Comfort and Joy Trilogy, #1
Women’s Fiction / Later-In-Life Romance
Second-Chance Romance / Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Fish Tales
Page Count: 359 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2023
Scroll down for a giveaway!
Welcome to the hometown everyone wants to call their own.
Gloria Bachman, a retired bank executive, has eight weeks to flip a location on Comfort’s High Street into a boutique chocolate shop. Defying expectations for “women of a certain age,” Gloria rediscovers talents and a sharpening of skills. If only she could read people as well as she does a spreadsheet. Even with the renovation in good hands, the subsequent struggle to name the shop brings Gloria and her business partner into conflict with a shady citizen. While Gloria is capable of remaining in her retirement rut while opening a business, two competing social groups try to lure her into their networks, causing Gloria to wonder if she ever knew Comfort at all. A murder rocks the community and revives investigative instincts honed by years in the banking industry.
Mason Lassiter, a disgraced CEO, has his own dramas to escape and the offbeat town seems the perfect place to recover his self-esteem. What was to be a quick reversal of fortunes becomes a quest to right a deeply felt injustice. Fascinated by the women driving the energy of Comfort, he extends his stay to find out why the small town is the backdrop to their best tales. Tangling with his neighbor Gloria becomes his favorite pastime and the key to unlocking the mystery of his past—if he can convince her to trust him.
Chocolate and joy become the glue bringing an unlikely cast together, which just might change Gloria’s and Mason’s course for the better. With characters familiar from previous Comfort novels and introducing fresh names, Sweet Comfort will entertain those who like their stories seasoned with coziness and sweet, second chances.
My favorite small-town Texas series is back in the form of a spin-off trilogy. This first book Sweet Comfort lives up to its title with its familiar (from Comfort Stories) and newly-introduced characters welcoming readers with warmth, charm, romance, cozy mystery, and best of all, gourmet chocolates.
It always feels like a homecoming whenever I read a Comfort story by Kimberly Fish. She writes a smooth-flowing, slow-burning story featuring fully fleshed-out characters set in a place that makes me want to visit and revisit often.
This latest installment delighted me especially because Gloria Bachman is the main protagonist. I was intrigued with her in Comfort Foods and I’m happy she gets not just one but three stories that are focused on her life and relationships in the Comfort and Joy series. Now that I’m a Golden Girl myself, I love reading stories centered around people of the same generation proving we still have a lot to contribute to society despite our advancing years. Gloria, with her new venture into business ownership and her deepening involvement in the Comfort community, proves that and more.
It was entertaining to read her vacillate between openness and reluctance in dealing with her neighbors, business associates, and potential love interest in Mason Lassiter. I loved that Ms. Fish infused her with kindness, smarts, and savvy as well as lingering baggage from her past, a healthy suspicion about strangers, and occasional self-doubt that made her a well-developed person.
Truly, all the named characters in this story are multifaceted, from Drue to Wanda to Joynella and even the hapless Ted Bodine. The only character that needs more fleshing out is Mason. I guess we’ll know more about him in book two Finding Comfort, which I’m really looking forward to reading.
I enjoyed this story immensely. I do consider it more contemporary women’s fiction than a cozy mystery though. The murder mystery aspect lacks suspense, a sense of urgency to find out the identity of the killer, and a direct threat to Gloria’s well-being that would have created more tension.
A solid start to a new craveable series.
Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction novels and novellas, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of the novels have won distinguished awards. Sweet Comfort is her latest novel, the first book in the Comfort and Joy Trilogy.
You must be logged in to post a comment.