Friday, August 16, 2013

Extra Post: Book Review: Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber

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(I received this book to review from NetGalley)

Description from Good Reads 
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.

My Review
This was a very sweet book. It was a quick read, and a nice palate cleanser between two books that were pretty intense. 
I had never read a book by Debbie Macomber, so I didn't really know what to expect. What I got is a very sweet romance, a little fluff and a light read. Nothing was too intense, and most everything was predictable. 

There's nothing wrong with predictable- as I stated, this was a great palate cleanser and sometimes it is exactly what you need.

The book centers around the Rose Harbor Inn, and predominantly around the inn keeper, Jo Marie Rose, her "handy man" Mark, Annie Newton and Oliver Sutton, both in town for Annie's grandparent's 50th anniversary, and Mary Smith, who came to Rose Harbor to make amends with her true love, George Hudson.

I really thought Jo Marie and Mark's relationship was going somewhere else, but I have a feeling this is a relationship the author wants you to become invested in. Plus, Mark is not super open, and Jo Marie is still dealing with the death of her husband. The death is a big plot point, and I believe, based on my reading, it was in the first book as well. 
I enjoyed Jo Marie as a character, but I think Mark needs to start letting some of those secrets go if the reader is going to become more invested in a potential relationship.

Annie and Oliver make an interesting story. Annie planned her grandparent's entire 50th anniversary party, and Oliver drives them. Annie had recently broken an engagement off, and part of the story deals with her decision, and the other part of their story deals with how she feels about Oliver.
I actually didn't really like Annie as a character that much. I didn't feel like she was as fleshed out as Jo Marie or Mary, and I with the author would only focus on one side story instead of two.
I didn't feel invested at all when Oliver and Annie finally start getting together.
I did enjoy the relationship between their grandparents. It reminded me somewhat of my own grandparents. (Not so much the bickering, but the obvious love and affection.)

Mary's story was my favorite of the three. She is suffering from cancer, and comes back to make amends with George. Their story broke my heart, and ultimately just made me so happy in the end. Mary has a deep dark secret she is keeping from George, and when she finally told him I let out a breathe. Like, I was involved in their past love affair or something.
(Hi, I'm Ashley and I get way too invested in the life of fictional characters.)

I really enjoyed the ending of their story, too. I felt like it was perfect.

I didn't know this book was part of a series when I started reading it, and I haven't decided if I want to check out the others. But it appears she did a slight follow up on the stories from the first novel, so I wonder if that is something she will be doing often. And this book definitely left the story open for a third novel.

I gave this book three stars on Goodreads- I liked it, but I won't be rereading it, and I haven't decided if I will look into others from the series. Overall, I did enjoy the novel, but something was lacking.

FTC: I received this book to review from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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