Silver Linings: A Rose Harbor Novel
Debbie Macomber graces us with yet another Cedar Cove tale with Silver Linings, the fourth in the Rose Harbor series. Jo Marie Rose, owner of Rose Harbor Inn is still grieving the loss of her military husband who perished in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan two years prior. She finds running her establishment helps to keep her mind off his death. Mark Taylor, her handyman, and she are becoming friends, and though they are often at odds with each other, they enjoy being together.
Mark is an excellent carpenter who is almost finished building Jo Marie a gazebo when he discloses his love for her; yet he quits his job, planning to leave town without giving her an explanation. It is not until after he is gone that Jo Marie realizes she also cares for him and needs to stop hanging onto her grief so she can open up to the love of another.
Best friends Coco Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy book rooms at the inn for their tenth high school reunion. Coco attended a dance after a football game with Ryan Temple in the fall of her senior year. Afterward he humiliates her, so now she wants to settle the score with the most popular boy in their class who did her wrong. For ten years she has carried hatred and her anger simmered, so now she is determined to put him in his place.
Katie also has a reason to attend. She led a difficult childhood, living in different foster homes, the last in Cedar Cove where she was placed with a family in October of her senior year. She is shy and introverted. When she does not understand the concepts of Algebra, her teacher suggests tutoring from geeky James Harper. At first, James wants only to play basketball with friends, but as he and Katie get better acquainted, Katie doesn’t find him to be a nerd, just exceptionally smart. They share their innermost thoughts and dreams and before long they realize they are in love.
At age 18, with Katie released from the system and she and James graduated, they are ready to move on with their lives. James, who is preparing for college proposes to her. Katie wants more than anything to be his wife. But his mother makes sure a marriage does not happen. She informs Katie that James' grandparents will not pay for his education if they marry. She recommends Katie make a clean break, and because Katie wants the best for him, she gives him a story about seeing others which hurts him tremendously. Katie, never getting over him, still cares deeply for him, and she has the need to explain her reason for abandoning him, with the hope they can reconnect.
Jo Marie, Coco, and Katie grapple with challenging emotions, each learning lessons in humility and forgiveness as well as dealing with pain. Back stories portray Coco's and Katie's teenage angst, along with their heartbreak. Jo Marie's loss and pain give insight into deeply felt emotions.
Reading Ms. Macomber's novels is like being with good friends, talking and sharing joys and sorrows, for her prose pulls the reader right into the account as though we are part of it. Her panache for hitting on human frailties is spot on, and her title is indeed apt, for the story conveys life can have silver linings.