Book Review: Rose Harbor in Bloom

Rose Harbor in Bloom (Rose Harbor #2)
Published By: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 2013
Page Count: 336
Source: Library
Audience: Adult - Fiction

Jo Marie Rose is back and this time she has new guests. Each novel in the series expands Jo Marie's story more while introducing new characters. I found that I enjoyed this novel even more than the first one.

Cedar Cove is such a warm, welcoming town. I found myself wanting to book a trip to stay at the Rose Harbor Inn on more than one occasion while reading this one. You must acquaint yourself with the town and its residents if you enjoy women's fiction. I haven't read the Cedar Cove series, but I am sure it is just as engaging and cozy. Several characters from the original series pop up from time to time in the Rose Harbor novels. It does make me curious to know more about them so I'm sure I'll get around to the Cedar Cove novels at some point.

I love that each novel focuses on different guests and the ones in this one are my favorite in the series so far. (My review of book #3 will be coming sometime this summer.) Annie Newton is in town to celebrate her grandparents' anniversary. She has based everything she knows about love on their relationship and she doesn't want to settle for anything less in a relationship of her own. She finds that planning the anniversary weekend helps keep her mind off her broken engagement, but things get hectic and distracting when Oliver, a guy from her past, shows up with her grandparents. Oliver is bent on getting Annie's attention, but she wants nothing to do with him after the embarrassment of her childhood infatuation with him. The relationship between Annie and Oliver was humorous and sweet.

The other guest this time around is Mary Smith. Mary has come to Cedar Cover for numerous reasons, but mainly it is to see the Pacific Northwest one final time. Mary has cancer and she's fighting it like the devil, but only time will tell if she will be victorious over the dreaded disease. Mary's thirst for advancement in her high powered career have left her past littered with regrets. She only hopes that she can right a few while she is in Cedar Cove. Her story reminds me that everyone deserves second chances.

While I loved both Annie and Mary, I felt that Jo Marie takes more of a backseat in this one. As I've already read book #3, I am happy to report that she shines in that one and some of my unresolved questions are answered.

Rose Harbor in Bloom is about reawakening and rebirth. Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary all have a chance to put their past behind them and move on to a brighter future of their choosing. This is the sort of novel I highly recommend for those times when you're feeling a little down. It is impossible to be sad when spending time with this trio of ladies. It's also nice to read a novel with romantic elements that I wouldn't mind giving to my grandmother to read. Sometimes I just want sweet and simple in the romance department. These novels also dull the ache I have for my beloved Pacific Northwest.

One Last Gripe: Annie's stubborn nature concerning Oliver bothered me at times.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The relationships

First Sentence: Rose Harbor was in bloom.

Favorite Character: Oliver

Least Favorite Character: Annie's former fiancee

Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it’s springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don’t always see eye-to-eye—and at times he seems far removed—yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing journeys.
Annie Newton arrives in town to orchestrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. While Annie is excited for the festivities, she’s struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. Worse, Annie is forced to see Oliver Sutton, with whom she grew up and who has always mercilessly teased her. But the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.
High-powered businesswoman Mary Smith, another Rose Harbor Inn guest, has achieved incredible success in her field, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole, lingering regret. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George Hudson, and now she’s returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.
Compassion and joy await Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary as they make peace with their pasts and look boldly toward their futures. Rose Harbor in Bloom is Debbie Macomber at her heartwarming best.