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Back on Blossom Street

Overview

www.DebbieMacomber.com

Blossom Street. Where you'll find everything you're looking for! From yarn and flowers to friendship…

There's a new shop on Seattle's Blossom Street—a flower store called Susannah's Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn. Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired an assistant named Colette Blake, a young widow who's obviously hiding a secret—or two!

When Susannah and Colette both join ...

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Back on Blossom Street (Blossom Street Series #5)

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Overview

www.DebbieMacomber.com

Blossom Street. Where you'll find everything you're looking for! From yarn and flowers to friendship…

There's a new shop on Seattle's Blossom Street—a flower store called Susannah's Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn. Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired an assistant named Colette Blake, a young widow who's obviously hiding a secret—or two!

When Susannah and Colette both join Lydia Goetz's new knitting class, they discover that Lydia and her sister, Margaret, have worries of their own. Margaret's daughter, Julia, is the victim of a random carjacking, and the entire family is thrown into emotional chaos.

Then there's Alix Townsend, whose wedding is only months away. She's not sure she can go through with it, though. A reception at the country club, with hundreds of guests she's never met—it's just not Alix. But, like everyone in Lydia's knitting class, she knows there's a solution to every problem…and another woman can usually help you find it!

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Without dropping a stitch, Debbie Macomber extends her Blossom Street series with this third heartwarming entry, set around a class at A Good Yarn, where a small group of women also work through critical turning points in their lives. The class specializes in prayer shawls (patterns and instruction included), which are designed to give emotional comfort, much like Macomber's books.

There's Lydia, the proprietor of the store along with her sister, Margaret. Their mother is failing, and for once, Lydia is not the first to notice. Margaret's daughter, Julia, becomes the victim of a carjacking, but it's the aftermath that seems the hardest -- neither Margaret nor Julia can deal with it. Susannah Nelson, who has just opened the flower shop next door, is a new entry to the class, as is her young helper, Colette Blake. Colette's husband was killed a year ago; now she's fighting her attraction to an ex-boss with a mysterious (or is it criminal?) connection to China. Last, there's Alix Towsend, who can't believe she's going to marry Jordan Turner, the local pastor -- but her future mother-in-law's plans for a very big wedding are giving her second thoughts.

Bolstered by the group, these women work through their various issues, with a few changes of heart and some mysteries uncovered by the final page. Ginger Curwen
Publishers Weekly

Women who share a love of knitting support each other through the vicissitudes of life in Macomber's unsurprising third novel set on Seattle's fictional Blossom Street. Lydia Goetz, the proprietor of the knitting store (and series anchor) A Good Yarn, has begun teaching a new knitting class on prayer shawls. Fellow knitters include Colette Blake, a 31-year-old widow who rents the apartment above the shop and whose grief over her dead husband is being supplemented by confusion about her relationship with former boss and possible criminal Christian Dempsey. Also casting on is Alix Townsend, the daughter of a family of miscreants and now engaged to the Rev. Jordan Turner and so stressed over wedding planning that she wonders if she's pastor's wife material. Closer to home, Lydia's niece Julia is the victim of a carjacking and an ineffectual justice system, and Lydia is feeling bereft because, thanks to her history of cancer, she may never give birth to her own child. Readers will get exactly what they expect: a litany of feel-good, unassailable instances of the benefits of friendship, tolerance and knitting; happy endings for all; and simple if saccharine prose. Readers who already cherish life à la Blossom Street will welcome this slight variation on the theme. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778317968
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 4/28/2015
  • Series: Blossom Street Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 425,976
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.63 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber, with more than 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, is one of today's most popular authors. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Debbie is a regular resident on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times (70 times and counting), USA TODAY (currently 67 times) and Publishers Weekly (47 times). Visit her at www.DebbieMacomber.com.

Biography

Publishing did not come easy to self-described "creative speller" Debbie Macomber. When Macomber decided to follow her dreams of becoming a bestselling novelist, she had a lot of obstacles in her path. For starters, Macomber is dyslexic. On top of this, she had only a high school degree, four young children at home, and absolutely no connections in the publishing world. If there's one thing you can say about Debbie Macomber, however, it is that she does not give up. She rented a typewriter and started writing, determined to break into the world of romance fiction.

