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THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR by Debbie Macomber

THE INN AT ROSE HARBOR

By Debbie Macomber

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-345-52892-6
Publisher: Ballantine

Slow-paced, emotionally charged romance; the first in a planned series by best-selling genre novelist Macomber (1225 Christmas Tree Lane, 2011, etc.).

Rose Harbor is sort of like Cabot Cove: beautiful, a touch staid, full of folk who look and act the part of locals. The difference is, there’s no mayhem of the sort that would give Angela Lansbury reason to get up in the morning in Rose Harbor, which lies about due west from Cabot Cove and on the opposite coast. There, Jo Marie Rose has just moved to open a B&B. She had found romance late in life (well, in her late 30s, anyway) only to suffer the death of her husband in far-off Afghanistan, the victim of a chopper crash high in the mountains. That’s a nice modern touch in a story that could essentially fit into the Nancy Drew line—if, that is, anything happened in Rose Harbor that involved action and not talk. The storyline about Jo Marie and the late Paul seems rushed and almost perfunctory, as if the author doesn’t quite trust it as a dramatic element, but she gets on surer ground when she introduces another character whose life has been made unhappy thanks to a machinery mishap. Macomber’s players are grief-ridden in different degrees and ways, and the saving grace of this book, full of explication and asides (“Josh had his own issues, his own scars. Richard seemed determined to leave matters as they were between them and to die alone”), is that the author recognizes that life is tough and that people need room to deal with that fact, dancing elaborately around one another and the issues until they get things figured out. And so it is in Rose Harbor, and if some of the narrative dashes the reader on mawkish shoals, at least there’s some nice smooching in the end (“[Y]ou’re an idiot, a very lovable idiot, but still an idiot”).

There’s also plenty of narrative room for the promised sequel for those who can’t wait to find out what happens to Mary Smith, Kent Shivers and the rest.