Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah
Joy's life is in pieces. Her husband has left her for her sister, and as Christmas break starts, Joy's sister shows up at her house with a wedding invitation and an announcement that she's pregnant. Joy had longed for a baby for many years with her husband, but it had never happened. Reeling from the announcements, she takes her broken heart to the airport where she buys a ticket to the first place she can. It happens to be a small charter plane headed for Hope, British Columbia. However, the plane crashes, and Joy stumbles away from the crash. She wanders through the Pacific Northwest until she comes to a decrepit lodge where a boy and his father take her in. After nearly two weeks with them, she knows that it's time for her to go home, but she hopes to return to them very soon as they have both wormed their way into her heart.
Then Joy wakes up in a hospital bed and is told that she's been in a coma for the last two weeks, since her plane crashed shortly after take off in California's central valley. She can't believe it. She's certain that the lodge, the boy, and the man were real, but then she begins to doubt herself. Maybe it was just her subconscious trying to help her work through some things, but then she comes across something that convinces her that they must have been real, and she begins searching for them.
If The Life of Pi was a romance set in the Pacific Northwest at Christmastime, it would have been called Comfort and Joy. Full of beautiful descriptions of the environment, reflection, and self-realization through the help of a subconscious construct, this book is beautiful, rich, and aggravating. However, unlike The Life of Pi, this book continues past the point of the subconscious becoming conscious, and triumphs because of it. Hannah deftly weaves the real with the fantastic, and brings home a happy ending to warm the reader's heart. Although set at Christmastime, this really would be a great read any time of the year.