Jo Marie Rose lost her husband to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan and his body was never recovered. The army arranges for the insurance to be paid out anyway, and Jo Marie uses the money to buy a small inn in Cedar Cove, Washington, which names the Rose Harbor Inn. She feels it will be a place of healing, for herself and her guests, and she is right.
This story centers around a few of the guests plus Jo Marie’s relationship with her handyman Mark, a querulous man who nonetheless becomes her friend. A few of the guests are in town for Kent & Julie’s 50th anniversary celebration. Their granddaughter, a party planner named Annie, has arranged a big party for all their family and friends.
Annie is outraged when her grandparents arrive with Oliver, their next door neighbor who is good friends with Annie’s brother. Oliver was Annie’s first kiss, and their relationship became one of relentless teasing by Oliver and her brother. Annie hasn’t gotten over her humiliation but eventually Oliver worms his way back into her heart, where he’s always wanted to be.
Another guest at the inn is Mary, who is obviously suffering from cancer. She tracks down ‘the one who got away,’ her only true love, George, who she hasn’t seen for almost 20 years. Theirs is a tumultuous reunion, with lots of secrets slowly unveiled.
This is a warm, sweet story that Macomber fans will love. I haven’t read any of the Cedar Cove books, but I watch the series (that is based on the books) on the Hallmark Channel – I love Andie Macdowell and the series is pure escapism. Macomber has written several series and this is the second book in the Rose Harbor series, which is set in Cedar Cove so has some crossover. All of her books have similar themes of friendship, redemption and love.
I listened to the audio book, and the reader is terrific, adding another layer to the story. It is also available in paperback and ebook formats.
10/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM by Debbie Macomber. Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (August 13, 2013). ISBN 978-0307939289. 9 hours.