All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Rose Harbor In Bloom – Debbie Macomber

on April 14, 2014

Rose Harbor In BloomRose Harbour In Bloom (Rose Harbor #2)
Debbie Macomber
Random House AUS
2013, 384p
Read from my TBR pile

After losing her husband in Afghanistan, Jo Marie sold up everything and moved to Cedar Cove in Washington and bought an inn. She decided that she needed a change and so far, everything is working out well. She’s enjoying the day to day running of the inn and meeting people and getting to know them. She bakes cookies, muffins and other treats and invites them for cups of tea and a chat. She’s slowly becoming a part of the Cedar Cove community – she’s made some friends and has adopted a dog.

To honour her late husband, Jo Marie has commissioned local handyman Mark Taylor to help construct a beautiful rose garden. Jo Marie was hoping it would be ready for her open house but Mark always works to his own schedule and based on what is a priority for him. Mark and Jo Marie have had their moments but she’s come to consider him as a friend, even with all his quirks and brusque mannerisms and she hopes that he feels the same way about her. However when Mark injures himself, even Jo Marie is surprised by his aggressive reluctance to allow her to help him.

Annie has come to the Rose Harbour inn to organise her grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary. All her life she had loved and admired them and the strength in their marriage which has lasted so long. Shattered from her own broken engagement, Annie desperately needs that faith in love at the moment, only to be surprised by both her grandparents inability to get along and the fact that they’ve brought their old neighbour with them, someone Annie doesn’t want to be around. However, this surprise party has a lot in store for more than just Annie’s grandparents.

Mary is staying at the inn for some closure in a way. She’s had a very successful career but it’s come at a cost to her personal life. Now diagnosed with a serious illness, she has returned to Cedar Cove to take a step back into the past and maybe try and make some amends for the decisions she made.

When Jo Marie gets some disturbing news, it brings all her grief and hope back to the surface but she can’t let it distract her from the life she is making at the inn. She has guests and maybe they’ll both find what they’ve been looking for during their stay.

This is the second book in the Rose Harbour series (as always, I have to use our spelling) and although I enjoyed the first one, I have to say that this one lacked a lot for me. Firstly, I’m going to start with Jo Marie and Mark, her mysterious handyman. We were introduced to him in the previous book and he was prickly then, along with a slight undercurrent of mysteriousness for the reader to make assumptions on why he might be so. In this novel he takes a step past prickly and lands himself in ‘rude’. Jo Marie hired him to do a job and he sort of meanders around at his own pace because he doesn’t feel it’s a “priority” right now. If someone is paying you to do it, it’s a priority. Especially when they want it ready for their big open day, a day where Jo Marie has invited many people from the local community to come and have a look at what she’s done with the inn. A half dug-out garden isn’t really an attractive look. Mark also injures himself in this novel and when Jo Marie tries to help him several times, he is so nasty to her that I don’t know why she didn’t just turn around and walk out and leave him there. He’s gone past mysterious and broody and into jerk territory and Jo Marie sticking around and pandering to him just ended up making me annoyed with her. I suspect this is the ‘romance’ Jo Marie is going to find several books down the track but at the moment it’s really unappealing.

The rest of the book was okay, although some of it felt a little (okay, a lot) heavy handed. Annie has just ended her engagement and her ex keeps calling her, refusing to believe it’s actually over because he’s an idiot and it made me wonder why Annie got involved with him in the first place, he was written so ridiculously. I did like her grandparents though, even with all their bickering. They kind of reminded me of my grandparents, who were married for sixty years. I loved how much Annie looked up to them and how much effort she went to in order to celebrate her marriage, although she did get a bit carried away, not involving them so much in the celebration.

Mary’s story was also quite predictable and relied on a lot of coincidence and luck but I enjoyed reading it and especially liked the ending. Given that several characters from the first book are mentioned in this book, I hope that in later books, there’s a bit of an update on Mary and her condition.

I’ve read a lot of Debbie Macomber books – really enjoy most of the Blossom Street books but others have been hit and miss and unfortunately, this one is a bit of a miss. There’s a lot of time devoted to Jo Marie and Mark but nothing actually happens except him being short tempered and snappy and Jo Marie constantly apologising to him when she really hasn’t done anything wrong. If Macomber plans to move this into a relationship, then things need to begin being revealed about Mark and they need to at least develop some form of attraction to each other and chemistry because at the moment, there’s nothing there. And if Mark isn’t Jo Marie’s planned HEA, then I’m not sure why he’s even there.

4/10

Book #86 of 2014

 

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