The years went on and the rejection letters piled up. Her family was living on a shoestring budget, and Debbie was beginning to think that her dreams of being a novelist might never be fulfilled. She began writing for magazines to earn some extra money, and she eventually saved up enough to attend a romance writer's conference with three hundred other aspiring novelists. The organizers of the conference picked ten manuscripts to review in a group critique session. Debbie was thrilled to learn that her manuscript would be one of the novels discussed.

Her excitement quickly faded when an editor from Harlequin tore her manuscript to pieces in front of the crowded room, evoking peals of laughter from the assembled writers. Afterwards, Macomber approached the editor and asked her what she could do to improve her novel. "Throw it away," the editor suggested.

Many writers would have given up right then and there, but not Macomber. The deeply religious Macomber took a lesson from Job and gathered strength from adversity. She returned home and mailed one last manuscript to Silhouette, a publisher of romance novels. "It cost $10 to mail it off," Macomber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2000. "My husband was out of work at this time, in Alaska, trying to find a job. The children and I were living on his $250-a-week unemployment, and I can't tell you what $10 was to us at that time."

It turned out to be the best $10 Macomber ever spent. In 1984, Silhouette published her novel, Heartsong. (Incidentally, although Heartsong was Macomber's first sale, she actually published another book, Starlight, before Heartsong went to print.) Heartsong went on to become the first romance novel to ever be reviewed in Publishers Weekly, and Macomber was finally on her way.

Today, Macomber is one of the most widely read authors in America. A regular on the New York Times bestseller charts, she is best known for her Cedar Cove novels, a heartwarming story sequence set in a small town in Washington state, and for her Knitting Books series, featuring a group of women who patronize a Seattle yarn store. In addition, her backlist of early romances, including several contemporary Westerns, has been reissued with great success.

Macomber has made a successful transition from conventional romance to the somewhat more flexible genre known as "women's fiction." "I was at a point in my life where I found it difficult to identify with a 25-year-old heroine," Macomber said in an interview with ContemporaryRomanceWriters.com. "I found that I wanted to write more about the friendships women share with each other." To judge from her avid, ever-increasing fan base, Debbie's readers heartily approve.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Macomber:

"I'm dyslexic, although they didn't have a word for it when I was in grade school. The teachers said I had 'word blindness.' I've always been a creative speller and never achieved good grades in school. I graduated from high school but didn't have the opportunity to attend college, so I did what young women my age did at the time -- I married. I was a teenager, and Wayne and I (now married nearly 37 years) had four children in five years."

"I'm a yarnaholic. That means I have more yarn stashed away than any one person could possibly use in three or four lifetimes. There's something inspiring about yarn that makes me feel I could never have enough. Often I'll go into my yarn room (yes, room!) and just hold skeins of yarn and dream about projects. It's a comforting thing to do."

"My office walls are covered with autographs of famous writers -- it's what my children call my ‘dead author wall.' I have signatures from Mark Twain, Earnest Hemingway, Jack London, Harriett Beecher Stowe, Pearl Buck, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, to name a few."

"I'm morning person, and rip into the day with a half-mile swim (FYI: a half mile is a whole lot farther in the water than it is on land) at the local pool before I head into the office, arriving before eight. It takes me until nine or ten to read through all of the guest book entries from my web site and the mail before I go upstairs to the turret where I do my writing. Yes, I write in a turret -- is that romantic, or what? I started blogging last September and really enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my life with my readers. Once I'm home for the day, I cook dinner, trying out new recipes. Along with cooking, I also enjoy eating, especially when the meal is accompanied by a glass of good wine. Wayne and I take particular pleasure in sampling eastern Washington State wines (since we were both born and raised in that part of the state).

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    1. Hometown:
      Port Orchard, Washington
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 22, 1948
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yakima, Washington
    1. Education:
      Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Back On Blossom Street


By Debbie Macomber

Mira

Copyright © 2007 Debbie Macomber
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780778324515

"One of the best kept secrets in the knitting world is that knitting lace appears to be much more difficult than it is. If you can knit, purl, knit two together and put the yarn over your needle to form a new stitch, you CAN knit lace."

—Myrna A.I. Stahman, Rocking Chair Press, designer, author and publisher of Stahman's Shawls and Scarves—Lace Faroese-Shaped Shawls From The Neck Down and Seamen's Scarves, and the soon to be published The Versatility of Lace Knitting—Variations on a Theme

Lydia Goetz

Ilove A Good Yarn, and I'm grateful for every minute I spend in my shop on Blossom Street. I love looking at the skeins of yarn in all their colors and feeling the different textures. I love my knitting classes and the friends I've made here. I love studying the pattern books. I love gazing out my front window onto the energy and activity of downtown Seattle. In fact, I love everything about this life I've found, this world I've built.

