If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.
But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.
Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.
Titles in the New Beginnings series include: Last One Home – A Girl’s Guide To Moving On – If Not For You
Title: If Not For You
Series: New Beginnings #3
Author: Debbie Macomber
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Random House – Ballantine
My Rating: 4 stars
If Not For You is a journey of one young woman’s quest to separate herself from her overbearing, stifling mother… a journey that doesn’t exactly end up where she expected. Beth has discovered her place as a music teacher, doing what she enjoys with friends and some family around her to complete her life. If she doesn’t have that special someone in her life just yet – well, one day that will happen. When she gives in to the meddling of a friend and endures an awkward evening with comfortable friends and one very uncomfortable stranger, Beth’s life will take on a few turns that were totally unexpected. Perhaps love is at the end of that journey but first Beth has to learn a few lessons, and recognize that she has the same tendencies as her mother for stepping in where she shouldn’t have, and the consequences that brings.
I enjoyed If Not For You. It is classic Debbie Macomber, and that’s always an enjoyable experience for me. I did feel though that Beth got off far too lightly for her meddling. What she did should have taken a bit longer to bring about the forgiveness that she seeks. One cannot just step in to someone’s life and stir up the pot without consequences, and in my opinion, she was forgiven without really learning that lesson. Every reader has their own interpretation of a story and although I loved the story, I didn’t see Beth grow as much as she might have if she’d had to fight for that forgiveness a bit harder. It’s always a treat to run into characters from previous stories. That to me is part of the fun of series, no one is totally gone from the picture until the very last story.
In all, If Not For You was an enjoyable story that I’m sure I’ll re-read. I’d recommend this one for Romance lovers, those that enjoy a strong story with believable characters and real life experiences.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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