Review

Rose Harbor in Bloom

by Debbie Macomber

New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has consistently taken the path to success by getting to the heart of her characters’ joys and sorrows and portraying their stories against the backdrop of the fictional idyllic small town of Cedar Cove, analogous to the real-life town of Port Orchard, Washington. Her latest release, ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM, brilliantly repeats her winning formula by placing her characters at the Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove. The storybook scenery of lighthouses, cozy bed and breakfast inns dotting the coastline, and seagulls flying above takes readers on personal journeys of first love, lost love and recaptured love without explicit sex scenes. Instead, they present love in its purest and most personal forms.

The Rose Harbor Inn becomes the respite and end of the journey for Jo Marie Rose. A widow in her 30s, she purchased the inn to begin a new life. “If I’d learned anything in this road called life it’s that it often takes unexpected turns, rerouting us from the very path that had once seemed so right.” Jo Marie has not given up hope that her husband Paul is alive, even though his Lieutenant Colonel said the remains of his helicopter crew that went down in Afghanistan were on a remote mountainside that could not be reached and that very little hope remained that any crew member survived. Love never dies, but Jo Marie is building “a life without Paul.”

"The storybook scenery of lighthouses, cozy bed and breakfast inns dotting the coastline, and seagulls flying above takes readers on personal journeys of first love, lost love and recaptured love without explicit sex scenes. Instead, they present love in its purest and most personal forms."

The inn’s guests include Mary Smith, a cancer survivor who has returned to find her beloved George, whom she left 19 years ago to pursue a career in New York at one of the country’s largest brokerage firms. The guilt of leaving him and keeping secrets from him that he had a right to know about is uppermost in her mind as the threat of her own mortality faces her. Macomber engages the reader in their journey to recapture their love. The serenity of Cedar Cove provides a place to heal, to think, to reconnect with the past, to be honest. “It was too late for her, and far too late for the two of them.” Or was it? “George had always been wildly romantic,” and Macomber’s romantic followers will be pleased with how she keeps the “magical moment” between them real and everlasting.

Guest Annie Newton has memories of her grandparents’ perfect and loving marriage. Her own recent broken engagement has her on edge as she plans a 50th wedding anniversary party for them in Cedar Cove. Her grandparents “were living proof that love lasts a lifetime.” When she meets her teenage sweetheart Oliver again, the future looks bright, despite her memory of how he denied their first kiss to his friends. He’d like to forget that denial now and show Annie that he is still very much attracted to his first love.

Romance is a proven bestseller time and again. In this day of crowded media markets, an author has to stand out in the marketplace in a unique way that sells multitudes of books and create a following. The characteristic of so many writers is perseverance and the determination to be published. Macomber persevered, and now her resume includes “series developer and executive producer.”

How fitting that “The Heart of TV,” Hallmark Channel, chose the Cedar Cover series to be featured in an original primetime weekly series “Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove”starring critically acclaimed actress Andie MacDowell and the very handsome, debonair Canadian actor Dylan Neal. When TV brings to life characters from the written page, they become household names and authors attract new audiences. When marketers like L’Oreal Paris are brought into the mix because MacDowell has been their international spokesperson for 25 years, the Macomber brand becomes even more successful. When ROSE HARBOR IN BLOOM is advertised each week during the airing of the series, the prediction is: another successful bestseller.

Just as love grows stronger with time and perseveres, Macomber’s success has grown due to her perseverance years ago as a struggling writer pursuing her first published novel. She is the epitome of her strong female characters who seek out a partner for life. Romantic literature has been Macomber’s most trusted partner and living proof that romance is a desirous and profitable pursuit. Cedar Cove is far from the publishing world of New York, but words and romance are universal and “Rose Harbor in bloom was a magical place,” created by a savvy writer who understands the business and heart of romance.

Reviewed by Hillary Wagy on August 13, 2013

Rose Harbor in Bloom
by Debbie Macomber

  • Publication Date: August 13, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 034552893X
  • ISBN-13: 9780345528933