REVIEW: Comfort and Joy by Karin Kallmaker
“Home from Afghanistan to surprise her mother, Milla doesn’t expect more than the best apple pie in the world and the bliss of unrationed hot showers. She’s not counting on futures – or meeting a woman like Tyna.”
Dear Ms. Kallmaker,
Our readers at Dear Author have bemoaned the fact that we haven’t reviewed a great deal of LBT fiction to go along with our G reviews and so I’m going to try and remedy that this year. Maybe during our next DABWAHA tournament we’ll have some entries other than m/m. Since I’m still easing my way into the genre, I ruminated over offerings at a few LGBT presses and decided to try the holiday story “Comfort and Joy” for a few shallow reasons. One it’s a novella which gives me a chance to try out your writing without spending too much and two the cover is lovely. Yes, I’m shallow that way.
The subject matter caught my eye – promising a heroine who truly seems to be a military woman. Milla is no nonsense, working class enlisted. She seems like the type of person you can depend on and a person who appreciates the simple pleasures of being home. Tyna is in many ways very similar to Milla. She also has job that requires her to answer to the needs of others and work long hours without complaining. Their initial discussions about religion and the military quickly show both women they can spend time enjoyably talking and that both would be happy to spend hours doing just that. But the spark of sexual interest is clearly there and only requires the opportunity and time for Milla and Tyna to act on their desire and need for the other. I liked that neither woman appears to simply be scratching an itch or merely taking advantage of the chance for intimacy. Care is plainly there and the desire to give instead of just taking pleasure.
Since it’s a short novella that takes place over a brief period of time, the “HFN with a possibility of more later” works for me. I can see these two fleshing out a deeper relationship since they’ve already laid the groundwork of compatibility, interest and sexual generosity. I enjoyed the spare writing style that clearly showed me who these women are inside, conveyed the their motivations, their backgrounds and the setting in the length of the story without feeling I was missing out on anything. The growing attraction and feelings the women experience are delicately delineated with a fine touch that makes me look forward to trying more of your work. B