Book Review: 16 Lighthouse Road

Title: 16 Lighthouse Road
Series: Cedar Cove #1
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
Original publication on: September 1st, 2001

I read the Kindle ebook edition (thus no cover).

Date read: July 29th – July 30th 2013

Cedar Cove is a small town off at Washington coast (I think?), a relatively peaceful place in which everyone knows pretty much everyone – except for newcomers. Such a newcomer is Jack Griffin, the new editor of the Cedar Cove newspaper. He’s intrigued by the local judge Olivia Lockhart’s decision when she does not grant a couple a divorce due to legal entanglements, at least on the surface.
the couple in question are Cecelia and Ian Randall, who have become estranged since their baby daughter died soon after the birth.
Then there are Charlotte, Olivia’s mother, and Grace, Olivia’s best friend, who have their share of excitement and worries.
And of course we can’t leave out Olivia’s fractured relationship with her own daughter, Justine, and the divorce that happened 15 years ago.
In short, this is the story of Cedar Cove, and pretty much the whole town is somehow involved.

Sometimes I think that Nora Roberts has ruined the whole genre romance for me.
By all means, Debbie Macomber’s 16 Lighthouse Road is much more realistic than Nora’s attractive-hero-and-heroine-fall-madly-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after but there is certain magic around Nora’s world. You know it’s rarely real, yet you can’t stop dreaming about it.

In contrast, I was surprised to find out that so many people in Cedar Cove either had gone through a divorce, was going through one or was going to go get one. That made me think that perhaps 16 Lighthouse Road wasn’t a romance novel after all?
Rest assured, this first book in the Cedar Cove series is definitely a romance novel. But not Nora’s passionate-and-soulmate kind.

What set 16 Lighthouse Road apart from other romance novels I read was that there was no one main couple, and that many protagonists were in their 50s, who have, yep, gone through a divorce or are contemplating one.
This struck me as unusual – no offense to anyone but I had to think about my own parents the whole time I read the book, and how they would never behave and talk the way Olivia and Jack did even if they weren’t married anymore and seeing other people. Actually, they – my parents – probably won’t see anyone, period. But then again, maybe it’s the Asian way. Arghhh I don’t know.
Olivia and Jack each have a divorce under their belt, and their children are grown, in the late-20s, but except for a few mentions of their age and thinning hair etc., there is no significant difference that marks their maturity, something that says “yes, I’m in my 50s and proud of it”.
I’m not saying people at 30 are not mature. And I’m all for “you are as old as you feel” rah-rah. And yet they felt so… young. I guess I’m categorizing people according to their age, and I offer a sincere apology for that. Yeah, yeah, I’m only 19, what do I know of being middle age? Maybe that’s why I’m so bewildered. It’s the combination of living “young”, small town concept, and a woman in her 50s who has managed to keep her figure (no one in her/his 50s that I know has managed that).

My favorite part was definitely the story of Cecelia and Ian, who at first never ceased to frustrate me but it felt so right to see them sort out their problems – gradually, and tentatively.
Other subplots – Justine’s, for example, although I hear she has her own book in the series,  or Charlotte’s – were neatly tied off at the end. One was too neat, in my opinion, and way too rash. But I guess that’s the way it is in real world, too. In some cases, anyway.
Two “issues” weren’t solved, though, and that’s because the next book opens with one of them.

To be fair, 16 Lighthouse Road does have its own charm, some irresistible force that makes me think well of the book. It was not remarkable, at times even sluggish. But something about the book left a positive impression on me.
I probably won’t be continuing the series, though.

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