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
Macomber, Debbie (2013). [Genre: Woman's Fiction]
Rose Harbor in Bloom is the second in Debbie Macomber's Rose Harbor series and like her previous novels set in Cedar Cove, follows multiple characters. Here we get Jo Marie (the owner of the inn, who is struggling to deal with the death of her husband in Afghanistan), Mary (a woman battling cancer who until now has always put her career first) and Annie (getting over a broken engagement and missing the man standing right in front of her).
Rose Harbor in Bloom has all the characteristics that have attracted me to Macomber's novels in the past. She writes real stories, with scenes that you can imagine happening in real life without any difficulty at all. My favourite was the preteens begging the handsome twenties man for a dance at the family party – I've witnessed that one happen many times before! It's an easy read, but treats difficult topics – the death of a spouse for example, with the respect that they deserve.
On the other hand, I felt something in in Bloom fell a little flat. The switch from first person for Jo Marie to third for Annie and Mary was sometimes difficult and jarring. It also didn't feel like Annie or Mary's stories were as fully fleshed as some of Macomber's previous characters. Annie's story fell into place to easily, with no real hardship to prevent her happy ending. Both Annie and Mary were smash-them-over-the-head-silly in places as characters, Annie refusing to forgive a man for events that happened when they were 13 (events pretty typical of 13 year olds to be honest) and Mary denying herself chances at happiness at a time when those chances should be most important to her.
On the whole, Rose Harbour in Bloom was completely readable, but I don't think it's the best effort Macomber's put out.
Rose Harbor in Bloom is released September 2nd
As a sidenote, I really really dislike the cover of the Australian edition. Ambiguous woman staring into the sunset. How generic is it possible to get? Especially considering the sweet and inviting cover for the first installment of the series.