Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber
One of my favorite writers from the past few decades is Debbie Macomber. Even though her stories are not Christian in nature, by far most of them are good clean reads. Two of her books featuring Mrs. Miracle have been made into movies and play at least annually around Christmas on the Hallmark Channel. Another group of cheery books she’s written involve a trio of angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. Their antics are absolutely rib tickling. One of the reasons I love her books is that she has a talent in developing character-centered tales while creating a unique sense of community. Blossom Street is one such series that I have enjoyed since 2004 when the first book of the series hit the shelves. I was delighted when she recently published #11, the Blossom Street Brides, and even more so when NetGalley released it for reviews.
If you are uncertain what the other books in the series are, here is a chronological list of the Blossom Street books:
1. The Shop on Blossom Street [May, 2004]
2. A Good Yarn [May, 2005]
2.5 What Amanda Wants (a novella) [October, 2005]
3. Susannah’s Garden [May, 2006]
4. Back on Blossom Street [May, 2007]
5. Christmas Letters [November, 2007]
6. Twenty Wishes [May, 2008]
7. Summer on Blossom Street [May, 2009]
8. Hannah’s List [May, 2010]
9. A Turn in the Road [May, 2011]
10. Starting Now [April, 2013]
11. Blossom Street Brides [March, 2014]
In this 10th book in the Blossom Street series (11th if you count the Christmas story on Blossom Street), three families intertwine and connect with each other as they face the trials and triumphs in their varying stages of life. Lauren, in her early thirties feels her inner time clock ticking down. She wants a home and family of her own, while Todd is still dealing with his career mobility. He neglects growing their relationship, so when she hears her younger sister has finally gotten pregnant, Lauren takes the plunge and breaks it off with him. Who would guess that so soon after, she would meet the love of her life? Is her new whirlwind romance interest the One? And can anything serious come from a man named Rooster?
While Lydia’s mom is in the throes of dementia, her adopted daughter Casey begins to experience horrific nightmares; Lydia and Brad are at a loss to know how to help her. She won’t talk about the dreams. In the meantime, Lydia’s business on Blossom Street, A Good Yarn, is suffering from the financial downturn. But a mystery knitting project has begun showing up in bus stops, parks, bowling alleys, and other places all around Seattle with her store’s tags on the yarn. The instructions say: “Knit me” and the knitters are further instructed to return the finished projects to her store where they will be collected and given to a charity for the homeless. Lydia has no idea who started this trend, but it has garnered attention from the press.
Bethanne, a friend of Lydia’s, is now married to Max and the owner of a successful party planning business. The problem is that his business is in California while hers is in Seattle. They have been married a year and still haven’t decided who should move. They need to decide soon, because the separation is placing a strain on their relationship. In addition, Bethanne’s former spouse, Grant, is trying to interfere by placing their daughter Annie between them. When tension increases, their daughter quits her job in support of her birth father and Bethanne is heartbroken.
Lauren’s best friend’s daughter is in college, when she calls her mother with the news she is pregnant. Elise freaks out and nearly ruins her close relationship with her daughter. Lauren then finds she must deal with her own floundering relationships with two men while trying to counsel her best friend. At one point, Elise interferes with Lauren’s love life to the point they nearly end their long time friendship.
Once again, Debbie Macomber creates a neighborhood with members who are vividly alive and dynamic. They have the same types of doubts and fears, trials and victories as we have. It isn’t difficult to find ourselves identifying with some of the members in this community because they are either like us or someone we know. As a result, we feel part of this small community. The pace is moderate, the suspense is light, the friendships are pleasant. If you enjoy character-driven plots and love being part of a small neighborhood, I think you will enjoy this book and series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”