Debbie Macomber has a writing style that incorporates that small town “I know everyone” feeling into her stories. She has used this style successfully many times. Now she is using it in her Cedar Cove, Washington series. 204 Rosewood Lane is the second entry in the series and she promises many more in her intro letter.
Have you ever come late to a movie, and realized that you missed some important stuff in those few minutes? This is my strongest criticism of this story. It literally picks up where the first entry, 16 Lighthouse Road, ends. As a series, that makes some sense. As a stand-alone novel, it makes for a convoluted, often confusing and uneven read.
This also makes the book difficult to describe. There are a few primary characters, but no true hero and heroine. There is no primary romance. There is a nice montage of intertwining stories that blend together to give one a true sense of this little town outside Seattle.
Grace is trying to put her life back together after her husband of 35 years suddenly left her with no word or warning. She has filed for divorce, although she struggles with a lack of closure and cautiously looks at the possibilities of a new relationship. For fans from 16 Lighthouse Road, the end of the book clears up his mysterious disappearance.
Grace has two daughters, Kelly and Maryellen. Maryellen’s story is engaging and one of the bright spots in the hodgepodge. It actually starts in this entry, so one is in on the plot right from the beginning.
Olivia, Grace’s best friend, is the closest thing to a main heroine and her story also started way back. Her romance with Jack, a reporter and recovering alcoholic is intriguing, but ultimately unsatisfying, as it is apparently one of the primary questions left for the third entry in the series.
Seth and Justine are another couple that sees some happiness in this segment and it is a fun story, with a nice happy ever after. Their chef Jon, who is also a photographer, plays a big part in Maryellen’s story.
I could go on, but I don’t want to confuse you. As you might have inferred, my biggest issue with this story is the large cast with little detail in the character development. However, once I understood the players, and realized detail and in depth characters were not on the plate, I did enjoy the taste. There was a lot of activity and intrigue in these lives, but not much heart to heart romance.
If you are a Macomber fan and enjoyed 16 Lighthouse Road and her style of writing, I would not hesitate to say 204 Rosewood Lane is a nice continuation. If you are not so fortunate, you may want to regroup and try that one first.