All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Inn At Rose Harbour – Debbie Macomber

on August 14, 2012

The Inn At Rose Harbour
Debbie Macomber
Random House
2012, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Jo Marie Rose is looking for a fresh start. She has lost her husband of less than a year – instead of celebrating, she is mourning him. She has always liked having guests so she uses this as a focus for her new life – buying an inn in Cedar Cove, Washington and renaming it the Rose Harbour Inn. Almost immediately she acquires two guests and sets about her learning curve of running a bed and breakfast.

Josh didn’t want to come back to Cedar Cove – it was a source of misery for him in his teen years and he has only been back once since. After his mother died just before graduation, his stepfather kicked him out. Only by the grace of friends could Josh graduate. He joined the armed forces immediately after, returning to Cedar Cove only for the funeral of his stepbrother Dylan. He knows that his stepfather resents him, most notably for the fact that Josh is still alive while his own beloved son is dead. Now his stepfather is dying himself and Josh has been urged to come and see him before he goes, to attempt to make his peace and deal with what will need to be done after. Josh knows that it isn’t going to be easy – they’re both stubborn and there’s years and years of bad blood there to try and get past. But there’s someone who might just be able to show him the way.

Abby hasn’t returned to Cedar Cove for a number of years either and she’s only here because her brother has chosen to get married here and she absolutely has to be there. Over a decade ago, Abby suffered a loss and found herself blamed by people, none more so than herself. She’s run as far and as fast as she can from Cedar Cove and the painful memories that haunt her. For all that time her life has been on hold, mostly through her feelings of guilt. She’s ashamed and she intends to be in town for as little time as possible, hoping that she doesn’t run into anyone she knows. But funnily enough, life isn’t like that…

The Inn At Rose Harbour (I’m sorry, I have to use the British spelling, using American spelling drives me nuts) is the first in a new series for Macomber, acclaimed author of the Blossom Street series, the Heart of Texas series and also the Cedar Cove books. This new series is obviously a spin off from the Cedar Cove books, set in the same town and featuring some of the characters from the Cedar Cove books, although in much smaller roles. I’m an avid fan of the Blossom Street books and I’ve read a couple of the Cedar Cove books but wasn’t as taken with those ones. However I decided to give this series a chance and see how I found it because on the whole, I do enjoy Macomber’s writing.

We are introduced to Jo Marie Rose at first, who is making a sort of seachange. She’s giving up her job in banking and buying a bed and breakfast inn in Cedar Cove, in Washington. She’s mourning the loss of her husband, killed in action in Afghanistan and she thinks that her new life will help her move on. She throws herself into running the inn, she has only the two guests at present but she can tell that they are both in Cedar Cove reluctantly and have their own issues.

When I first picked up this to read, I thought it would be a story about Jo Marie finding her new life and maybe a new love and it is that partially – we see her adjusting to moving into the inn, getting to know a few people in the town (those people avid fans of the Cedar Cove books will recognise) but the characters of her guests, Josh and Abby are just as big a part of the book as Jo Marie herself. The narrative is split in three, alternating between Jo Marie as she sets up the inn and Josh and Abby as they reflect on why they’ve had to return to Cedar Cove, the events that led them to leave years ago and taking steps forward to heal themselves and let go of past hurts and bitterness. I feel that Jo Marie will be an anchoring character in the following books, as a way of introducing readers to the new characters in each book and continuing on her journey of healing and potentially finding her own happiness again at some stage.

I enjoyed both Josh and Abby’s stories and sympathised with both of them as characters, Abby in particular. What she went through as a teen would be utterly devastating, something that you’d never get over. She needed to be given a bit of a kick in the pants to try and get back to living her life instead of just letting it pass her by and I think that the way in which everything happened was rather idyllic but suited the overall feel that Macomber goes for within her books. The only problem I did have was in Josh’s story – he is contacted by his stepfather’s neighbour Michelle, who was overweight in high school, but is now slim and gorgeous. I felt too much attention was paid to her weight and that even though Josh was pleasant to her in high school, he was never interested in her whatsoever, but now that she’s slimmed down, he couldn’t stop drooling over her.

Overall I think this is a nice, promising start to a series in Macomber’s tradition and I’ll be happy to continue reading and following Jo Marie on her journey and the characters she meets along the way.


Book #153 of 2012


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