Knitting was my salvation. That's something I've said often, I know, but it's simply the truth. Even now, after nearly ten years of living cancer-free, knitting dominates my life. Because of my yarn store, I've become part of a community of knitters and friends.

I'm also married now, to Brad Goetz. A Good Yarn was my first real chance atlife and Brad was my first chance at love. Together, Brad and I are raising our nine-year-old son. I say Cody's our son, and he is, in all the ways that matter. I consider him as much my child as Brad's; I couldn't love Cody more if I'd given birth to him. It's true he has a mother, and I know Janice does care about him. But Brad's ex-wife is!well, I hesitate to say it, but selfish is the word that inevitably comes to mind. Janice appears intermittently in Cody's life, whenever the mood strikes her or she happens to find it convenient—despite the parenting plan she signed when she and Brad divorced. Sadly, she only sees her son once or twice a year. I can tell that the lack of communication bothers Cody. And Janice's cavalier attitude toward motherhood angers me, but like my son, I don't mention the hurt. Cody doesn't need me to defend or malign Janice; he's capable of forming his own opinions. For a kid, he's remarkably resilient and insightful.

On a February morning, my store with all its warmth and color was a cozy place to be. The timer on the microwave went off; I removed the boiling water and poured it into my teapot after dropping in a couple of tea bags. The rain was falling from brooding, gray skies as it often does in winter. I decided it was time to start another knitting class. I maintain several ongoing classes and charity knitting groups, and I usually begin a new session four or five times a year.

As I considered my new class, I was also thinking about my mother, who's adjusted to life in the assisted-living complex reasonably well. In some ways, I suspect that moving her was even more difficult for my sister, Margaret, and me than it was for Mom. Although Mom hated giving up her independence, she seemed relieved not to have the worry about the house and yard anymore. I wept the day the house was sold, and while she never allowed me to see her tears, I believe Margaret did, too. Selling the house meant letting go of our childhood and all the reminders of growing up there. It was the end of an era for us both, just as it was for our mother.

While I drank my tea, I f lipped through the new patterns that had arrived the day before. The first one to catch my eye was a prayer shawl. Lately, I'd seen several patterns for these shawls, some more complex than others. I could easily envision knitting this one for Mom.

Prayer shawls have become popular in the last few years—and not only for prayer. They offer comfort and warmth, emotional, as well as physical. I'd received several inquiries about them and thought perhaps one of these shawls would make for an interesting class. I decided to discuss it with my sister, Margaret, who has a keen business sense and a good feel for which class I should offer next. I didn't appreciate that about her until after she'd come to join me at the shop. Margaret worked for me part-time, which has now turned into full-time. She's not as good with people as I am, but she knows yarn and, surprisingly, has become an excellent employee. She's also my friend. Not so long ago, I couldn't have said that; we might be sisters, but the tension between us was unbearable at times. Our relationship changed for the better, and I thank A Good Yarn for that.

Margaret wouldn't arrive for another thirty minutes, since the shop officially opened at ten. Any number of tasks awaited my attention, things I should be doing, like paying bills and ordering new yarn. Instead, I sat at my desk, with my teacup between my hands. I felt so incredibly blessed.

Needless to say, I didn't always feel this tranquil. When I was in my early twenties, a second bout of cancer struck with a viciousness that had me reeling. I survived, but my father didn't. You see, he fought so hard for me, and when it seemed I'd make it after all, he died, suddenly and unexpectedly, of a heart attack. It was almost as though my recovery meant he could leave me now.

Before I lost Dad, I tended to approach my life tentatively, afraid of happiness, fearing the future. It was a void that loomed hopelessly before me and filled me with dread. Dad was the one who gave me strength. With him gone, I knew I was responsible for my own life. I had a decision to make and I boldly chose!independence. I chose to become part of the world I'd retreated from years before.

The ceiling above me creaked and I knew Colette was up. Colette Blake rented the small apartment over the shop. For the first two years, that tiny apartment was my home, my very first home away from family.

