Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Review - - The Comforts of Home

The Comforts of Home
By Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Berkeley
Release Date: November 1, 2011

In her third Harmony novel, Jodi Thomas pieces together the stories of characters encountered in the earlier novels and adds the stories of new characters like a master art quilter stitching together varying shapes and colors to create a picture of this Texas town and its people.

Funeral director Tyler Wright has high hopes that Major Kate Cummings, the army arson expert who has moved in and out of his life, is finally ready for their relationship to move beyond friendship. Twenty-year-old Regan Truman is forced to accept that her Uncle Jeremiah, the man who first saw value in her and gave her a home and a family, is dying. As if that weren’t heartbreak enough, her best friend (who could be more) Noah McAllen is still risking limb and life on the rodeo circuit and seems to have lost his dreams and his resilience along the way. Noah loves Regan, but his self-doubt is a barrier between them. “She was the mirror of all he could be, held up to show him how little he’d made of himself.” Meanwhile, former bad boy Brandon Biggs is a Harmony firefighter now and still has his eye on Regan.

Liz Matheson Leary is about to give birth to twins, and her husband Gabe is terrified, feeling totally unprepared for the “alien invasion.” The career of Liz’s sister Claire is flourishing. Her paintings of men barbecued over an open fire and hanged from the Empire State Building by a rope of ugly ties are selling for $20-30 thousand. Her affair with Gabe’s friend Denver Sims is flourishing too—in hotel rooms around the country, hidden away from family and friends in Harmony.

Ronelle Logan, a lonely twenty-seven-year-old so isolated that she feels as if “in all of her life she’s never met someone of her species” delivers a package to the home of newcomer Marin Winslow, a man almost as lonely as she. He makes her feel visible, the two connect, and Ronelle’s life is changed forever. Autumn Smith, pregnant and homeless, becomes one more wanderer who finds a home and friends in Harmony.

When a tornado hits the town, it twists more than trees and homes. Crises bring changes that leave some questions answered for and others to echo long after the storm has passed.

Although there are several love stories in The Comforts of Home, even one with a most atypical hero who earns an HEA, this novel is not romance. It’s not conventional women’s fiction either. It reminds me more of a good TV dramedy series with a cast of quirky characters with whom viewers fall in love and a place that feels as familiar as the small town they know best. I see Jason Alexander as Tyler Wright.

Thomas is a superb storyteller, whatever she writes, and her Harmony books are among her best work. If you’re a fan of small-town settings, heartwarming tales, and out-of-the-ordinary characters, you don’t want to miss this book. Book 4, Just Down the Road, is scheduled to be released April 3, 2012. I can’t wait. I’m hoping to learn more about Ronelle and Marty, and, of course, I want a happy ending for Regan and Noah. In the meantime, I plan to reread Welcome to Harmony, Somewhere Along the Way, and The Comforts of Home.


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  1. Hi Janga, great review again, thank you. You really got me interested in this series even though I have never read anything by this author. I espicially liked you comparing the books to "a good TV dramedy series," then even casting Jason Alexander as one of quirky characters. No one does quirky better than him.

    I think I must give Jodi Thomas
    a try.

  2. I love quirky characters & Jason Alexander. It all sounds great to me.

  3. Flora, be sure to drop by this Thursday. Jodi Thomas will be blogging with us and giving away three copies of The Comforts of Home!

  4. Marybelle, I'm with you on the quirky characters. They really bring a story to life for me. :)

  5. I'd love to meet the citizens of Harmony. I've enjoyed several of her Texas based historicals. I definitely want to read a contemporary now too.

  6. I love Jodi's books! when I first starting reading the review I was thinking it sounded like an awful lot of stories in one book but I can't wait to read it.Great review!

  7. I'm glad y'all liked the review. It really is a trrific series. I've read all the books and am invested in these characters. There is a large cast, but I think that's typical of small-town books. And Thomas makes me care about them all.

  8. I love "the cast of quirky characters" aspect, Janga. Sounds like fun.

  9. Another great review, Janga. Thanks!

  10. I do so love Jodi's books. She is one of my favorite authors. All of the books I have read of hers have been awesome.

  11. Wow, there's alot going on in this book! It looks good.

  12. The continuity of a series like this is what appeals. The place is as much a character as are the people. You enjoy going back to catch up with friends that are there and to meet new ones.

    Thanks for the review.