The Comforts of Home
Berkley/November 1, 2011
From the Back Cover ~
In Harmony, Texas, twenty-year-old Reagan Truman has found her place and found her family. But with her uncle taken ill and her friend Noah lost and disheartened with his life, Reagan is afraid of ending up alone again, and she's not the only one. Harmony seems to be full of people yearning to make a connection. Like funeral director Tyler Wright, who longs to take his relationship with his friend Kate to the next level, but doesn't know how. And Ronelle Logan, a woman frightened of everyday human interactions, until she meets an angry, lonely man - someone just like her.
When a terrible storm threatens the town, the residents of Harmony are forced to think about what they really want. Because making the connections they so desperately desire means putting their hearts at risk...
This book and the series itself are not what I would call a typical romance novel. They are more of a look at small town life which includes romances but the romances are not the focal point of the story lines. It's more about character growth, both within the romantic relationships and without. And those romantic relationships are not always typical either with some getting their HEA and others... not ready for their HEA just yet.
Coming back to Harmony, we find Tyler Wright, the owner of the town's mortuary, still in the odd relationship with Kate Cummings. They mainly communicate through emails with the occasional get together but remain more friends than romantically involved. Although it's obvious to anyone Tyler's feelings go beyond friendship. The guy's in love with Kate but she keeps holding back. Tyler is willing to take whatever he can get from Kate which I thought was sad. I also thought it wasn't right how Kate kept stringing Tyler along. Either take the next step or let him go. Their odd romance didn't do much for me aside from annoy me.
A couple of new characters certainly held my attention. Ronni has worked at the small, local post office for many years. She goes beyond shy, becoming afraid when she thinks someone might talk to her. Much of this attitude can be laid at Ronni's mother's feet - a horrible woman who has taught her daughter to fear life. One of my favorite parts of this book was seeing Ronni come out of her shell and build confidence in her decisions. The catalyst for this was gruff, former ski star Marty, who Ronni develops a friendship with. Their story line left me feeling satisfied with the results yet still wanting to know more.
Two of my favorite characters are back! Reagan is a character I've enjoyed from the first book. She's the reason I read the second book. The relationship between Reagan and Noah has had many rough spots and they are still going through a transition where neither seems certain what the outcome will be. I feel so sorry for Reagan and Noah but more for Reagan because she's giving up more. Noah gets to go for it while Reagan must wait even though he doesn't ask her to wait which I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's as if he's not holding to his dream but he's not letting her completely go.
There are reoccurring characters to catch up with as well as another romance that I've had no interest in since it began. A new secondary character, Autumn, that I liked. She's a survivor and adds color to this seemingly wholesome town. No doubt will see more of her in books to come. I find I'm finally comfortable in the all encompassing feel of this series. There is no one main focus but several getting more or less equal page time.
The farther I go in to this series, the more I like it. I've come to what you might say is an understanding with this series. My expectations are different than they are for my usual romance novel. The series as a whole has grown into itself and continues to get better. I do think it's best to start with the first book, even though it was my least favorite. It does introduce the reader to the town, the characters and the feelings Thomas' writing produce in this small town setting.
Harmony Series ~
Welcome to Harmony
Somewhere Along the Way
The Comforts of Home
Just Down the Road (April 2, 2012)