About the book Sweet Comfort (Comfort & Joy #1)
- Genre: Women’s Fiction / Cozy Mystery / Later-In-Life Romance / Sweet Second-Chance Romance
- 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.
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About the author, Kimberly Fish
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.
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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Kimberly Fish and the wonderful town she’s created in Comfort, TX. Reading one of her books is like a visit to a beloved hometown, and I’m always eager for another installment in the goings-on there. With Sweet Comfort, the first in a spinoff trilogy, not only did I get to revisit one of my favorite fictional towns, but I also got to have the vicarious experience of opening a chocolate shop, and seeing a woman closer to my own age in a plausible romance – not that I dislike reading about twenty- and thirty-year-olds, but representation matters, and as a woman in the prime of middle age (even if I sometimes still get carded), I love it when authors tackle romance between more mature adults.
But author Fish did more than merely tackle the second-chance romance. With Gloria and Mason, she has given us two people who are perfectly imperfect, reflecting the real concerns we get into when we are older, stuck in our patterns, and both willing to change but afraid of what that change might entail. Gloria Bachman is my new hero, and I would be happy to sit down at a cafe with her and sip coffee or a glass of Prosecco. She’s got a good heart, but can be a little bit prickly. She’s strong in business, but less confident in her personal affairs, and, like many of us, often keeps herself on the fringes of the social whirl, rather than in the thick of it. I really related to her, and not just because my first career was also in finance. She’s so well drawn, that she could be any of a dozen women I actually know, or a composite of all of them.
I also liked the character of Mason Bachman, bruised by life, and trying to turn things around. It’s rare for male characters to be written so sympathetically even when they also have slight antagonistic tendencies, but with Lassiter everything just works. But then, I expect no less from this author, whose knack for creating dimensional characters is one of the things I’ve come to expect from her writing.
And then there’s Kali and the chocolate shop. First, I loved the dual process stories of creating chocolates and also renovating the storefront where they will be sold. My family has owned diners, small markets, and craft/souvenir stores, and the need to make changes while still maintaining the integrity of a specific building and the flavor of the town are things that resonated with me. Fish gave us enough detail that we could see everything happening but never made this book feel like a how-to guide.
As mentioned earlier, Sweet Comfort is the first in a new trilogy, but the text contained a peek at book two, which, I’m excited to say, features both Gloria and the town of Comfort.
Bottom line: This is a satisfying read that is especially satisfying for those readers of a certain age. The only thing that would improve it is if it came with samples of truffles.
Goes well with: chocolate bombe and espresso.
Two winners each receive a signed copy of Sweet Comfort plus a box of Sweet Shop USA candies!
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 3/31/23)
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