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Macomber's "Cedar Cove" series

September 20, 2013 - Jodelle Greiner
I’ve found a new favorite author, as well as a new reading obsession.

I started watching “Cedar Cove” on the Hallmark channel recently and liked it so much I picked up the first book in the series “16 Lighthouse Road” by Debbie Macomber.

The series revolves around the residents of Cedar Cove in Washington State. It’s the kind of place where people have known each other their whole lives, like best friends Olivia Lockhart and Grace Sherman.

Olivia is a judge making a name for herself by handing down unusual rulings. When local newspaperman Jack Griffin writes about Olivia’s decision to block a young couple’s divorce, she gets more attention than she bargained for. Divorced for a number of years herself, Olivia is worried about her daughter, Justine, who is seeing a much older man. Olivia’s mother Charlotte is well into her 70s and still a handful. Charlotte’s latest adventure is befriending an elderly stroke victim with a mysterious past that affects Grace’s life forever.

Olivia and Grace have always leaned on each other, and Grace really needs Olivia when her husband of 35 years, Dan Sherman, disappears. Grace is convinced Dan left her for another woman, but there are so many unanswered questions. Top on the list: where is Dan?

Macomber’s style is like a well-liked neighbor sitting down for coffee and chatting about what’s going on in town. She made her name in romantic fiction, but the Cedar Cove stories are stories about life, at every age and situation, from teenagers to the elderly. There’s plenty of romance, but Macomber adds mystery, too. The characters deal with work issues, health conditions, all kinds of family problems, legal woes, military life, the repercussions of Vietnam; births, deaths and everything in between.

Macomber populates Cedar Cove with lots of people, so the reader never gets bored. Some authors put a lot of characters in their novels and it winds up a confused mess because you can’t keep them straight or emotionally invest in anyone. That isn’t a problem with Macomber; she creates distinct, memorable characters the reader can instantly call to mind. There are some characters you will root for, some you won’t like and others who go through changes, and they all play their part in the storyline.

I’ve been reading these books one right after another. I’m in the middle of “6 Rainier Drive” and that’s about halfway through the series that includes 12 novels, two Christmas stories and a cookbook. Fun fact: The novel titles are all addresses of the characters’ homes in Cedar Cove. They all begin with numbers and the first number corresponds to the book’s position in the series. For example, “6 Rainier Drive” is the sixth book in the series.

I always recommend reading a series in order and especially so with “Cedar Cove.” Each novel has a story that is resolved by the book’s end, but Macomber continues some plotlines into the next novel, so characters’ lives can change quite a bit from one book to the next.

That’s another talent of Macomber’s. These stories don’t end with a marriage or a baby’s birth, they continue on in the next novel, just like life. That’s why they’re so addictive; you are always wondering what is going to happen next to your favorite characters.

If you’re looking for a new place to visit, head over to Cedar Cove for some coffee and a chat. You never know what you’ll learn.

 
 

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