In the Pacific Northwest, a pleasant young war widow purchases a bed-and-breakfast, a lovely historic building full of homey charms. The owner is green, foregoing her job and home on a whim to start fresh and without knowing one thing about the hospitality business. Jo Marie Rose feels she has dwelt in grief long enough and has decided to rely on instinct. This is a story about finding happiness and love for all who live and stay at the inn.
"Debbie Macomber has written a charming, cathartic romance full of tasteful passion and good sense... A quick, light read, THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR is a wonderful novel that will keep the reader’s undivided attention."
Jo Marie’s first guest, Abby Kincaid, is a young woman who’s clearly uncomfortable to be there. Cedar Cove is her hometown, but she left a decade ago and hoped never to return. Abby’s brother is newly engaged to a local who has asked her to stand in at the wedding. Of course, Abby is happy for them but daunted by the past, particularly as she must face everyone and remember the terrible details of a car accident that ruined her life and resulted in the death of a close friend. Plagued by guilt and anxiety, Abby feels responsible; she was the driver, and the fallout was hideous. Angela’s parents have openly and angrily accused her of negligence. However, the love and support of family and friends will help Abby finally stop running, and the generosity and kindness of good people becomes the key to accepting a resolution that will make her significantly more appealing to some interesting men.
Jo Marie’s second guest is a young man named Josh Weaver, who’s returning to settle old debts and wounds with his irritable, estranged stepfather --- a man who hates him. Josh was called by the girl next door (Michelle) to come visit, with the jolting news that his last living relative is dying. But Josh forces himself to stay detached, even while he carries some heavy mixed feelings toward his mother’s second husband. Their relationship has always been strained and hostile, and in truth, Josh feels little to no responsibility toward the old man. His real reason for returning has everything to do with claiming his mother’s possessions, but Richard is clearly unwilling to ever let them go or allow Josh to get his hands on them.
Michelle, however, seems to have a surprising influence on all the Weaver men. She’s a well-known acquaintance of Josh’s who has changed a great deal --- in all the best ways --- since high school. She’s also generous, mature, and kind enough to keep a daily eye out for Richard, out of the simple goodness of her heart. Michelle seems to be the closest thing Richard has had to a friend since the deaths of his wife and son. Seeing her now after many years, Josh is surprised by the distinct, overpowering attraction he feels, but wonders if he’ll ever have room in his heart for love; his past makes this doubtful.
The truth is, despite Michelle’s obvious beauty and charms, Josh is terrible at relationships, so much so that he has a hard time fathoming what it would mean to be able to rely on someone. It seems Richard has done his work well. But while Josh hasn’t yet realized what he needs, Michelle won’t let him go. She works quietly and patiently, urging him toward a final, merciful resolution with Richard, which is the only way he can let go of his guilt and anger, and take a good look at himself so he can finally choose forgiveness and end his lonely life.
Debbie Macomber has written a charming, cathartic romance full of tasteful passion and good sense. Reading it is a lot like enjoying comfort food, as you know the book will end well and leave you feeling pleasant and content. The tone is warm and serene, and the characters are likable yet realistic. A quick, light read, THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR is a wonderful novel that will keep the reader’s undivided attention.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on August 17, 2012