Title: Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber
Rose Harbor Series Book Two
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 338 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Hailed as “the reigning queen of women’s fiction” (The Sacramento Bee), #1 New York Times bestselling author 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.
Debbie Macomber’s Rose Harbor in Bloom is a warm and inviting story of love, healing, family, and friendship. This second outing in the Rose Harbor series brings readers back to the Rose Harbor Inn where B&B owner Jo Marie receives unexpected news and her guests make peace with their pasts and find love in the process.
Jo Marie has made significant progress dealing with her grief over her husband Paul’s death but she continues to cling to the unrealistic hope that he might somehow still be alive. Just as her newest round of guests is arriving, her life is complicated by unsettling news that the Army is finally to retrieve the bodies of Paul and the servicemen who died with him in Afghanistan. Jo Marie has plenty to distract her from dwelling on the recovery effort as she goes about her B&B hosting duties.
Annie Newton and her family are staying at the Rose Harbor Inn as they celebrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. She is shocked by her grandparents’ constant squabbling and she is dismayed by the appearance of her teenage crush, Oliver. Will her grandparents’ renew their vows as planned? Will she set aside her animosity towards Oliver long enough to uncover the truth about his feelings for her?
As Mary Smith comes face to face with her mortality, she is plagued with regrets over her failed relationship with George Hudson. Unable to resist the pull of her past, Mary reconnects with George but will the secret she carries ruin their reunion?
Rose Harbor in Bloom takes place over a long weekend and each of the characters’ stories are told in alternating chapters from their perspective. Jo Marie’s point of view is first person and her conflict is the most vivid of the three. Of the remaining storylines, Annie’s is the most realistic and heartwarming while Mary’s is sweet but it is too full of coincidences and wrapped up a little too neatly.
The story arc that is the most compelling (and frustrating) is the growing friendship between Jo Marie and handyman Mark Taylor. Mark is quite enigmatic as he gives away little information about himself. In Rose Harbor in Bloom he is still grumpy and a bit cantankerous but we also see a more vulnerable side to him as well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am dying to know more about his mysterious past. And I am also curious to see if my suspicions about why he is dragging his feet on Jo Marie’s garden project are correct.
Rose Harbor in Bloom is a fast-paced and engaging story and I wasn’t quite ready for my visit with Jo Marie and her guests to end. I enjoyed catching up with characters from the previous novel and I am intrigued by the brief glimpses into the lives of Jo Marie’s next guests. As you can probably guess, I am impatiently awaiting Debbie Macomber’s next installment in this heartwarming series.
Click HERE for my reviews of the other books in the series.