Comfort and Joy by Karin Kallmaker is a holiday novella that’s sure to make you smile. Having come home a week early from Afghanistan to surprise her mother, Milla first stops at the cemetery. Desperate for a shower and thinking about her mom’s apple pie, she’s approached by Tyna, a pretty woman only a little older than herself who pastors at the nearby church.
When they head to Tim Horton’s for a warm drink,* Milla learns that in addition to being kind and pretty, Tyna is also funny, personable and a lesbian, and most importantly, someone she wants to see again.
Tara: There’s a good reason why religious people, particularly clergy members, are portrayed as judgemental, humourless, and bigoted in lesfic. I was so pleasantly surprised to see that Tyna is not only the opposite of all of those things, she’s also sex positive. How refreshing.
Milla is loving and responsible, on the cusp of making a major decision about her future. I love that she’s such a good, level headed person despite only being in her early twenties.
Sheena: Kallmaker created two memorable characters even though this is a novella. And there is something to the way Kallmaker writes chemistry, it’s believable and adorable.
The Writing Style
Tara: It’s by Karin Kallmaker, so of course it’s well written. A lot is packed in here without ever being too much or too rushed. The dialogue, particularly in conversations between Milla and Tyna, works so well, capturing the first blush of attraction.
Sheena: There is a reason that Kallmaker is a go to for me when I want a great romance. Her stories are never the same, the characters are excellently layered and the attraction is palpable.
Sheena: Kallmaker herself narrated this one. I am not generally a fan of narrations by authors because writing and narrating are two seperate skills and very rarely do they combine well. In this instance, however, I am pleased to say that I adored the narration. There is a warmth to it that works perfectly for this story.
Tara: It’s a nice length if you’re looking for something to pass an afternoon. The characters and their interactions were by far my favourite part of the story.
Sheena: Totally agree with Tara. And because it’s a Christmasy it has that extra little bit of magic that comes with the season.
Tara: The price might seem a bit high given the length. I would recommend downloading a sample because you’ll know pretty quickly if this story is for you, and if it is, it’s well worth the cost.
Sheena: It’s short. I could have totally done a full length version of this story. Having said that, I am just being a brat. It’s actually the perfect length for the story it tells.
Tara: What a lovely story. I’ll be reading this one again next year.
*Yes, the Canadian reviewer got excited when she saw a Tim Horton’s reference. It happens.
Sheena: This is my choice for a quick, delightful listen when you want a story that makes you happy. Love, passion and perhaps even something a little deeper are explored in this one making is just that extra bit special.
Excerpt from Comfort and Joy by Karin Kallmaker
“Well, that could be—” Milla stopped herself just in time. “The politics must be hard.”
Tyna gave her a sideways look as she veered toward the door to the Tim Horton’s. “What were you going to say?”
“What?” Milla tried an innocent look. It didn’t work on base, but stateside maybe it would.
“You were going to say that a constantly vibrating phone could be fun? Or, uh, interesting?”
Milla was glad her already ruddy cheeks wouldn’t show the blush she felt rising. She doffed her cap and tucked it under her arm as she negotiated her heavy duffel through the double doorways. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“I’m ordained. I’m not dead.”
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