Inn at Rose Harbor (Macomber)

The Inn at Rose Harbor
Debbie Macomber, 2012
Random House
352 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780345528926

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—October 22, 1948
Where—Yakima, Washington, USA
Education—high school
Awards—Quill Award; RITA and Distinguished Lifetime Achievement (Romance Writers of America)
Currently—Port Orchard, Washington

Debbie Macomber is a best-selling American author of over 150 romance novels and contemporary women's fiction. Over 170 million copies of her books are in print throughout the world, and four have become made-for-TV-movies. Macomber was the inaugural winner of the fan-voted Quill Award for romance in 2005 and has been awarded both a Romance Writers of America RITA and a lifetime achievement award by the Romance Writers of America.

Beginning writer
Although Debbie Macomber is dyslexic and has only a high school education, she was determined to be a writer. A stay-at-home mother raising four small children, Macomber nonetheless found the time to sit in her kitchen in front of a rented typewriter and work on developing her first few manuscripts. For five years she continued to write despite many rejections from publishers, finally turning to freelance magazine work to help her family make ends meet.

With money that she saved from her freelance articles, Macomber attended a romance writer's conference, where one of her manuscripts was selected to be publicly critiqued by an editor from Harlequin Enterprises Ltd. The editor tore apart her novel and recommended that she throw it away. Undaunted, Macomber scraped together $10 to mail the same novel, Heartsong, to Harlequin's rival, Silhouette Books. Silhouette bought the book, which became the first romance novel to be reviewed by Publishers Weekly.

Although Heartsong was the first of her manuscripts to sell, Starlight was the first of her novels to be published. It became #128 of the Silhouette Special Edition category romance line (now owned by Harlequin). Macomber continued to write category romances for Silhouette, and later Harlequin. In 1988, Harlequin asked Macomber to write a series of interconnected stories, which became known as the Navy series. Before long, she was selling "huge" numbers of books, usually 150,000 copies of each of her novels, and she was releasing two or three titles per year. By 1994, Harlequin launched the Mira Books imprint to help their category romance authors transition to the single title market, and Macomber began releasing single-title novels. Her first hardcover was released in 2001.

In 2002, Macomber realized that she was having more difficulty identifying with a 25-year-old heroine, and that she wanted to write books focusing more on women and their friendships. Thursdays at Eight was her first departure from the traditional romance novel and into contemporary women's fiction.

Since 1986, in most years Macomber has released a Christmas-themed book or novella. For several years, these novels were part of the Angel series, following the antics of angels Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy. Macomber, who loves Christmas, says that she writes Christmas books as well because "Every woman I know has a picture of the perfect Christmas in her mind, the same way we do romance. Reality rarely lives up to our expectations, so the best we can do is delve into a fantasy."

In general, Macomber's novels focus on delivering the message of the story and do not include detailed descriptive passages. Her heroines tend to be optimists, and the "stories are resolved in a manner that leaves the reader with a feeling of hope and happy expectation." Many of the novels take place in small, rural town, with her Cedar Cove series loosely based on her own hometown. Because of her Christian beliefs, Macomber does not include overly explicit sexual details in her books, although they do contain some sensuality.

Over 170 million copies of her books are in print throughout the world. This Matter of Marriage, became a made-for-tv movie in 1998. In 2009, Hallmark Channel broadcast "Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle," their top-watched movie of the year. The next year Hallmark Channel aired "Call Me Mrs. Miracle," based on Debbie's novel of the same name, and it was the channel's highest rated movie of 2010. In 2011 Hallmark premiered "Trading Christmas," based on Debbie's novel When Christmas Comes (2004).

Debbie also now writes inspirational non-fiction. Her second cookbook, Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook, and her second children's book, The Yippy, Yappy Yorkie in the Green Doggy Sweater (written with Mary Lou Carney), were released in 2012. There is also a Debbie Macomber line of knitting pattern books from Leisure Arts and she owns her own yarn store, A Good Yarn, in Port Orchard, Washington.

Now writing for Random House, Debbie published two Ballantine hardcovers in 2012, The Inn at Rose Harbor and Angels at the Table (November). The same year also saw the publication of two inspirational non-fiction hardcovers, One Perfect Word (Howard Books) and Patterns of Grace (Guideposts April). Starting Now, the ninth in her Blossom Street series, was issued in 2013.

Macomber is a three-time winner of the B. Dalton Award, and the inaugural winner of the fan-voted Quill Award for romance (2005, for 44 Cranberry Point). She has been awarded the Romantic Times Magazine Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award and has won a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, the romance novelist's equivalent of an Academy Award, for The Christmas Basket. Her novels have regularly appeared on the Waldenbooks and USAToday bestseller lists and have also earned spots on the New York Times Bestseller List. On September 6, 2007 she made Harlequin Enterprises history, by pulling off the rarest of triple plays—having her new novel, 74 Seaside Avenue, appear at the #1 position for paperback fiction on the New York Times, USAToday and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. These three highly respected bestseller lists are considered the bellwethers for a book's performance in the United States.

