16 Lighthouse Road

50 Harbor Street

92 Pacific Boulevard

204 Rosewood Lane

Buffalo Valley

Can This Be Christmas?

Dakota Home

A Good Yarn

Lone Star Baby

Montana

Moon Over Water

The Snow Bride

Susannah’s Garden

When Christmas Comes

 
1022 Evergreen Place
by Debbie Macomber
(Mira, $7.99, G) ISBN 978-07783-2806-3
***
Debbie Macomber has written 10 years worth of stories about Cedar Cove, Washington and this entry covers a lot of ground. Some of the original characters like Olivia Griffin and her friend Grace along with the McAfees are still playing a big role in the town and the stories. Much of this tale centers on the younger generation, however.

Mack McAfee is the son of Roy and Corrie and is in love with a woman who he met in the last story. Mary Jo Wyse and her eleven-month-old daughter Noelle share a duplex with Mack and they have so far had an off again – on again romance. This story centers on their search for the people who wrote some letters to each other in World War II; letters that Mary Jo found in the house. The barrier to their romance is Mary Jo’s old boyfriend and the father of Noelle. David Rhodes is not presented in a good light, and thus is the villain in the tale. He keeps threatening to take Noelle from Mary Jo if she seeks to either gain child support or go for permanent and single custody. Mack wants to fight him, but Mary Jo, who was raised by four overprotective brothers, resents that Mack wants to “protect” her too.

Another main story follows Will Jefferson, who is Olivia’s brother. Past stories have shown him to have been unfaithful to his wife and he is still trying to change people’s perception of his character. He is falling for Shirley Bliss, who has a teenage daughter, Tanni. To gain favor, Will connected with an old artist friend, Larry Knight, to help get Tanni’s boyfriend into an art school in California. But Shirley remains unaffected and in fact, seems to have fallen for Larry. Tanni meanwhile struggles with a long distance relationship and finding friends at school.

Then we have Bruce and Rachel Peyton and their daughter Jolene. Bruce and Rachel met and married in previous stories and now they are showing signs of struggle since Jolene has not adapted well to having a stepmother. Their tension revolves around that fact and Rachel’s unexpected pregnancy.

Small town life is revealed and we see how lives are intrinsically connected. There is some romance, but it is not the highlight. There is some mystery, but it there as a means to communication between the couple. There are family battles, including the big shot in town, Leonard Bellamy trying to break up his newly married daughter Lori and her husband Linc, who is also Mary Jo’s brother. And there are new relationships forming such as the one between Gloria Ashton (who is a long lost daughter of the McAfees) and a handsome doctor.

If a reader has followed the series, then this book will fall in lockstep and one will enjoy the casual writing style and down home feelings that the stories bring out. If one has not read a Cedar Grove story, this is probably not the place to start. Yes, one can catch up but the sheer number of characters is daunting when starting out, even for me, who has read some of the books.

A Macomber is a Macomber and as I read some of my previous reviews of the Cedar Cove stories, it seems like my conclusion is generally the same. This is a series and for that it has a great niche. This entry fits right in and fans will be glad they visited 1022 Evergreen Place.

--Shirley Lyons


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