Title: The Inn at Rose Harbor
Author: Debbie Macomber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Sensuality Rating: Innocent
Source: received book from Sophia in exchange for a guest review
Published: August 2012 by Ballantine Books
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.
Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.
Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.
The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.
A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.
Why I Read this Book: I’ve read two other books by this author; one I really enjoyed (Hannah’s List – my review) and the other (One Night – my review) was an okay read. Hannah’s List was a great, yet bittersweet, story and I sort of expected The Inn at Rose Harbor to be one as well. Part of the reason I like Debbie Macomber’s stories is because she possesses a quality similar to that of Nicholas Sparks, in that they both write emotional stories. They take readers through a whole range of emotions - from happiness, to grief and mourning, to moving forward. And that emotional connection with the characters is why I find myself picking up her novels.
What I Liked: The Inn at Rose Harbor is the first book in a new series that spins off from Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series. I have not read any of the books from the Cedar Cove series but it is my understanding that some of the characters from that series will make an appearance in this series, being that this series is set in Cedar Cove. That said, you do not have to have read any of the books in the Cedar Cove series to read and enjoy The Inn at Rose Harbor.
The book is told from Jo Marie’s point-of-view, in first person, and in third person narrative from both Josh’s and Abby’s POV. This allowed me to connect with Jo Marie’s character. She grieved, I grieved for her. She mourned, I mourned for her. And when she had a happy moment, I cheered for her. And while both Josh and Abby got conclusions to their stories, Jo Marie’s story will continue on with the next installment in this series and perhaps throughout the entire series.
Josh is in town because his stepfather, with whom he never got along with, is on his deathbed. Josh returns with one goal in mind and becomes a whole new man in the interim. He has a lot of built up angst towards his stepfather and Michelle, an acquaintance from high school, helps him through this tough time.
Abby has an incredible amount of guilt that’s been carrying around for years and it’s been holding her back in life. She’s in town for her brother’s wedding and runs into a friend from high school. The time has come for Abby to face her demons.
What I Didn’t Like: I don’t read books with religious undertones and boy were they in this book! Had I known The Inn at Rose Harbor was heavily laced with them prior to actually reading it, I probably wouldn’t have read it. But having read the novel, I’m glad I didn’t know beforehand since I enjoyed the story and the religious context didn’t bother me too much.
Overall Impression: The Inn at Rose Harbor is a book that tells the story of three people who share a same commonality; they are each dealing with grief and trying to figure out how to move forward. There’s also a little thing called ‘love’ that finds each of them as well. There’s a little hint of what’s next to come in this series; two reservations for the Rose Harbor B&B are made and I can’t wait to see what’s brings these two guests to Cedar Cove.
Side note: There is an ebook prequel to this book titled When First They Met that is the story of how Jo Marie and Paul met and fell in love. I don’t know if my heart can handle the emotion that is sure to come by reading that novella but I think I’ll buy it for my Kindle to save for later.