They possess complex personalities, but it is their kinder qualities that are emphasized in the warm world of her novels--a world much like Rose Harbor Inn, in which one wants to curl up and stay. Chapter 1 Rose Harbor was in bloom. Purple rhododendrons and red azaleas dotted the property. I stood on the porch, leaning against the thick white post, and looked over the property for my bed-and-breakfast. The Inn at Rose Harbor was beautifully scripted on the wooden sign and was prominently displayed in the front of the yard along with my name, Jo Marie Rose, as proprietor.
I never planned on owning or operating a bed-and-breakfast. But then I never expected to be a widow in my thirties, either. If I'd learned anything in this road called life it's that it often takes unexpected turns, rerouting us from the very path that had once seemed so right. My friends advised me against purchasing the inn. They felt the move was too drastic: Many thought I should wait at least a year after losing Paul.
But my friends were wrong. I'd found peace at the inn, and somewhat to my surprise, a certain contentment. Until I purchased the inn, I'd lived in a condo in the heart of downtown Seattle. Because of my job and other responsibilities, I hadn't had pets, well, other than as a youngster. In only a few short months, I'd grown especially fond of him; he'd become my shadow, my constant companion. Grace volunteered at the local animal shelter, and she'd recommended I adopt a dog. I thought I wanted a German shepherd. Instead I'd come home with this indiscriminate mixed-breed short-haired mutt.
The shelter had dubbed him Rover because it was clear he'd been on his own, roaming about for a good long time. My musings were interrupted by mutterings from the area where I planned to plant a rose garden and eventually add a gazebo. The sound came from Mark Taylor, the handyman I'd hired to construct the sign that stood in the front yard. Mark was an interesting character. I'd given him plenty of work, but I had yet to figure out if he considered me a friend. He acted like my friend most of the time, but then every so often he turned into a grumpy, unlikable, cantankerous, unreasonable.
Apparently, the ill-tempered monster had returned. Months ago I'd asked Mark to dig up a large portion of the yard for a rose garden. He'd told me this project would be low on his priority list. He seemed to work on it when the mood struck him, which unfortunately wasn't often, but still I thought a month or two would be adequate in between the other projects he'd done for me. To be fair to Mark, though, it'd been a harsh winter.
Still, my expectations hadn't been met. I'd wanted the rosebushes planted by now.
I'd so hoped to have the garden in full bloom in time for the open house I planned to host for the Cedar Cove Chamber of Commerce. The problem, or at least one of them, was the fact that Mark was a perfectionist. He must have taken a week simply to measure the yard. String and chalk markings crisscrossed from one end of the freshly mowed lawn to the other. Yes, Mark had insisted on mowing it first before he measured.
Normally, I'm not this impatient, but enough was enough. Mark was a skilled handyman. I had yet to find anything he couldn't do. He was an all-purpose kind of guy, and most of the time I felt lucky to have him around. It seemed as time progressed I found more and more small jobs that required his attention. New to this business and not so handy myself, I needed someone I could rely on to make minor repairs. As a result, the plans for the rose garden had basically been ignored until the very last minute. At the rate Mark worked, I'd resigned myself to the fact that it wasn't possible for it to be ready before Sunday afternoon.
I watched as he straightened and wiped his forearm across his brow. Looking up, he seemed to notice I was still watching him from the porch. All Mark needed was one derogatory word from me as an excuse to leave for the day. I couldn't help being disappointed, and it would have been easy to follow through with a few well-chosen words. Instead, I smiled ever so sweetly, determined to hold my tongue.
All I could say was that it was a good thing Mark charged by the job and not by the hour. The invitations were mailed, and the event, ready or not, was scheduled for this very weekend. It would be nothing short of a miracle if Mark finished before then.