She threw out the first pitch in Seattle Mariners games at Safeco Field in 2007 and 2012. The Romance Writers of America presented Debbie with their prestigious 2010 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Macomber has mentored young people, is the international spokesperson for World Vision’s Knit for Kids and serves on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet. She was appointed an ambassador for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America national office in 1997.

Debbie and her husband, Wayne, raised four children and have numerous grandchildren. They live in Port Orchard, Washington and winter in Florida. When not writing, she enjoys knitting, traveling with Wayne and putting on Grandma Camps for her grandchildren, for whom she has built a four-star tree house behind her home in Port Orchard. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 3/11/2015.)

Book Reviews
Each unique character in this tale is suffering from one type of disaster or sadness that finds healing at the seaside inn in Cedar Cove. I found this to be a typical Debbie Macomber story filled to the brim with nostalgia and magical warmth and love. She has a wonderful way of leaving the reader with a stronger faith and belief in miracles by the end of the book. This is a most difficult book to put down until the very last page has been turned and left you with complete contentment. I truly loved this book in her new series of the town of Cedar Cove.
Fresh Fiction

The prolific Macomber introduces a spin-off of sorts from her popular Cedar Cove series, still set in that fictional small town but centered on Jo Marie Rose, a youngish widow who buys and operates the bed and breakfast of the title. This clever premise allows Macomber to craft stories around the B&B’s guests...while using Jo Marie and her ongoing recovery from the death of her husband Paul in Afghanistan as the series’ anchor.... With her characteristic optimism, Macomber provides fresh starts for both. — Patty Wetli

Debbie Macomber has written a charming, cathartic romance full of tasteful passion and good sense. Reading it is a lot like enjoying comfort food, as you know the book will end well and leave you feeling pleasant and content. The tone is warm and serene, and the characters are likable yet realistic. A quick, light read, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a wonderful novel that will keep the reader’s undivided attention.

Slow-paced, emotionally charged romance; the first in a planned series by best-selling genre novelist Macomber. Rose Harbor is...beautiful, a touch staid, full of folk who look and act the part of locals.... There, Jo Marie Rose has just moved to open a B&B. She had found romance...well, in her late 30s,...only to suffer the death of her husband in far-off Afghanistan.... Macomber's players are grief-ridden in different degrees and ways, and the saving grace of this book, full of explication and that the author recognizes that life is tough and that people need room to deal with that.... 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.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. Debbie chose a bed-and-breakfast in the fictional Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, Washington, as the backdrop for The Inn at Rose Harbor. How do you think the choice of a bed-and-breakfast versus a hotel or motel impacts the story? How is the depiction of Jo Marie’s bed-and-breakfast different or similar to your travel experiences?

2. In The Inn at Rose Harbor, the bed-and-breakfast turns out to be a place where its innkeeper and her guests heal from different kinds of heartache. Have you ever had a similar experience, where a trip or a stay in a certain place turned out to be so much more than you thought it would be, more than just a vacation or a respite from work and the stress of everyday living? If so, share the miracle of this trip and how it impacted your life, as the stay at the Rose Harbor Inn forever changed the lives of Jo Marie’s first two guests.

3. Cedar Cove quickly embraces Jo Marie Rose as one of its own. What qualities does Jo Marie possess that enable people to warm to her so openly? Do you think her ease in settling into the community of Cedar Cove had more to do with her personality or with the nature of the town—or both?

4. One of the recurrent themes in The Inn at Rose Harbor is second chances—that it’s never too late to start over, to adopt a fresh outlook on life. Which character struggling to overcome the past do you relate to the most and why?

5. As the story begins Richard is a difficult, unsympathetic character. Do you feel that he changes by the end of the book, and if so, how? Did his journey make you feel any different about someone in your life?

6. Jo Marie decides to have a rose garden planted at The Inn at Rose Harbor. What significance does this rose garden have for Jo Marie?

7. The one thing Josh hopes to retrieve from his stepfather when he returns to Cedar Cove is his late mother’s Bible. What memento or heirloom from a family member do you treasure and why?

8. Abby’s chance encounter with an old high school friend, who welcomes her back to Cedar Cove with honest enthusiasm, is the spark that gradually enables Abby to reconnect with those she loves and to begin to forgive herself. She also seeks forgiveness once again from Angela’s parents. Discuss the challenges and differences between forgiving yourself and forgiving others. Do you think one is more important than the other?

9. How does Jo Marie grow from the beginning of the story until the end? How have her guests, and her budding relationship with Mark, enriched her life and opened her to life’s possibilities?
(From the author's website.)

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