Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Novel
Debbie Macomber’s latest novel, LOVE LETTERS, has all the ingredients needed to pack this story with a lot of punch, especially for anyone who is romantically challenged. You know who you are. Nothing ever seems to go right for you in the following scenarios: 1) a well-timed love letter turns the tide on a special relationship, and you have to face the death of a loved one head on without a compass; 2) a meet-up with someone you connect with online goes terribly wrong, and you have to decide if the relationship is worth saving; or 3) even the old standby: cheating on a spouse without any thought to some dire consequences that ultimately will hurt not only you, but everyone else in your life.
Well, that is why I would advise LOVE LETTERS to be read with caution, since it isn’t for the “weak of heart” --- aka, anyone wearing their heart on their sleeve when taking a chance on love. The novel oozes the power of love when trying to mend a broken romance, and not everyone is up to the challenge.
"Mending a broken heart is not always easy to do, but Macomber succeeds at this beautifully in LOVE LETTERS. By creating a lively narrative interspersed with appropriate spatial timing, she is able to keep the story flowing evenly, never allowing for wasted space or loss of interest. "
Mending a broken heart is not always easy to do, but Macomber succeeds at this beautifully in LOVE LETTERS. By creating a lively narrative interspersed with appropriate spatial timing, she is able to keep the story flowing evenly, never allowing for wasted space or loss of interest. Quite simply, this is a refreshing take on most love stories --- there are twists and turns in the plot that keep readers on their toes --- and the author shares up slices of realism, allowing her audience to feel right at home as they follow a cast of familiar characters living in the small coastal town of Cedar Cove, where life is interesting, to say the least.
Jo Marie Rose is the owner of the Rose Harbor Inn. After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she assumes the role of sole proprietor. With little knowledge of how to fulfill her duties at the Inn initially, she hires Mark Taylor, a local handyman, to help her with any repairs that are needed on the grounds. They spend a lot of time together, since there is always something to do at this bed and breakfast, resulting in a close friendship forming between them. Jo Marie, however, would always disagree, saying Mark is too elusive to form ties with anyone, especially her. As a result, she is determined to learn more about his past, not realizing that before she breaks through his wall of silence, she has to come to terms with her own.
While Jo Marie learns to cope with her insecurities, she welcomes three new guests for the weekend: Ellie Reynolds, who has come to Cedar Cove to meet a man she connected with online and whose mother is totally against this rendezvous; and Roy and Maggie Porter, on vacation and hoping to rekindle their marriage vows while gaining back the trust that they lost due to past mistakes. Fortunately, the Rose Harbor Inn seems to be a place where romance is destined to flourish. Many times, Jo Marie has seen love blossom between her guests throughout their stay, and this brings joy to her heart. This was one of the reasons she decided to keep the Inn in the first place. So now the question is: Will all three connections --- Jo Marie and Mark, Ellie and Tom, Roy and Maggie --- be able to carry the effects of their excess baggage over this threshold and allow them to become partners in a healthy and loving relationship?
Fortunately, LOVE LETTERS conjures up many good thoughts of romance, punctuated by painted pictures of roses and lollipops. Ultimately, it also quickly becomes apparent that this story doesn’t play by the stereotypical rules of romance. Love doesn’t always conquer all, and unless you put yourself out there and “wear your heart on your sleeve,” those “love letters” won’t be able to find a way into your heart --- the place where romance begins.
Reviewed by Donna Smallwood on August 15, 2014