No need to get upset about it now. Actually, I was as much at fault for this delay as Mark. Often before he ever started work, I'd invite him in for coffee. I'd discovered that he was as interesting as he was prickly. Perhaps most surprising of all was that he'd become one of my closest friends in Cedar Cove, so naturally I wanted to find out what I could about him. The problem was he wasn't much of a talker. I'd learned more about him while playing Scrabble than in conversation. He was smart and competitive, and he had a huge vocabulary.
Even now, after five months, he avoided questions and never talked about anything personal. I didn't know if he'd ever been married or if he had family in the area. Despite all our conversations, most of what I knew about him I'd deduced on my own. He didn't like talking on the phone, and he had a sweet tooth. He tended to be a perfectionist, and he took his own sweet time on a project.
That was the sum total of everything I'd learned about a man I saw on average four or five times a week. He seemed to enjoy our chats, but I wasn't fooled. It wasn't my wit and charm that interested him--it was the cookies that often accompanied our visits. If I hadn't been so curious about him he probably would have gone straight to work.
Well, from this point forward I would be too busy for what I called our coffee break. Grumbling under his breath, Mark returned to digging up the grass and stacking squares of it around the edges of the cleared space. He cut away each section as if he was serving up precise portions of wedding cake. Despite my frustration with the delay and his persnickety ways, I continued to lean against the porch column and watch him work.
The day was bright and sunny. I wasn't about to let all that sunshine go to waste. Window washing, especially the outside ones, was one of my least favorite tasks, but it needed to be done. I figured there was no time like the present. The hot water had turned lukewarm by the time I dipped the sponge into the plastic bucket.
Glancing up at the taller windows, I exhaled and dragged the ladder closer to the side of the house. If Paul were alive, I realized, he'd be the one climbing the ladder. I shook my head to remind myself that if Paul were alive I wouldn't own this inn or be living in Cedar Cove in the first place. Sometimes I wondered if Paul would even recognize the woman I'd become in the last year. I wore my thick, dark hair much longer these days.
Most of the time I tied it at the base of my neck with a scrunchie. My hair, which had always been professionally groomed for the office, had grown to the point that when I let it hang free, the tendrils bounced against the top of my shoulders. Mark, who rarely commented on anything, made a point of letting me know I looked like I was still a teenager. I took it as a compliment, although I was fairly certain that wasn't his intent.
I doubt Mark has spent much time around women, because he could make the rudest comments and hardly seem aware of what he'd said. My hairstyle wasn't the only change in my appearance. Gone were the crisp business suits, pencil skirts, and fitted jackets that were the customary uniform for my position at the bank. These days it was mostly jeans and a sweater beneath a bib apron. One of the surprises of owning the inn was how much I enjoyed cooking and baking. I often spent the mornings in my kitchen whipping up a batch of this or that.
Rose in Bloom
Until I purchased the inn there hadn't been much opportunity to create elaborate meals. Baking distracts me and provides afternoon treats for my guests and wonderful muffins and breads I take such pride in serving for the breakfasts. I'd put on a few pounds, too, no thanks to all the baking I did, but I was working on losing weight. Thankfully, my favorite jeans still fit.
Aug 04, Rachel rated it it was amazing. For many years until I read Jane Eyre the second time , this was my absolute favorite book. It is perhaps the reason I love 'nerds. Darcy, I grew up loving Mac. He was my ideal love interest. He suffered long and noblely for love of Rose and I admired that with all of my little heart. I dreamed of being Rose. Of course, I would have accepted him at once instead of stringing him along so. This is a delightful book and well worth the read, even if you don't fall in love with Mac.
View all 40 comments. Sep 25, Cozette rated it really liked it. I actually liked Alcott's Rose series much better than the Little Women series. Well, what can I say? FYI, I've never had a fictional crush before, no matter how perfect the heroes are I still didn't feel anything for them. I'm not crushing on the perfect Mr. Darcy, and I am definitely annoyed with a certain vampire-you know who-out there instead of squealing at the mentio Well, what can I say?
Darcy, and I am definitely annoyed with a certain vampire-you know who-out there instead of squealing at the mention of his name. The perfect ones are only exist in books and movies I'm talking about personality here, not just the outer look. Therefore while many women and girls are seeking for their "Mr.
