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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Inn at Rose Harbor: A Novel
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169 of 172 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been on a Debbie Macomber kick this summer, having had a major back surgery and thus plenty of downtime. My kindle is loaded up with Macomber stories I have read.

This new series seems a little different from the Cedar Cove Series. The previous series set in this location had a multitude of characters especially in the initial book. Most of the characters were introduced in the first book and subsequent books followed one of the characters or families.

The Inn at Rose Harbor has 3 main characters. The new owner of the Inn is Jo Marie, who is recently widowed and has come to cedar cove for a new start. Her first two guests each have their own issues and it seems to me that their stories are wrapped up by the end of the book.

The first two guests have come back to Cedar Cove reluctantly and each has their own reasons. Josh has come back to help out with his dying step father. He goes through a rehash of his horrible relationship with the older man. In the process he strikes up a friendship with his former next door neighbor

Abby Kincaid had come back for her brother's wedding but she too is battling issues from her past. She is afraid to face her former high school friends because she had been driving when her best friend was killed in a black ice accident.

The book alternates easily between the three characters. It is kind of fun to see Jo Marie interact briefly with some of the old Cedar Cove characters.

I enjoyed this book a lot and finished it much too quickly. I look forward to the next one. At the end of this book Jo Maria accepts reservations from two new characters who are arriving the same weekend obviously laying the groundwork for the next edition.

This is the first book Debbie has written since the tragic death of her son last August. I sense sadness in this book, as well as an appreciation for the complexities surrounding sudden death and the aftermath for families and friends. In fact, untimely death and grief play an important role for each main character.

There is also a certain amount of mysticism in the story as the characters communicate, each in their own way, with their deceased love ones. To me it shows the way that Debbie and her family as well as the characters are dealing with their grief.
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read just about every Debbie Macomber book publishes so I was glad to have the opportunity to review this new book, The Inn at Rose Harbor.

The story is about Jo Marie Rose, a widow, who has just arrived in Cedar Cover to run a bed and breakfast. Her first guests are Joshua Weaver and Abby Kincaid. Joshua has come to collect a few family mementos from his stepfather, a man who chased him out of his home when he was a senior in high school. Joshua is angry and bitter and wants nothing more than get his stuff and run.

Abby, who has not been home for 20 years, has returned for her brother's wedding. She is dealing with painful memories of a friend who was killed in an automobile accident in which Abby was the driver. She, too, only wants to do what she has to do and then get out of town. However, things don't always work out as planned and that's what this story is about.

At the beginning of the book, I almost gave up. The theme was depressing - all these people grieving over deaths of loved ones. The story starts slow and doesn't speed up for quite a while, which made it even harder. But I enjoy Debbie's writing, so I kept going and finally got interested in the characters about 1/2 way through the book. By the end of the book, I was hooked, so much so that I shed quite a few tears at the end of the book.

I'm glad I pushed myself to finish the book. It's not the most exciting story I ever read; however, the story was satisfying and I'm already looking forward to the next one in the series.

If you enjoy Debbie Macomber books, you'll want to read this one as well. Just be patient. I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a chance.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 16, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a great Debbie Macomber fan, and I knew that I would love "The Inn at Rose Harbor"--I just didn't know how much I would love it! I was immediately and deeply affected by the character of Jo Marie Rose, and the terrible loss of her husband so soon after her marriage. Adding extra poignancy to the story was the tragic real-life death of a young, newly-married soldier in my home community. He was also killed while on active duty. I had just seen his picture, and then the follow-up story on his memorial service. I cried for the immeasurable loss of this handsome, well-loved young man. Debbie captured the feeling perfectly in "The Inn at Rose Harbor". Jo Marie's grief, her struggle to accept the loss of her husband and cope with the unexpectedly large bequest of his life insurance policy all combine to set the framework for the series. Jo Marie's courage in going forward and making the life-changing decision to become a business owner is inspiring. Instead of turning inward to become lost in her pain, she chooses a business which will necessitate daily positive contact with others. I must say that as much as I have enjoyed Debbie's previous works, there is an added depth and spirit to this book. Debbie is amazing, and just keeps getting better! In this book, she takes a look back, but she definitely moves forward with new characters and story lines that will keep us happily read. I have long thought of owning my own B&B, only mine would be nestled in the beautiful setting of my own little vineyard. However, I would love to visit Jo Marie Rose, and stay a while at "The Inn at Rose Harbor". The hostess, the setting, and the guests are most inviting and intriguing. I look forward to return visits.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 10, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was so excited to see a new series by Macomber; she is one of my favorite authors. This first book in her new series was a breath of fresh air during this hot humid summer.
The series is set in Cedar Cove but the characters are new. Jo Marie Rose has moved there upon the death of her husband after purchasing a Bed & Breakfast. Story lines were developed around two guests that checked into the B&B. They were heartwarming stories of families and relationships. I especially liked that the ending made it clear that this is a series and I can look forward to more books in the series.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I have read every book by Debbie and was really looking forward to this latest book. I was very disappointed.
All of her other books have characters that are lively and involved in their community and each other.
I found these characters shallow and very self involved. I kept checking to make sure I was reading
the right book as this does not seem like a book this author would write. If I didn't know better I would
say that this is her first book. Perhaps it is and she has updated it. I won't give up on her but I was very
disappointed in this one.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps it's time for one of my favorite authors to take a break. The last book of the Blossom Street series A Turn in the Road (Blossom Street) was not very good, and the Cedar Cove series had devolved into a Hot Mess. Even so, I looked forward to reading the first book of Debbie Macomber's new series. Unfortunately, the newest series set in Cedar Cove is not off to a promising start, and reading Macomber's essay on the main "Inn at Harbor Rose" amazon page is not reassuring as to the future of this series. Safe to say, the first two guests do not have "amazing" stories, but at least we are forewarned about the outcome (read the essay if you like; I'm afraid the pertinent part smacks too much of a spoiler to include in this review).

