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204 Rosewood Lane

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Can This Be Christmas?

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A Good Yarn

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Moon Over Water

The Snow Bride

When Christmas Comes

50 Harbor Street
by Debbie Macomber
(Mira, $7.50, PG) ISBN 07783-2208-4
Fans of the Cedar Cove stories will be thrilled to visit the town once again. If you have not read the previous tales, even the character introductions will not help you keep track of all the stories going on simultaneously. 50 Harbor Street is pure Macomber, however, which means it reads just like her other tales with no new ground broken.

This time the story revisits the McAfees, who are receiving mysterious and almost threatening postcards and gifts. They don’t seem ominous, yet they are disturbing because of their puzzling messages about regrets and the past coming to find you. Readers are introduced to Linnette McAfee, their daughter, as she begins her career as a Physician’s Assistant at the brand new medical clinic. Her love life is one of the highlighted relationships.

Grace and Cliff’s on-again off again relationship undergoes more ups and downs throughout the story, while Cliff’s hired hand Cal Washburn plays a role with Linnette. Maryellen and Jon find out they are expecting baby number two. Charlotte and Ben settle into married life and find their extended families presenting challenges to their happiness.

The Navy wives and girlfriends find their husbands shipped out to sea and have to adjust to the waiting game. Ian and Cecelia have tough choices to make about children while Rachel has to decide between Nate, the sailor and Bruce the divorcee who wants a relationship with her. Finally, the Cox’s daughter Allison has teenage angst and maturing to do as her new boyfriend deals with some issues with the law.

Macomber once again takes us to Cedar Cove and makes the reader feel at home. The story is well paced and skips from face to face and from chapter to chapter. As noted in the prologue, it has been a year since the last visit and Macomber does not waste a lot of time on backstory. For those who are up on the series, this works. For those of us who haven’t read the stories for a year, it did take a while to remember who was who and what had occurred in previous books.

Because there are so many characters and so many stories going on, there is not a lot of depth to the majority of the characters. It was hard to completely understand why Cliff was resisting Grace and why Ian was scared about having more children. Many of the women characters were better defined, making some of the relationships less than satisfactory. Overall, however, it was enjoyable watching the different couples find their niches. One slight complaint is that this tale reads just like the other Cedar Cove novels. Many of the problems are relationship driven, so there is not a lot of action. The “mystery” of the postcards is not action oriented. Characterization is the plot device and there are plenty of them.

50 Harbor Street is a nice way to spend your time, especially if you have read the series. It does not stand alone, however, and I would seriously consider starting at the beginning if you want to get the breadth of the variety of stories and inferences from past books. “Homey” is the ingredient you must enjoy to savor the taste.

--Shirley Lyons

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