I just can't believe that such a man exist in this world, so what's the point of crushing on him? But it's an entirely different story with Mac. In Eight Cousins I just like him, nothing more. As I watch him grow in Rose in Bloom I can't help it but fell for him. He is a book worm, not good looking, awkward, and absent-minded sometimes, he is far from perfect.
But those humanly flaws are what make him real, make me think that I can find someone like him out there. Simply put, I have found everything that I'm looking for in a man within Mac. Now I know for sure what my criteria of a perfect man is. Yea, pathetic and shocking as it is, but it seems that all this time I myself didn't know what I've been looking for.. And now about the rating.
True, the story itself is not something so amazing or incredible, but since I've always love this kind of stories it's heartwarming, sweet and nostalgic and of course because of Mac, I'll give this one 5 stars without him it will be four like the prequel. So, I kinda thought the preaching was done when I started this one. Rose is grown up, she and Phebe and Uncle Alec have just returned from a year abroad, where Phebe has trained to be a singer. Now Rose is ready to be launched on society, and most of the boy cousins are grown.
It starts out very promising, and though I never normally root for cousins to marry, here you're rooting for Rose to choose one of her brilliant cousins and live happily ever after. But of course it's not that easy. First So, I kinda thought the preaching was done when I started this one.
First Rose has to make the very hard decision of whether or not she will enjoy a brief, restrained season of frivolity, complete with wearing nice gowns and dancing. Rose spends the rest of the book buying clothes and housing for orphans, preaching the evils of frivolity, and simultaneously demanding that her cousins prove they are morally and intellectually good enough to even hold her hand, and arguing that she isn't good enough for anyone to love.
It becomes exhausting, and annoying. Jun 04, Angie rated it really liked it Shelves: I have several aunts who are readers. And they have always looked after me when it comes to sending books they think I'd like my way. Particularly during my formative reading years. To this day, many of the books nearest and dearest to my heart came to me in the mail from one of my aunts. When I was twelve or so, my Aunt Becky sent me a lesser known book which I had never heard of by a very well known author which I had.
It is also actually a sequel to her earlier book Eight Cousins. I didn't know this at the time, though, and so I cracked it open completely unaware of what to expect in the way of the writing, the style, or the characters. I've read it many times, though I realized it's been quite a few years since I picked it up last. But Rose's coming of age story, her love for her family, and the important dilemmas she faces never fail to make me feel nostalgic and want to return to spend more time with her. Rose Campbell has been traveling abroad with her Uncle Alec and her maid, friend, and companion Phebe for the last several years.
Now she has come of age, come into her inheritance, and come home to Aunt Hill--the family stronghold--to reacquaint herself with her seven male cousins as well as her family's expectations that she settle down and marry one of them at once. But Rose has grown up quite a bit in the intervening years and is not at all sure she's ready for matrimony.
Surprising the whole clan by insisting upon establishing herself as an independent woman before choosing a husband, she holds their uneasiness and disapproval at bay and takes her own time evaluating her options and settling on a course of action. Meanwhile, the various aunts are in various states of uproar and decline. Her former maid and now friend Phebe is caught uncomfortably between two worlds as she is forced to determine what she will do with her life now that Rose has no official need of her and she has little money of her own.
And then there are the boys. The seven boys who've unexpectedly grown into men and who are each so very different and each have their own unique relationship with their cousin Rose. Their wildly different personalities, habits, and desires at times clash with their parents' wishes and their choices, along with Rose's, dramatically affect every member of the Campbell family over the course of the novel. I'm always amazed at how few people I know have actually read or even heard of this book.
