Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Inn at Rose Harbor

The Inn at Rose HarborThe Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me several tries to get into this book. Not because it wasn't interesting, but because it hit a little too close to home and revived memories of deep, dark fears.

The book opens with the story of Jo Marie, a recent widow who lost her husband after only a few months of marriage. She was in her late thirties when she met her soulmate, Paul, and they fell in love immediately. Despite his deployment to Germany two months later, they managed to sustain their relationship, and he proposed when he flew home at Christmastime on leave. They married in January, and right afterward his unit was sent to Afghanistan, where he died in a helicopter crash in April.

This is pretty much my nightmare scenario. This is what had me jumping every time the phone rang for the first year of my relationship with my (now) husband while he was deployed to Kabul. I was petrified I would lose the love of my life after having finally found him. I imagine this is the nightmare scenario experienced by all military spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends: having your future together ripped away in one moment of violence. Then again, given recent headlines in the local newspapers, perhaps this is a fear we all share, military or not.

At any rate, by the time I finally managed to get past the first chapter and into the rest of the book, my egalley copy from NetGalley expired. ARGH! So I had to put the physical book on hold at my library and wait until it was my turn.

The Inn at Rose Harbor is actually the story of three people whose lives intersect one weekend: Jo Marie, newly minted innkeeper of the B&B she bought with the life insurance money, and her first two guests, Joshua Weaver and Abby Kincaid. Josh has returned to Cedar Cove to deal with his dying stepfather who hates him, and Abby must face the guilt she has carried for the fifteen years since her best friend died in a car accident. All three need and receive healing over the course of the long weekend.

For readers' advisors: It was hard to decide how to categorize this novel. It's not a straightforward romance, although there is some romance involved. It doesn't quite fit into "magical realism" either, although the angels/ghosts make it lean into the paranormal. I think it will appeal to people who enjoy Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series, and fans will recognize some secondary characters. It's a contemporary "clean read," with no sex or bad language--a very sweet novel. Character doorway is primary, and setting (Cedar Cove on Puget Sound in Washington) is secondary.

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