In Rose Harbor in Bloom, beloved author Debbie Macomber returns to the bucolic small town of Cedar Cove and the Rose Harbor Inn, where proprietor Jo Marie is anticipating the arrival of several guests. Mary Smith, with a scarf covering her shorn hair, checks in first. Mary reveals little of the reasons for her visit to Cedar Cove, but it is clear that she is gravely ill. Readers soon learn that she’s there to see her first and only love, and to seek forgiveness for a life-altering decision made during her youth.

Next to arrive is Annie Newton, who is organizing her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary gala. With their lengthy and happy marriage, Kent and Julie Shivers inspired Annie’s conviction that love can last forever. But much to Annie’s shock, her grandparents are sniping at each other and arguing nearly nonstop. What is going on with the once happily married couple—and did Annie inadvertently cause their conflict? If that wasn’t enough, Annie is also trying to cope with her ex-fiancé’s stubborn refusal to accept the end of their engagement—and the arrival of Oliver Sutton, who gave Annie a first kiss she has never forgotten.

The stories of these five guests are interwoven with the events of Jo Marie’s daily life as she awaits news about her husband, who’s been reported missing after a military helicopter crash. She also carries on an intriguing, albeit often frustrating, friendship with the irascible Mark, whose interpretation of his duties as the inn’s handyman clashes with Jo Marie’s independent spirit.

Each of these stories explores the difficult choices that impact our lives and change the course of our futures; how our perceptions of other’s actions may, or may not, be valid; and the necessity of strength and forgiveness in our lives. Seeing characters from previous Cedar Cove books appear at the Rose Harbor Inn is an additional pleasure. As always, Macomber uses warmth, humor and superb storytelling skills to deliver a tale that charms and entertains.

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