Macomber’s Rose Harbor series comes to a sweet end

$12.99 (USD) Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardback.
$12.99 (USD) Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardback.

Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber; women’s fiction; published by Random House; list price, $12.99 (USD) for Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardbound edition; and $13.35 (USD) paperback edition; Audible also available.

Debbie Macomber made me rethink women’s fiction, which hadn’t held any particular interest for me until I read my beautiful mom-by-marriage’s copies of the Blossom Street series.  I missed the earlier books in the Rose Harbor series, but I accepted Random House’s offer to read and review the final book in that series, and I’m glad I did.

Sweet Tomorrows is a sweet story, and it stands on its own quite well, as well as each title in the Blossom Street series and, in my opinion, much better than the long-running Cedar Cove series.

The Rose Harbor Inn, a bed-and-breakfast, is the center of this series, along with the heartbroken widow, Jo Marie Rose, who owns it.  Jo Marie has found healing for her hurting spirit here, and so have others who have visited or worked at the inn.  Such a premise could have been sickening at the hands of a lesser writer, but Macomber shows why she’s a perennial best-seller with this series. One of the ways she succeeds is in how she handles healing. She does not limit it to a physical cure, as so many in secular society do, but allows healing to be less – and therefore so much more – than a mere removal of physical ill and become a removal of dis-ease instead.  So much more powerful, and so much more realistic.

The stories are told in first-person, with different sections narrated by different characters.  Some readers dislike this device, but Macomber is skilled in creating distinctive voices for each character and both adept and experienced in employing this technique, whether in the context of one novel or over the course of a series.  I think it works just fine – better than an omniscient narrator or than restricting the storyline to one character’s perspective.

I find one fault with the novel, though many readers will not agree.  Onerose-harbor storyline, a romance between two wounded souls, develops with unrealistic rapidity. This is more common than not in romantic fiction, of course, and I suspect that many readers crave this speed.  My objection stems from observing too many instances of girls and young women expecting real life to match this pace and, as a result, ignoring small but serious red flags in their relationships.

All in all, though, I enjoyed this one and, if Mom hasn’t bought the others in the series, I will be getting them for both of us.

NOTE: Sis received an advanced reading copy from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for a review reflecting her opinions.  She is grateful to the author, the publisher and the service for this opportunity.

Description: The much-anticipated conclusion to Debbie Macomber’s beloved Rose Harbor series, set in the picturesque town of Cedar Cove, Sweet Tomorrows is a vibrant and poignant novel of letting go of fear, following your heart, and embracing the future—come what may. Nine months ago, Mark Taylor abruptly left Cedar Cove on a perilous mission to right a wrong from his past. Though Mark finally confessed his love for her, innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. The Rose Harbor Inn barely seems the same without Mark, but Jo Marie can’t bear to lose herself in grief once more. Determined to move forward, she begins dating again, and finds companionship when she takes on a boarder who is starting a new chapter herself. Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular—with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take. The inn seems to be working its magic again—Emily opening herself up to love, Jo Marie moving on—until Jo Marie receives shocking news. With Debbie Macomber’s trademark charm and wisdom, Sweet Tomorrows brings to a close the journeys of cherished characters who feel like old friends. Macomber has created an enchanting place in the Rose Harbor Inn that readers will never forget.