After I married Brad, I wasn't quite sure what to do with the apartment. It stood empty for a while. Then I met Colette, and I'd known instantly that she'd be the perfect tenant. The apartment would console her, give her a place to regain her emotional balance. A bonus—for me—is that she looks after Whiskers on my days off. My cat is a much-loved feature in my store, which he considers his home. I've had customers stop by just to visit him. He often sleeps in the front window, curling up in the afternoon sun. Whiskers generates lots of comments—and smiles. Pets have a way of connecting people to life's uncomplicated joys.

Colette reminds me of myself three years ago, when I first opened the store. I met her shortly before Christmas, when Susannah Nelson, who owns the f lower shop next door, brought her over to meet me. It wasn't cancer that shook her world, though. It was death. Colette is a thirty-one-year-old widow. Her husband, Derek, a Seattle policeman, died a little over a year ago. When I mention that, people usually assume Derek was killed in the line of duty. Not so. Following a Seattle downpour, he climbed on the roof to repair a leak. No one knows exactly how it happened but apparently Derek slipped and fell. He died two days later of massive head injuries.

In the weeks since she'd moved here, Colette had only referred to the accident once, as if even talking about her husband was difficult. I've learned that she's an easygoing person who laughs readily and yet at times her grief seemed palpable. Overwhelming. I understood how she felt. I remembered all too well that sense of anguish, that terror of what might happen tomorrow or the next day. Colette approached life fearfully, just the way I once did. I longed to reassure her, and I hoped my friendship provided some pleasure and solace. Friends like Jacqueline and Alix had done the same for me.

The apartment has an outside entrance, as well as the one leading into the store. Susannah Nelson had hired Colette soon after Susannah purchased what used to be known as Fanny's Floral. Colette's mother once owned a f lower shop, and Colette had worked there as a high-school student. Her house sold practically the day it was listed, and Colette needed to move quickly. My tiny apartment was vacant, so we struck a deal. I assumed she wouldn't be there long. Most of her belongings were in storage and she was taking the next few months to decide where she'd live and what she'd do.

The stairs creaked as she ventured down. Since Colette became my tenant, we sometimes shared a pot of tea in the mornings. She was always respectful of my time and I enjoyed our leisurely chats.

"Tea's ready." I reached for a clean cup. Without asking, I filled it and held it out.

"Thanks." Colette smiled as she took the tea.

She was thin—too thin, really. Her clothes were a bit loose, but with her aptitude for style she cleverly disguised it. I noticed, though, as someone who's done the same thing. Part of what I liked about her was the fact that she was lovely without seeming consciously aware of it. Despite her occasional silences, Colette was warm and personable, and I could see she'd be a success at whatever she chose. She hadn't said much about the job she'd left, but I gathered it was a far more demanding position than helping customers in a f lower shop.

This job change obviously had something to do with her husband's death. She told me he'd died a year ago January fourteenth. She'd waited for the year to pass before making major changes in her life—selling her home, moving, quitting her job. These changes seem drastic in some ways and completely understandable in others.

Colette wore her long, dark hair parted in the middle. It fell straight to her shoulders, where it curved under. She seemed to achieve this effect naturally—unlike some women, who spend hours taming their hair with gel and spray.

In the short time she'd been here, Colette had made a positive impression on everyone she met. Everyone except my sister. Margaret, being Margaret, shied away from Colette, instinctively distrusting her. My sister's like that; she tends to be a naysayer. She insisted that renting out the apartment had been a huge mistake. In Margaret's eyes, a tenant, any tenant, wasn't to be trusted. She appeared to think Colette would sneak into the shop in the middle of the night and steal every skein of yarn I owned, then hock them on the streets and use the money for drugs. I smiled whenever I thought about that, since not only did I trust Colette, I have a fairly expensive alarm system.

Margaret is, to put it mildly, protective of me. She's older and tends to assume more responsibility than is warranted. It's taken me a long time to understand my sister and even longer to appreciate her, but that's a different story.

Colette held the teacup close to her mouth and paused. "Derek would've turned thirty-three today," she said quietly. She stared into the distance, then looked back at me.

I nodded, encouraging her to talk. She'd only told me about Derek that one other time. I believed, based on my own experience, that the more she shared her pain, the less it would hurt. "Derek wanted children!. We'd been trying, but I didn't get pregnant and now!"

"I'm sure you'll have children one day," I told her. I was confident that she wouldn't be alone for the rest of her life, that she'd marry again and probably have children.

