Debbie Macomber's books are comfort reads, but don't get too comfortable. There are sometimes surprises in her books, as in Silver Linings.
Macomber takes readers back to the Rose Harbor Inn in Cedar Cove, Washington, where widow Jo Marie Rose has now owned the bed-and-breakfast for eighteen months. She bought the inn after her husband was declared missing, presumed dead, in Afghanistan. And, she felt his presence, assuring her the inn would be a refuge for her, a place to heal, and a place where her guests could heal. She continued to grieve there after Paul was determined to have died in the war. At least she had the friendship of her handyman, Mark Taylor.
When two guests show up at the inn, planning to attend their tenth class reunion, Jo Marie has just received a terrible shock. Mark tells her he's leaving, and despite their growing attachment, he won't reveal where he's going, or why he's leaving Cedar Cove. Despite her anger, Jo Marie welcomes Coco and Katie, two women who returned for special reasons. Coco is there to confront a man who humiliated her ten years earlier. Katie is there to look for the man she's never forgotten, the fellow student she still loves. But, Jo Marie could tell them that life doesn't turn out as expected, and the class reunion won't be what either woman expects.
I've said before that I read for character. I enjoy watching changes in characters, watching relationships and growth. The Rose Harbor novels introduce likable characters, develop a storyline that makes readers care for those characters, and then those characters leave the inn, leaving Jo Marie alone again, and the reader hoping that relationships develop. Fortunately, Macomber usually wraps up the storylines, giving us happy endings.
But, not always. And, I have to respect Debbie Macomber for showing that life isn't always wrapped up in pretty packages. Oh, I know it's a shrewd move on the part of an author. We'll return for the next in the series to see what happens. But, like Macomber, I'm not going to tell you what happens with any of the three women in the book. You'll have to read Silver Linings to find answers, and to find what's left unanswered.
Debbie Macomber's website is www.debbiemacomber.com
Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books. 2015. ISBN 9780553391800 (hardcover), 331p.
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