Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber is a prolific author with what seems to be a great following. The Inn at Rose Harbor is the first book of hers that I have read. It was a quick read and one that doesn't require a great deal of thinking on the part of the reader. 

Set in the Pacific Northwest, the novel is the narration of three sets of characters connected by the Inn.  Jo Marie Rose is a a young widow. Her husband has been killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Trying to find herself, she uses his insurance money to buy a bed & breakfast in Cedar Cove, Washington. The novel takes place over a three day period of time as the Inn is opened for business. Her first guest is a young woman, Abby Kincaid, who has returned to her childhood home for her brother's wedding. She is emotionally distraught and the reader gets the impression that she is in Cedar Cove only because of the obligation that she feels toward her brother. After a tragic accident when she was in high school, Abby left the area and has lived under a cloud of guilt in the ensuing years. 

The Inn's second guest is Josh Weaver who was called back to his boyhood home by the next-door, Michelle, neighbor of his ailing step-father. Josh has been estranged from Richard since his step-brother Dylan's death. Richard wants no part of Josh's presence and refuses his help and efforts at reconciliation.

The chapters alternate between the three characters' stories. Jo Marie's are told in first person, the other two in third person. The pace is slow and the reader often feels a sense of urgency in discovering how the three lives will be transformed as the weekend by the events that ensue. Macomber is in no hurry to divulge that. Abby and Jo Marie are both guided by voices from beyond as they struggle to find peace in their respective lives. Josh's conscience is more temporal and guided by the words and actions of Michelle.

The book is the first in an intended series about Cedar Cove. Secondary characters are introduced to Jo Marie and it is obvious that they will continue to be a part of future novels. In fact, at the conclusion of the book there is a real tease about two future guests of the Inn. The book is about seconds chances in life and explores the ways that men and women handle those opportunities. I can see it being made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. It fits the bill of sweet and happy endings - OK for a read now and then, but much to sweet for a regular diet.

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