyÔÇÖd rehearsed the formation all night long.
Seven oÔÇÖclock wasnÔÇÖt early. Joy would normally be up, dressed, and out the door by now, but last nightÔÇÖs farm duty had kicked her butt, and she had a little trouble getting a move on. Another twenty minutes of coffee time wasnÔÇÖt going to kill those animals.
She turned her back on them and held the warm mug between her hands.
Feeding the animals had sounded like a real cakewalk, but Joy was feeling it this morning. In fact, she was sorer this morning than the last time she got cocky and went for the ninety-minute hot yoga session with Renee.
The sound of the front door swinging open caused the hot coffee to catch in JoyÔÇÖs throat. The animals were definitely getting restless, but without thumbs, it wasnÔÇÖt likely to be one of them coming in to drag her outside. So whatÔÇöor whoÔÇöwas it? But this was Crystal Falls. And she hadnÔÇÖt heard a car.
Now, that was one sick rooster, or someone was messing with her. She relaxed a little, fairly certain that no one was ever murdered after a See ÔÇÖn Say sound check.
A fast clippity-clomp came charging down the hall, getting closer to the kitchen.
The only image JoyÔÇÖs mind could muster, besides that giant Foghorn Leghorn from the cartoons, was that pesky goat, Waddles, kicking and galloping down the hall. Now, that could be a mess.
Rushing toward the ruckus to limit the damage, Joy stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of a little girl standing in the hallway, looking like she wasnÔÇÖt sure whether to scream or scram.
Only about six feet separated Joy from the blond-haired child. ÔÇ£Who are you?ÔÇØ
The little girl clutched a black lunch bag in one hand against her blue jumper with a fancy M monogrammed on the front, and two chubby orange yarn hair ties hung from the other. The freckle- faced child looked so fragile standing there.
ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖs your name?ÔÇØ ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm . . . IÔÇÖm Molly.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre . . .ÔÇØ Like the rabbit? Joy noticed the hand-painted rabbit on the little girlÔÇÖs lunch bag that looked an awful lot like Molly the Bunny. This canÔÇÖt be happening.
Little girl MollyÔÇÖs mouth hung wide and her eyes darted like a wild animalÔÇÖs. Cornered and desperate. ÔÇ£Wh-whereÔÇÖs Ruby?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£SheÔÇÖs not here. SheÔÇÖs in the hospital with a hurt ankle.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£But I come here every day. Ruby makes my lunch and we go to the bus.ÔÇØ Tears welled in MollyÔÇÖs eyes.
┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á┬á Maybe the goat running down the hall would have been better than this. Oh no, please donÔÇÖt cry. ÔÇ£WhereÔÇÖs your momma?ÔÇØ
The little girl pointed toward the door, her hand shaking.
ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs okay. IÔÇÖll straighten it out.ÔÇØ Joy whipped around Molly and ran toward the front door just in time to see a blue compact car back out of the driveway. She waved her arms spastically as she took the porch steps two at a time. ÔÇ£Excuse me. Hello!ÔÇØ She raced out to the front yard, but the driver of the car seemed completely un- aware of her yelling and hailing. As Joy ran to the end of the driveway, the car became a dot in the distance, then disappeared.
Out of breath, and out of her element, she turned and walked slowly back to the house.
What am I supposed to do with a little girl? There are certainly no instructions in the barn about that.