Judith D Collins
By: Debbie Macomber
Rose Harbor Series
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 8/2/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars 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.
A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Gifted storyteller, Debbie Macomber returns following Silver Linings #4 (2015) with her final installment in the much loved charming Rose Harbor series, SWEET TOMORROWS —an inspiring story of overcoming tragedy with hope, healing, and love--- and a special place that touches lives from past, present, and future. Written from four different points of view, we hear from some of our familiar characters we met through the journey in the Rose Harbor Series, and some new ones; each on their own troubled course. Jo Marie Rose quit her corporate job and purchased a bed-and- breakfast inn,and named it after her deceased husband, known as the Rose Harbor Inn in the first book. Rose for Paul, and Harbor, because she gambled that this next unexpected curve in the roadway of her life would become a harbor of healing for her, and it had. As an added bonus, it seemed the inn had the power to help others heal, as well. She never thought she would fall in love again until she met Mark Taylor, the mysterious handyman, and the adopted dog named, Rover. Mark had been a constant for two years. If you have read the previous books, you met a man which was grumpy, non-communicative, and sometimes unpleasant. As time went on, he became her friend. He loved her home-baked cookies. However, just when Jo Marie was starting to fall in love, abruptly Mark announced he was leaving Cedar Cove with no intention of returning where we left off with the last book. Readers have been dying to hear and his story, and all will make sense in this installment. Mark had been in the military, the very service that had claimed her husband’s life. He had gotten out of the Middle East unscathed, but at a terrible price. He’d been forced to leave behind an Iraqui friend he'd worked with, an informant who’d become as close to him as a brother. Mark viewed himself as a coward for not saving him and his family. He was going back with life-threatening risks. He wanted to spare Jo Marie the pain of dealing with another loss, the death of someone else who loved her. She knew it could be a suicide mission. That was nine months earlier and not a single word. Until one day. Possible hope, is he still alive?
Often it was easier for Jo Marie to accept Mark was dead. She refused to go through this a second time. In the meantime, she had her friends, Peggy and Bog, Grace, and her friend Dana. She also had her inn, gardening, and a new boarder, Emily Gaffney. Typically Jo Marie did not rent to longer term tenants; however, she decided to accept a resident over the summer, renting on a week to week basis. She was a teacher and schools had let out for the summer, and wanted to settle in the area to buy a house. She needed a place to move fast and Jo Marie thought it would be nice to have the company. Emily quickly learns the ins and outs of the inn to help out Jo Marie and the two become friends. She keeps her past to herself, but Jo Marie senses there has been some hurt or heartache. She had been in love twice and both ended badly. Two broken engagements. Because of these two men, she had decided to move away from Seattle and accept a job with the Cedar Cove School District. Leading her to take the week by week agreement with Jo Marie at Rose Harbor Inn. She felt solace and peace at the inn. She was done with men and romance. While looking for a home, Emily meets good looking mysterious (no so nice) man with the German shepherd, Elvis and owner, Nick Schwartz. Also her dream home happened to belong to this man. Nick suffers from his own tragedy—his brother’s death, he still feels guilt. From panic attacks to PTSD, a wounded soul of a man, and a haunting tragedy. (Mark and Nick have similar personalities, and haunting pasts). We also hear from Mark, while he is away on his mission to find his friend and former informant, and bring him, his wife, and two children, safely out of the country. Readers also learn the mysterious side of Mark, and the strong love he has for Jo Marie. Between Jo Marie and Mark and Emily and Nick, these two couples understood emotional pain and loss, all too well, as well as physical. Will Jo Marie move with another man before Mark returns? Will Emily and Mark be able to put their fears and painful past to move on to a future? A huge fan of the Cedar Cove series, I fell in love with the characters in Rose Harbor, as well (have read them all). • When First They Met (Rose Harbor #0.5) • The Inn at Rose Harbor (Rose Harbor #1) • Lost and Found in Cedar Cove (Rose Harbor, #1.5) • Rose Harbor in Bloom (Rose Harbor, #2) • Love Letters (Rose Harbor #3) • Falling for Her (Rose Harbor #3.5) • Silver Linings (Rose Harbor #4) • Sweet Tomorrows (Rose Harbor #5) Highly recommend reading all the books in the series in order to get the full Macomber experience; however, Debbie provides new readers a good recap, in order to catch up. What a delightful series and a perfect heartwarming wrap up! Debbie Macomber creates such realistic characters and beautiful lush settings, drawing you into their everyday world of pain and struggles. You come to care about the characters and their lives, rooting for them to the end. Will be sad the series is ending, as was hoping for another TV series; and was bummed with the latest cancellation of Cedar Cove. SWEET TOMORROWS was my favorite of the series! Bittersweet. If you have not read Macomber’s personal story, she is quite the inspiration. Empowering! An encouraging story for aspiring writers. With more than 200 million copies of her books in print, and more than 950 weeks collectively spent on the New York Times best-sellers lists, plus her Hallmark Christmas shows, Cedar Cove series, and many other endeavors, her credentials back up her claims. She has a God-given talent, and look forward to many more new book series, and keeping my fingers crossed for more return TV series down the road. Read more .
On a personal note: Loved of course, the bed-and-breakfast setting. Can relate in so many ways. I too, moved to a new city, and stayed at a bed and breakfast inn for a short term move to open an office for the company I worked with, at the time. While renting one of the property's cottages for six months, fell in love with the owners and the area. Later relocated and began working as their consultant. That was over ten years ago, and they still are a major client of mine today. I have been fortunate to be a part of their exciting journey-adding fifteen additional properties, since this time. You always meet interesting people at bed-and-breakfast inns! You never know how paths connect, as in Debbie Macomber's books.
About the Author
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 950 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Ten of these novels hit the number one spot.
A devoted grandmother, Debbie and her husband Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington (the town in which her Cedar Cove novels are based) and winter in Florida. Read More