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Comfort and Joy (Zebra Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 6 Dec 2001

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra Books (6 Dec. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821772171
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821772171
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,724,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


After his memory returns, Charles Rycroft an art collector from one of Boston's oldest and wealthiest families, is stunned to discover that he is now married to Maeve O'Malley, who saved his life but is of Boston's serving class, and is determined to end their marriage, but when they both are unexpectedly plunged into a world of stolen art and intr

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8d285ad4) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d29dfb4) out of 5 stars Sweet tale; wonderful heroine and hero 3 Sept. 2004
By E. Lynch - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoy Christmas themed novels. "Comfort and Joy" contained so many good elements that the Christmas theme was a minor backdrop. Charles Rycroft, wealthy publisher, wakes up next to a beautiful stranger. In the chaos that ensues, he finds out that he was robbed and left for dead and the beautiful stranger (Maeve O'Malley) found him, was compromised by him, and is now his wife. Recovery from amnesia has driven that week's memories from him.

This Boston blue-blood takes his new wife back to his home on Beacon Hill. Maeve is totally unsuitable to be his wife - Irish, low-born, a servant no less - he decides the marriage will be annulled. But complications arise. Maeve does not want the marriage annulled and Charles' mother has arrived with a marriage minded young widow in tow for the holidays. Can anything more disrupt his routine? Charles sets out to show Maeve they are unsuited for each other and also tries to avoid the man-eater widow Stella.

Maeve is such a wonderful heroine. True to her nature, she tries to fit in Boston society but not at the expense of losing her heritage. Charles is captivated by her vitality and begins to break from his routine, practically inviting laughter and love into his life by assisting in Maeve's orphan charity and learning how to "play" and act spontaneous. They both draw strength from each other.

The secondary characters are well fleshed out and each adds interesting elements to the storyline. I enjoyed meeting friends and family and expect there may be other books based on these characters. Another theme behind the book was the recovery of a "St. Nick" drawing stolen during the robbery which has sentimental value to Charles. Maeve attempts to find the drawing and finds herself in some danger. Will they work out their differences in the end and can Charles accept Maeve into his heart?

It was a little unbelievable that Maeve would be able to act the grand lady so fast - she was a little too perfect. Also, Charles seemed to give up his hard core - "I will do everything proper" persona very quickly too. There were some emotional elements to the storyline that did not pan out or touch me like they should. But I will highly recommend this for some pleasant reading with little strife and a Christmas theme.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d2a16c0) out of 5 stars Average historical romance 22 Nov. 2006
By Gemma - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the back cover:

The best gifts are given from the heart...

When spirited Maeve O'Malley stumbles upon an unconscious man one snowy night in December, she doesn't think twice before coming to his rescue. But her good intentions are no match for her brother's sense of propriety, and before long Maeve is married to the nameless--and irresistibly attractive--stranger. It doesn't matter who he is, because she is certain that he's a gift from she means to keep.

When his memory returns, Charles Rycroft, an art collector from one of Boston's oldest and wealthiest families, is astounded to learn that he's a married man--and that his lovely Irish wife is one of Boston's serving class. Intending only to give Maeve a bit of polish before ending their hasty union, Charles' primary concern is finding the valuable sketch of St. Nicholas that was stolen when he was assulted. Yet Maeve's presence in his home is a dazzling ray of light, and as Christmas nears, he suspects her love may be his greatest joy.

And my review:

I love Christmas-themed novels, so I decided to give COMFORT AND JOY a try, even though I'd never read this author's work before. And while it was enjoyable, it was nothing outstanding.

Things that worked for me: the author had well-rounded characters. Charles starts out as a stuffed shirt (though he quickly changes) and Maeve is a free-spirited Irish woman. But they developed beyond these basic character sketches into real people. I'm always a little wary when I read the words "spirited heroine", because usually it's code for "shrewish witch". But that wasn't the case here, thankfully. The Christmas theme was also well done, and woven throughout the story. It didn't feel like something just tacked on at the end to increase sales. Also, the author jumped right into her story, so that there wasn't a ton of introduction to slog through before the story got started, yet I never felt lost, either. That's a difficult balance for an author to strike, so I applaud Madden for a job well done.

Things that didn't work for me: the whole seance thing (Charles' mother wants to contact his late father) just creeped me out. Blame it on my Catholic upbringing if you will, but I think seances are gateways to evil, so they don't entertain me, they just creep me out. Not really what you want from a romance novel. Also, as another reviewer has stated, the characters were pretty quick to change. Sometimes the changes felt a little too quick. I kind of didn't like how Maeve was ready to basically hide who she was just to be accepted by society. Yes, I understand why she would, but it still made me sad. And Charles accepted his serving-class wife just a little too quickly, considering who unthinkable such things were in those times.

Not horrible, but not a "top shelf" book, either. I would recommend that you borrow this one from the library or a friend rather than buying it.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d2a1df8) out of 5 stars A Classic Tale. 23 Oct. 2006
By Pamela Ackerson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Comfort and Joy

by Sandra Madden

Reviewer: Pamela Ackerson, author of Home of the Braves trilogy

So what happens when you find a gorgeous man ... unconscious, with amnesia, in an alley on the seedy side of town? Why you marry him, of course, which is exactly what Maeve O'Malley did. When Charles Rycroft's memory returns he, being a rich aristocrat from Boston society, finds himself appalled that he has married an Irish maid ... literally, a maid from one of societies households. Filled with passion and adventure, Ms. Madden has written a classic tale. Your fingers will fly through the pages.
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