Her smiled was filled with sadness. "Derek and I talked about a baby that morning. The next thing I knew, I was choosing his casket. Ironic, isn't it?"

I didn't know how to comfort her, so I leaned over and gave her a hug.

She seemed a little embarrassed by my show of sympathy and focused her gaze on the f loor. "I shouldn't have said anything. I didn't mean to start your day on a sad note. Actually, it wasn't until I glanced at the calendar on your desk that I realized the date."

"It's okay, Colette. I'm just so sorry." "Thank you," she said, shrugging lightly. "Life is like that sometimes, you know?"

"Yes!" And I did.

Colette set the empty cup in my sink.

The back door opened, then shut with a bang. Margaret, of course, muttering about the weather. After Colette moved in, Margaret had taken to parking in the alley, apparently to keep an eye on my tenant's comings and goings. After dumping her huge felted purse on the table, she hesitated, stiffening at the sight of Colette.

"Good morning," I said brightly, pleased to see her despite her bad mood. "It's a fine morning, isn't it?" I couldn't resist a touch of sarcasm.

"It's raining," she replied, eyeing Colette almost as if she were an intruder.

"Rainy weather's good for knitting," I reminded her. For me, there was nothing more satisfying on a rainy afternoon than working on my current knitting project with a cup of tea by my side. People looked for something productive to do when it rained and—fortunately for me—that sometimes included knitting.

Margaret removed her coat and hung it on the peg by the back door. "Julia dropped me off this morning," she said in passing.

I caught the significance right away. "You let Julia drive the new car?" Only the day before, Margaret had said that her oldest daughter, a high-school senior, had been asking to take the car out for a spin. If I recall, Margaret's exact words were Not in this lifetime.



Continues...


Excerpted from Back On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2007 by Debbie Macomber. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Debbie Macomber

Barnes & Noble.com: We love this third book in the Blossom Street series. I gather that initially this wasn't intended to be a series -- what (or who) changed your mind? And do readers need to read these books in order?

Debbie Macomber: I'm so pleased you enjoyed Back on Blossom Street! I think it's my favorite of the series so far. You're right; When I wrote The Shop on Blossom Street it wasn't intended as the beginning of a series -- but then I received a multitude of comments from readers who told me they wanted more stories about the Blossom Street community and the yarn store. MIRA agreed and A Good Yarn came about. Now we're going back to Blossom Street yet again. This time we'll be visiting the flower store, Susannah's Garden, as well as Lydia's yarn shop. Every book is written to stand alone, so it isn't necessary to read the first two books of the series to enjoy this one.

B&N.com: Reading your books, I'm always struck by the power of multiple plotlines, and the richness that comes from having characters from different generations and different stages of love. Is it true that watching TV (like The Practice) shaped, at least partially, this direction?

DM: Thank you. I consider that a very nice compliment. The answer is yes. I see storytelling as my real skill, my gift, so there are generally any number of plots buzzing around in my head. I had done a few books with multiple plotlines but not to the extent of the Blossom Street or Cedar Cove books -- until I started analyzing successful television shows. Many of them leap from one storyline to another. Your example of The Practice is a good one; ER does the same thing. These days we all have seem to short attention spans anyway, and I guess you could say this approach keeps things hopping! As well, it allows me to relate characters and storylines to each other, to create interconnections -- just as we do in life.

B&N.com: How old were you when you started to knit? And what role has it played in your life?

DM: I was around 12. I wanted to knit but my mother didn't know how, so she took me down to the local yarn store and I sat with the ladies there and learned. The first item I ever knitted was a purple vest for my mother; in fact, she still had it when she died. I've been knitting off and on since that time. When our family was young, I didn't get much knitting done, but later, after the grandkids arrived -- well, there's no stopping me now! Actually I don't dare stop, considering all the yarn I've already collected.

B&N.com: What's coming up next?

DM: In September [2007], the seventh installment of the Cedar Cove series, 74 Seaside Avenue, will be out. (You can tell I love writing series!) And then in October, back by popular demand...drum roll, please...Where Angels Go, which is another story about my Christmas angels, Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy. There are also a number of upcoming reprints, including Christmas Wishes in November (it's a paperback reissue of last year's Christmas Letters plus an earlier-refreshed (!) story called "Rainy Day Kisses." After that, there's a brand-new edition of Dakota Home, first published in 2000. It'll be available in December. And more to come in 2008!
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