There have been enough other recaps, so I'll skip that. The story is supposed to be about loss and redemption, but it focuses way too heavily on the loss and the redemption is too quick and neat to ring true. There is an element or two of romance, but this book does not belong in that genre. The war widow is old beyond her years, and I have the uncomfortable feeling that by the end of the series, she will discover she wasn't widowed after all. In the meantime, her husband's ghost is all too "there", and the heavy-handedness of that plot device is very unlike this author.

I understand the author suffered a horrible loss last year. Surely she recognizes that one cannot resolve grief and all of its accompanying emotions in three days.

Sadly, I can't recommend this book to anyone.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 8, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first book I have read by Debbie Macomber, so I was not totally sure what to expect. I know several people who have probably read every book Ms Macomber has written and apparently loved (or liked) them all. This book seems to be a cross between a sweet romance novel and what is known as women's fiction -- a sweet romance has no explicit sex scenes (physical affection is generally limited to hand-holding and kissing), and women's fiction usually deals with an issue or circumstance pertinent to many women today, although men may have many of the same issues as well. Ms Macomber seems to have hit the mark on both counts with this book.

"The Inn at Rose Harbor" is the first book in a new Macomber series (and a new publisher for the author in Ballantine Books). But the setting is a familiar one to her regular readers: Cedar Cove, Washingon, based upon the author's hometown of Port Orchard, Washington, as it is the setting of another series. The premise of this series is a widow in her late 30's, Jo Marie Rose, uses the insurance money she receives after the death of her husband in combat to purchase a bed and breakfast in Cedar Cove. Throughout the book people are visited by the spirit of a beloved family member or friend as a way of coping with their grief or making a life changing decision, or both. Jo dreams that the spirit of her husband has blessed her use of the money and thoughout the book continues to believe that he is watching over her.

In addition to Jo, there are the first two guests of the inn -- both natives of Cedar Cove. Josh Weaver has returned home to deal with the impending death of the stepfather who threw him out of his home two weeks before high school graduation. With no love lost between those two, Josh is determined to gather up his dead mother's few personal items and leave for good. A former neighbor, a social worker named Michelle, provides a distraction and complication. Abby Kincaid has returned to Cedar Cove for the wedding of her only brother. Years ago she was driving on an icy road when she lost control of the car, and it rolled and crashed, killing her passenger and best friend, Angela. Abby fled Cedar Cove, convinced that everyone there blamed her for Angela's death.

For me the most interesting part of the book had to do with the details of running a bed and breakfast. Being Cedar Cove, even other B & B owners pitched in to help Jo with suggestions and referrals to the local handiman. The story is told in a straight-foward, non-literary style. There is a fairly good mixture of being told and being shown how a character is feeling -- being shown is always better in my estimation -- but I just never found myself connecting deeply with any of the characters. They seemed more like place holders than real flesh and blood people. And the fact that Josh's story, as well as Abby's, is tied up in three days seems to be stretching it in my opinion. The slight paranormal element to the book seems a little silly to me, particularly when it involves Abby, as well as the connection between Jo and her new dog, Buster.

But, having said all that, I do understand why Ms Macomber's books are so popular. They are the literary version of getting a hug from a favorite relative, such as a beloved grandmother. If the others are like "The Inn at Rose Harbor," they are warm and cozy, perfect beach reading, where you can shut out for a few hours what sometimes seems like an increasingly uncivil world. There may be politics in Cedar Cove but they are not up for discussion in this book. Let it stay that way!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book was tolerable at best. I think the story could have been so much more had the author focussed on the main character buying an inn and having interactions with several people. Her story, just buying a B&B and knowing just what to do , is unrealistic. I've heard B&B's are one of the toughest businesses to run.

Then 2 guests show up, and none of these characters have anything to do with the inn owner. It's almost like 3 different stories just thrown in one book and none of them have much depth.

I was really annoyed that this professional author would use words like "it'll" and "It'd". I've never seen an author use these expressions, must less people actually speak these. The "it'd" was so prevalent in this book that it drove me nuts.

I think that this author, like many others who have been at it a long time, have a following that will read their books no matter the quality, that the publisher doesn't set high standards and just takes anything they write.

I know hospice wasn't really a big factor in the one story line, but as a person who has been in hospice many years, it was rather insulting at the little vague references to it. We don't just walk into a house, unwanted, and say oh yes, he only has 48 hours to live, and walk out.

I guess this author will be cranking out her annual Xmas book soon, too. I will get it from the library, but will never buy one of hers again. Glad I got this from the library, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 10, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked up this book because I wanted a light read to escape with and I liked the description and area setting for the book. This was a little too light for me and while it started off okay it turned into a skimmer for me just to be able to finish it. I think it strayed too far from reality when actual conversations with deceased people were going on and deceased people were giving people visions of what they needed to do. Characters did not feel authentic to me and neither did the dialogue between people or the events that took place. There were several really far fetched events but I'll leave those out for those who haven't read the book yet. I did not enjoy the book and would not recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I'm really not clear why this book got as many stars as it did - the reason, by the way, that I purchased it. THere is virtually no dramatic tension and what there is gets frittered away in easy resolutions. I had to chuckle when, at one point, one of the characters referred to another as speaking in cliches; I found this book to be one continuous cliche. End result? Total boredom on my part.
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