Book Review and Giveaway: Sweet Comfort (Comfort and Joy #1) by Kimberly Fish

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
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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.

Review Header

Oh, Kimberly Fish, you have done it again! You won me over with Anna and Jack in Comfort Zone, and now you have stolen my heart completely with Gloria and Mason in Sweet Comfort.

Gloria Bachman moved to Comfort, Texas, after retiring from her banking career. She lives fairly independently, and she likes it that way. Though she’s a woman of a certain age, she doesn’t limit herself to what’s expected, and she’s excited about her new business venture with her younger friend, Kali Hamilton. They’re opening a chocolate shop selling Kali’s handmade chocolates. Never mind that grumpy Ted Bodine insists they name the shop after him before he’ll agree to lease the shop’s new locale to them, Gloria can’t wait to get started.

Then Mason Lassiter, a wealthy CEO (who may or may not have killed his wife if you pay any attention to the press), shows up in Comfort. Gloria can’t quite figure what he’s doing there. She doesn’t reckon he’ll stay long, and she certainly doesn’t reckon she needs to do anything about this unexpected (and unwanted, she tells herself) attraction she feels for him. She doesn’t need a man in her life.

When Ted turns up dead in the front yard of one of the Bunco ladies, will the chocolate shop still open? What will happen to the lease? Gloria wants to help the woman who’s suspected, but she also wants to look out for her business interests. She uses her skills to start sorting things out.

I’m not sure what’s more intriguing – the mystery of who killed Ted and why, or the machinations Gloria goes through to avoid letting any kind of inkling of feelings for Mason develop. She is bound and determined that she will not let herself like him. She can resist him. She thinks she can resist friendship, too. She doesn’t want to get in with the Bunco ladies or the Knitters’ Club. She’s got trust issues, given her past. But Comfort is a little town with a big heart, and Gloria learns that she does have friends, even when she thought she’d been keeping herself closed off.

Kimberly Fish weaves a magical tale. She populates her town with characters mild and wild. The mystery is compelling, and seeing the romance blossom between Gloria and Mason is so much fun! Comfort is the kind of place I’d like to go visit. Maybe one of these days I will. (I hope there really is a chocolate shop there!)

I highly recommend Sweet Comfort for anyone who loves a good mystery, a slow-burn second-chance romance, strong female characters, and a delightful small-town setting. Five stars from me!

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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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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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5 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: Sweet Comfort (Comfort and Joy #1) by Kimberly Fish

  1. Gypsi says:

    I’ve never come across her novels before. I like it when an author brings in characters from other novels; it’s always such fun!

  2. What a glorious review! It sounds like I need to trek back into Comfort sooner than later, and I love the new direction with the cozy mystery angle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Nice review, and you really captured the essence of the book with this: “a slow-burn second-chance romance, strong female characters, and a delightful small-town setting.”

    That really sums up the best parts of the book for me.

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