I realize it will always be overshadowed by Little Women , but ROSE IN BLOOM is a perfectly lovely, sweet read about a kind, thoughtful, and forward-thinking young woman and how she comes of age and learns several important things about herself and the world around her and is a force for good in binding the wayward members of her family together. The opening passage, to give you a feel for what's in store: Three young men stood together on a wharf one bright October day awaiting the arrival of an ocean steamer with an impatience which found a vent in lively skirmishes with a small lad, who pervaded the premises like a will-o'-the-wisp and afforded much amusement to the other groups assembled there.
The elder is Archie, a most exemplary young man. He has just gone into business with the merchant uncle and bids fair to be an honor to his family. The other, with the eyeglasses and no gloves, is Mac, the odd one, just out of college. Mercy on us--he'll be in if they don't hold on to him! When I first read it, this book reminded me quite a bit of Anne of Green Gables and, though overall a less complicated and somewhat rosier tale, it is not without its heart-wrenching moments and instances of tragedy.
I appreciated the way Alcott addressed the many vices and challenges young men and women in their early twenties face and it never fails to surprise me how those hurdles have not changed so very much since this book was first published in It's interesting to me that it is so often billed as a children's book, as the themes it explores seem much older to me.
Particularly as Rose does, in the end, come to an informed if painful and complicated decision as to where her heart lies. But then I read it first when I was twelve, and again every couple of years after that, and gained something new every time I did. How sad it must be to never re-read good books and never experience that unforgettable moment of realization that both you and the book have brought more to the table than was there the last time you met. Recommended, unsurprisingly, for fans of Alcott, Montgomery, and Eva Ibbotson.
Sep 22, Alisha rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a comfort read, one I've always had warm feelings for. Rose in Bloom picks up a few years after Eight Cousins. Rose is around 20 now, and returning from a trip abroad with Uncle and Phebe. Naturally, everyone assumes that she will marry soon, but she wants to look around a little first and do something worthwhile.
She settles on philanthropy as a career, but not before trying some of the pleasures of the high life, the parties and late nights of frivolous society. This does her no real ha This is a comfort read, one I've always had warm feelings for. This does her no real harm, but confirms to her that life has more to offer. Her cousin Charlie is determined to marry her, and Rose's feelings are on the fence about this cousin.
I personally think she was trying too hard to love him, when he had done so little worthy of respect. Nevertheless, Rose thinks that maybe someday Charlie will be her ideal. This time through I wasn't really on board with Alcott's decision about Charlie's fate I feel like it conveniently took Charlie out of the way so that Rose didn't really have to make up her mind about him. BUT now we come to Mac. Her bookish, slightly antisocial cousin. Mac and Rose have always been decent friends; she knows how to take him and doesn't get worried by his uniqueness.
In this book he shows his real potential. He has a good heart and faultless instincts; he is kind and sincere; he stands apart from society but doesn't judge it too harshly and is good-natured enough to participate in the social scene when he needs to and with a little training from Rose and his brother! The problem is, Rose rather takes him for granted. The final few chapters, where Mac comes to a realization about how he feels for Rose, and does something about it, always capture my heart. I think she's a little too clueless about the whole thing, but Mac more than makes up for that by his purposeful, focused, steady regard.
He's a worker and an honest friend, a balanced thinker and feeler, somebody you'd want on your side, and somebody you'd be infinitely safe with. That is why this book is a comfort read. Oct 17, Emily rated it liked it Shelves: I was already a hardcore fan of Little Women when my mother pleased me very much one Christmas by giving me a matching hardcover set of the two Eight Cousins books which I hadn't as yet read why not? I'm sure they were in the local public library. I thought they were great, just as good as Little Women in their way, and I confess that at that young age something like 11 I wanted to be Rose Campbell just a little bit more than I wanted to be Jo March.
Rereading them for the first time as an a I was already a hardcore fan of Little Women when my mother pleased me very much one Christmas by giving me a matching hardcover set of the two Eight Cousins books which I hadn't as yet read why not? Rereading them for the first time as an adult not the same copies -- though I remember them fondly for the sake of my mother's thoughtfulness, they were not particularly attractive modern reprints, and they fell by the wayside at some point in the last three decades , I discover that really, nothing Alcott wrote is ever going to match up anywhere close to her most famous book.
