Author: Debbie Macomber
Series: Rose Harbor, #2
Narrator: Lorelei King
Published: August 2013, Random House Audio / Ballantine Books
Length: 9 hours 6 minutes / ARC E-copy, 336 pages
Source: Library / Netgalley
Hailed as “the reigning queen of women’s fiction” (The Sacramento Bee), Debbie Macomber is renowned for her novels of love, friendship, and the promise of fresh starts. Now Macomber returns to the charming Rose Harbor Inn, where each guest finds a second chance and every room comes with an inspiring new view.
Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it’s springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don’t always see eye-to-eye—and at times he seems far removed—yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing journeys.
Annie Newton arrives in town to orchestrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. While Annie is excited for the festivities, she’s struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. Worse, Annie is forced to see Oliver Sutton, with whom she grew up and who has always mercilessly teased her. But the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.
High-powered businesswoman Mary Smith, another Rose Harbor Inn guest, has achieved incredible success in her field, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole, lingering regret. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George Hudson, and now she’s returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.
Compassion and joy await Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary as they make peace with their pasts and look boldly toward their futures. Rose Harbor in Bloom is Debbie Macomber at her heartwarming best.
My thoughts: I just love Debbie Macomber's books - they just make you feel good. They aren't heavy reads, they aren't literary fiction - they are just good escape reads. I just wish the places that Debbie Macomber creates were real places!
I loved getting a chance to visit with Jo Marie once again. Her Rose Harbor Inn certainly seems like a place I would love to visit. Even though she has some personal issues that she is dealing with - finding out once and for all if her husband survived the helicopter crash or not - she is still able to put her guests' needs first. She is there is lend an ear to listen or just a comforting hand or warm touch. Opening the inn was definitely the right move for her.
The guests that stayed this time around were endearing and had their own issues to work out. By the end of the book, I was rooting for both and felt like I personally knew them. I just love that about these books - Debbie writes in such a way that you feel like you are part of the story and that you end up knowing these characters.
I am also enjoying the developing friendship between Jo Marie and handyman Mark Taylor. He sure is a grumpy man sometimes, but then he does something sweet and you are left wondering what his story really is. I'm curious to see how things play out between these two as the series continues...I can't tell if there will be anything romantic between them or if they'll just end up being good friends.
This is definitely a series that I want to continue - again, just because it's a fun, light-hearted series and sometimes after reading all those crime/mystery/thriller books that I've come to really enjoy, a light, feel-good book in-between is just what I need. Plus, I enjoy the cameos of the Cedar Cove residents that I loved from the original Cedar Cove series that occasionally pop up!
Audio thoughts: I listen to Lorelei King narrate Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, so it took me a while to get used to her narrating this one...to me, she's Stephanie Plum through and through! She's got a great voice and can do a lot of different voices, but they are all the voices she uses when narrating the other series, so I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn't a Stephanie Plum book. Once I got past that, I did enjoy this book and I think with enough time, I will be able to listen to Lorelei King do other books!
Books in this series:
0.5 When First They Met
1. The Inn at Rose Harbor
1.5 Lost and Found in Cedar Cove
2. Rose Harbor in Bloom
3. Love Letters
3.5 Falling for Her
4. Silver Linings
5. Sweet Tomorrows - due out Aug 2016