Review: The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

August 14, 2012

Ballantine Books

4/5 Stars

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My first legit romance novel was by Debbie Macomber and I have been fascinated by this woman ever since! Initially when I decided to read romance I assumed romance novels were all going to be super uncomfortably heavy on the sexy times. I have no problems with sex scenes but they’re not something I insist on having in my books either.  So I have really grown to appreciate how fulfilled I am after reading Mrs. Macomber’s novels.  What she does a wonderful job at is creating stories in very cozy settings, throwing in descriptions of food that make you realize how hungry you are for a good home cooked meal, with very relatable characters.

 

Plot Summary:

The Rose Harbour Inn welcomes you to Cedar Cove…

From the minute she sees the Rose Harbour Inn, Jo Marie Barlow knows that this is the place that will help her find the peace she craves. And if the inn can comfort her, surely it can offer the same refuge to her first two guests.

Joshua Weaver has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, but a long-lost acquaintance proves to him that forgiveness is not out of reach and love can bloom in the unlikeliest places.

Abby Kinkaid left Cedar Cover twenty years ago after a devastating accident. But as she reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes that she needs to let the past go if she is to embrace her future.

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Firstly, about half way through reading The Inn At Rose Harbor, I started to get the feeling that I probably should have read Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series prior to starting this one. But oh well, right? I can always go back and read that one later.

A big theme in this book is grief which I have come to really admire the way Debbie Macomber explores it. Now, I am completely in it for the romance just as much as the next person, but there is something special about seeing a character work through the darkness surrounding them and the romance being a big part of the light at the end of the tunnel.

In The Inn At Rose Harbor our three main characters are all grappling with their own stuff. Jo Marie is grieving the loss of her husband Paul whose helicopter crashed while deployed to Afghanistan. She has used the money he left to her to purchase the bed and breakfast she soon after calls Rose Harbor Inn.  Josh is back to take care of his stepfather Richard in his last days of life. This is difficult for Josh because Richard wasn’t very nice to Josh while he was growing up, and Josh didn’t try to make their relationship an easy one either. Abby is back for her brother’s upcoming wedding. Abby and her best friend were in a car accident when they were 19 after Abby’s car hit a an ice patch in the road. A mixture of her best friend’s parents blaming her and the small town rumor mill caused Abby to leave Cedar Cove with no intentions of coming back. Until her brother decides to not only get married, but to get married there.

I felt this was a good first book to a new series. While reading, I really got the sense that it was a book setting up more stories. Jo Marie buying the Inn and changing the name to Rose Harbor Inn symbolized a fresh start for her while also keeping the memory of her husband Paul alive. Jo Marie’s first guests are Josh and Abby who are both overcoming ghosts from their pasts. All three of these characters under the same roof and seeing the outcome kind of solidifies for Jo Marie that she wants her Inn to be a place where people can relax and start to heal if that’s what they need.

Of course I had to pay extra attention to the many forms of love in this story. I loved how Jo Marie had been picky with men until meeting Paul. When she met him, it felt for her as though she bypassed all the ones she did, in anticipation for Paul. She instantly knew he was the one. But love can be taken from you. My heart went out to her. They were still early into their marriage when Paul lost his life.  Enjoy each moment because you never know how much time you have with someone.

Abby loved her best friend Angela so much. It crushed her when they had their accident and Abby lived while Angela died instantly. What made it worse was the aftermath; Angela’s parents no longer wanting to speak to her, all the rumors and losing her best friend. Abby basically stopped living her life out of guilt. She stopped dating and hanging out with friends feeling guilty that Angela no longer got to experience these things.  We see Abby realize she has to make peace with the accident and make peace with Angela’s parents. Once she does this, you immediately get the sense of weight being lifted from her shoulders and she allows a love interest from the past to flirt with her a bit!

Josh is the character I felt had the biggest happy ending in this book. His stepfather was a real jerk to him. We learn though that Richard, his stepfather truly loved Theresa, who was Josh’s mother. And in a way both men competed for her attention and this caused a rift between them. There is a woman named Michelle who helps Josh out during his stepfather’s last days. Michelle had always been known to be a love interest of Josh’s stepbrother Dylan’s but she tells Josh that Dylan was actually very cruel to her. So her and Josh hit it off. We see Josh having to learn to pay attention to the wonderful opportunities and people looking him in the face.

The Inn At Rose Harbor is a wonderfully told story with very well written characters. The character development in this story was done so well. And Debbie Macomber has the ability to create an environment that makes me want to just pack a 72 hour bag, buy a plane ticket and head for the nearest thing to her fictionalized location that I can find! This story is also big a reminder that you never know what someone is going through and how at some point, to move on, we have to make peace with whatever has been taunting us.

I could go on and on about this book, I hope these thoughts of mine made sense! Share any recommendations you have for me of stories well written that deal with grief. As always, take care of yourselves, and until my next post-xoxo

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