The attractions of rich pretty Rose and her bevy of adoring cousins and the good times they have remain, but the moralizing preachiness of the books stood out and got in the way far more than it had in my memory. Perhaps I was better at tuning it out back then? Perhaps I simply whole-heartedly agreed that frivolity and any amount of alchohol, even a sip of wine, was unequivocally bad? I was a rather prudish child. Although I remembered all of the outcomes for the older set of cousins save for Steve's sweet little romance there was much in the book that felt fresh.
I found Rose's complicated feelings about Charlie surprisingly nuanced, and I appreciated things like Rose having a philosophical awakening after reading Emerson. The ending was satisfying, and makes me feel that preferring to be Rose rather than Jo is actually a pretty savvy choice. So I enjoyed it, but wonder if I will ever reread these books again. This makes me wish that I had completed my collection of the very attractive Little Brown early s illustrated editions of Alcott's works before reading this one. Rose in Bloom is the only one I lack, but I mistakenly thought I had it -- otherwise I wouldn't have embarked on the reread.
Now I'm faced with this quandary: A final minor note on editions: I really like the cover of this paperback I've shelved that I checked out of the library. There is Rose looking pre-raphaelite as described at one point in the text and there are the little statues of Cupid and Psyche. The illustrator clearly read the book to the end and paid attention! View all 10 comments. Aug 07, Devra rated it really liked it Shelves: Louisa May Alcott's novels are perfect reading for children.
Her heroines are great role models for girls. And her stories are very real, and also very charming and innocent.
Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins, #2) by Louisa May Alcott
Rose in Bloom , the sequel to Eight Cousins , should serve as a guidebook for every young lady. It is a story of Rose, an orphan, who goes to live with her uncle and seven boy cousins. Her uncle "experiments" with raising her up and the result is a lovely young woman. Rose in Bloom is a "coming of age" novel. As Rose matures i Louisa May Alcott's novels are perfect reading for children.
As Rose matures into a young lady, Uncle Alec guides her throughout every step of the way, helping her make decisions regarding friends, dress, and beaus. The innocence of Alcott's writings is shown primarily in her portrayal of romance. Courtship and marriage are not portrayed in a gushy, sentimental way. Her love stories are very sweet and tender, and presented in quite a wholesome way.
Alcott's stories are simple and wholesome reading for younger readers, and yet still rich enough to be enjoyed gleaned from by older readers. Alcott is particularly admirable in her use of literary references and allusions. Her literary knowledge is extensive and impressive! This has a vague spoiler in it. Not so much for the 'preachiness' of the virtues you find in all of her books- they are, after all, meant to be pleasant ways to learn to be a good person.
But I felt her decision to remove the one love interest from the story was taking the easy way out in resolving both the love triangle and that character's personal faults. Most of Alcott's books deal with the loss This has a vague spoiler in it. Most of Alcott's books deal with the loss of loved ones, so it was not unexpected. I simply felt like she was punishing the character for being self-destructive, rather than having him deal with his internal demons. I have the same problem with Dan in Jo's Boys.
I feel the lesson that 'if you are wicked and repent, you will still come to a bad end' is not one that should be taught. If a sweet and at times, bittersweet romance of Victorian youth and idealism is what you're in the mood for, this is a lovely one to reach for. In my somewhat limited experience, all Alcott's main characters are exactly the same. I swear you couldn't tell them apart. I also swear that one of the matronly women in this book had the same line regarding her children as Jo did in that peasant festival Jo's Boys.
But regardless of the lack of originality, I gave up trying to like this book when the rich and nearly perfect and naturally gorgeous and abysmally dull Rose has multiple men literally throwing themselves at her. Just as a note, I d In my somewhat limited experience, all Alcott's main characters are exactly the same.
