BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review: 1022 Evergreen Place by Debbie Macomber

Book Blurb: Dear Reader: 

Guess what? I’m falling in love! With Mack McAfee. 

My baby daughter, Noelle, and I have been living next door to Mack since the spring. I’m still a little wary about our relationship, since I haven’t always made good decisions when it comes to men. My baby’s father, David Rhodes, is testament to that. I’m so worried he might sue for custody. 

In the meantime, the World War II letters I found are a wonderful distraction. Both Mack and I are trying to learn what happened to the soldier who wrote them and the woman he loved. 

Come by sometime for a glass of iced tea and I’ll show you the letters. Plus I’ll tell you the latest about Grace and Olivia, my brother Linc and his wife, Lori (who tied the knot about 5 minutes after they met!), and all our other mutual friends. Oh, and maybe Mack can join us… 

- Mary Jo Wyse
My Thoughts: 

While she's not one of my favorite authors,  I've read some Debbie Macomber book over the years. She has a homey, cozy style which can occasionally become cloying. This book mostly manages to avoid that.  It does have other problems, which I'll get to in a minute.

This book is #10 in her Cedar Cove series. Cedar Cove is a small town on the ocean in Washington State. There's a set cast of characters with one new character introduced in each book. Each book has a central couple but also has multiple secondary couples and plots. Unfortunately, it's reached the point now where there are so many characters, couples, plots and subplots that you need a map and a guidebook to keep track of them all.

The nominal main couple of this book is Mack McAfee and Mary Jo Wyse. However, Macomber abandons them for chapters at a time in order to give page time to all of the other characters. The viewpoint constantly changes, shifting each chapter to a new character, told in third person present. Some people find the constant perspective shift difficult or annoying to read; it's unquestionably hard for an author to pull off. Macomber is mildly successful; again, there's so much jumping around that at times the book is a jumble.

For instance, we see two minor characters, Christie and James, early on in the book then they disappear for almost 200 pages. When they reappeared in the story, I was confused as to who they were. I had to go back and read the character guide at the beginning of the book to refresh my memory. As a result of the constant jumping, the book is overstuffed with characters and plots, it's erratic, and there is no flow to the story. Additionally, ten books in, it reads less like a romance novel and more like a soap opera. 

Macomber does a good job of creating likable, yet fallible characters.  They feel real and the situations she puts them in are fairly realistic, despite the overall soap opera feel to the book. I liked Mary Jo and could relate to her, but Mack was harder for me. When the book begins, Mack has already (in prior books) lied several times to Mary Jo and he does it again. Now, lying is not unusual in real life, but it gave me a bad impression of him that never quite went away. Naturally, Mary Jo has trust issues resulting from her relationship with her daughter's father. You see where this is going, right? They eventually work out the trust issue but then Mary Jo believes that Mack, who proposes several times in this book and did at least once prior to this book, only wants to marry her so he can be a daddy to baby Noelle. Frankly, I believed it myself at times. I was actually more intrigued by Linc and Lori's story and hope that they get their

Overall, this book was ok but had potential to be so much more. Unless you are a devoted fan of this series or her books, don't bother with this one.
Publisher: Mira

This book was provided by NetGalley as an eARC.This review originally appeared at  Book Lovers Inc.

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