"1225 Christmas Tree Lane" is the final book in Debbie Macomber's long-running Cedar Cove series. Each book is named for a different home in the fictional town of Cedar Cove, Washington and focuses on its residents. 1225 Christmas Tree Lane is the address of a Christmas tree farm owned by Beth Morehouse. In addition to running the tree farm, Beth is also fostering rescue dogs. Christmas is almost here and Beth is juggling the tree farm business, finding homes for ten lively puppies, and making plans for her daughters coming home for Christmas. She is surprised and more than a little pleased to learn her ex-husband, Kent, will be accompanying the girls. Could Kent be interested in a reconciliation? Beth is a relatively new character in the series and this installment focuses on her story. It becomes a comedy of errors when her daughters Bailey and Sophie are determined to reunite her with Kent, no matter what it takes.
While the focus of the book is on Beth and Kent, as is fitting for the finale of a long running series, we get to catch up with other characters we have grown to love throughout the prior eleven books. The characters are all making plans for the holidays and reminiscing about events that have happened in their lives. It is great that we get to see so many old favorites, but we are only given a glimpse into what's going on with most of these characters. We get small vignettes, but not a lot of action or details. Much of the book reads more like an expanded epilogue than a typical Cedar Cove story.
Even though I would have liked so see more of a storyline for some of my favorite characters, there are so many characters, I understand the author had to set limits on how much could be told about any given character. It is nice to see what is going on with some many of the past characters, and it's enjoyable to relive some of the memorable moments of prior books through the characters' "memories" of past events. Characters such as Ian and Cecelia Randall are now a happy couple with two children, but had once requested a divorce from family court judge Olivia Griffin in one of the first books in the series. The state of Rachel and Bruce Peyton's marriage was left in the air in the series' prior book, 1105 Yakima Street (Cedar Cove), but we get to see the conclusion of this storyline and others in the finale. We get to spend one last holiday with favorites such as Bobby and Teri Polgar, Rosie and Zach Cox, Mack, Mary Jo, and Noelle McAfee, Charlotte and Ben Rhodes, and of course best friends Olivia Lockhart Griffin and Grace Sherman Harding. While not perfect, the author cleverly weaves in news about most of the major characters in the series.
I have rated "1225 Christmas Tree Lane" a "4", but it's not a book for someone who has not read at least a few of the prior books in the series. As a stand-alone book, it would rate lower, but it's not meant to be read on its own. If the book catches your eye, put it aside until you have had a chance to check out earlier books in the series. However, be sure to come back, and soon you'll be calling the residents of Cedar Cove, "friends. " One of the Cedar Cove residents says it best:
"This is a romantic town...It was the kind of town anyone would love to call home."
This sums up the Cedar Cove series perfectly. While many characters go through heartache and experience tragedies in their lives, love overcomes all things. I don't think it can be considered a spoiler to say the human characters, as well as the puppies, get their happy endings. For long-time followers of the series, this final Cedar Cove book is an early Christmas present from Ms. Macomber.
This review was originally written for The Season E-Zine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.