Just as a note, I detest the idea that good and moral characters are automatically dull, but sometimes they actually are, and that would be the case here. My grandmother had it tucked away when we came through on a cross Canada trip, and offered it to me. The book had a broken top cover, but I didn't care. Owning any book was like owning a jewel. Mar 14, Loretta Marchize on hiatus rated it it was amazing. I had them both on my e-ink, so I decided to re-read Rose in Bloom. I liked it better than I did last time and greatly admired Rose.
Perhaps it was because I understood more of it than I did when I was ish. At that age, Eight Cousins was much preferable, and Rose in Bloom was just a good sequel. May I say that I love Mac, and I'm so happy with how everything turned out but because I knew what was going to happen the whole time I was kinda thinking 'hurry up. I'm glad about view spoiler [ Kitty and Steve ending up together, and the 'three weddings' thing is excellent hide spoiler ] As for Archie and Pheobe, that is a lovely story and perhaps the sweetest love story I've ever read.
Eight Cousins was cute, it was very sweet and I think it gave a very necessary introduction to the personalities and relationships between the characters of this story, but in retrospect that entire book just feels like a setup for this story to be told. I think much of what I said in my review for Eight Cousins holds true for this book as well. Rose continued to be a sweet and ambitious heroine as she aged- can I interject to mention that this book takes place MUCH later than I thought from the first, not just a few years but practically a decade!
It's easy for some growing young women to be written off as shallow and unintelligent, and I have a great respect for Louisa May Alcott thanks to her handling of characters such as these particularly considering the time period she was writing in. Just one of the many examples, this one only 10 pages into the book: I believe that it is as much a right and a duty for women to do something with their lives as for men, and we are not going to be satisfied with such frivolous parts as you give us.
We've got minds and souls as well as hearts; ambition and talents as well as beauty and accomplishments; and we want to live and learn as well as love and be loved. I'm sick of being told that is all a woman is fit for! I won't have anything to do with love till I prove that I am something besides a housekeeper and baby-tender! It was so delightful seeing all of her cousins grown up as well. I think Alcott did a beautiful job of staying true to the personalities she assigned them as children while appropriately maturing them well, some boys more than others.
Archie, Charlie, and Mac really pull on my heartstrings, and I love them even more as men than I did as boys. Like let's just ruminate on this quote about the bracelet he gave her: She had worn the trinket hidden under her black sleeve for a long time after his death, with the regretful constancy one sometimes shows in doing some little kindness too late. But her arm had grown too round to hide the ornament, the forget-me-nots had fallen one by one, the clasp had broken, and that autumn she laid the bracelet away, acknowledging that she had outgrown the souvenir as well as the sentiment that gave it.
I not only knew who he was this time around see my Eight Cousins review but found myself growing rather fond of him. All those Campbell boys are just so lovable in their own ways, honestly. That goes for Uncle Alec and Uncle Mac too! Maybe I'm just a romantic, but I think a huge part of my enjoyment increasing is the matured ages of the characters, hence romance plotlines.
I love courting and hidden feelings and disapproving elders and semi-love triangles I just ate it all up! But the good news is that for people who are less interested in those bits, we still get a lot of the kinds of scenes from the first book. Lovely moments in Rose and Phebe's friendship, Rose doing her best to be good and charitable and make Uncle proud, the boys being foolish I love the messages of self-improvement and selflessness that are always given by Rose and, in this book, often reflected in the boys.
Alright I suppose I'm starting to ramble at this point, so I'll just leave it at this. Rose in Bloom is equally charming as Eight Cousins, but with higher stakes- and for that reason I really loved it.
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Jun 02, Tarissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rose in Bloom is a beautiful gem of a book, penned by the same hand which authored the time-honored novel Little Women. This is the sequel to the charming volume entitled Eight Cousins. A more "grown-up" Rose Campbell returns to her family clan after travelling around the world with her friend Phebe as companion.
I love this book because Rose in independent, yet desires to serve others. Suffice it to say, she is a good role model for girls. I found her to be very much selfless.
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