Wednesday, March 22, 2017

If Not For You by Debbie Macomber

Salutations!  I hope each of you are having a wonderful Wednesday. Shipyard Girls at War by Nancy Revell will be out tomorrow.  It is the second book in the engaging series.  The first book is The Shipyard Girls.  I enjoy reading novels set in England in the late 1930s through the 1940s.

If Not for You is the latest novel by author Debbie Macomber.  It is the third book in the New Beginnings series.  Beth Prudhomme has moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon to get out from her mother’s thumb.  Her mother, Ellie likes to smother her and control all aspects of her life.  Beth’s Aunt Sunshine, a famous artist, lives in Portland providing Beth with support and love.  Beth found a position at a local high school as a music teacher and quickly made friends with Nichole Nyquist, a substitute teacher.  Nichole wishes to set up Beth with Sam Carney, a friend of the family.  Sam is not like any other man Beth has ever dated.  He has long hair, drives a big pick-up truck, likes country music, and is a mechanic.  The evening is tense and the two leave quickly after dinner.  Unfortunately, Beth ends up in an accident when a teenage girl runs a red light (with a phone in her hand).  Sam saw the accident and quickly rushes to Beth’s aid.  Beth suffers severe injuries that will have her laid up for weeks.  Sam begins visiting Beth at the hospital and continues when she moves to rehab.  Sam is unsure about a relationship, but he is unable to stay away.  When Beth’s mother, Ellie, blows into town she is quick to show her displeasure in Sam.  Matters are not helped by the rift between Sunshine and Ellie.  Beth wants to mend the bridges between them and sets out to find what caused their conflict. Then Beth decides to meddle in Sam’s past and he is unappreciative.  Is there a chance to a happily ever after for Beth and Sam?  Can Beth make her mother understand that she wants to live her own life?

If Not for You is nicely written and has a good pace. While If Not for You is part of the New Beginnings series, it can be read alone.  I felt that the book was too long and the ending was abrupt (and predictable).  I wish the author had devoted a little more time to the conflict between Sunshine and Ellie.  It ended up being resolved very quickly.  It was nice to see the characters develop over the course of the novel.  I give If Not for You 3 out of 5 stars.  It is a sweet story, but it reminds me of every other romance novel on the market.  The couple quickly fall in love, conflict (and jealousy), break up, and then get back together.  It was interesting to see such two-diverse people come together.  They do say that opposites attract, and that is true in this book.  Sam’s continual use of “babe” instead of Beth’s name grated on my nerves.  Do men think that women enjoy being called “babe” or “baby”?  Once they started dating, he never called her by her given name.  I found some information to be repeated throughout the book which is unnecessary. The story is told from Beth, Sam’s and Sunshine’s point-of-view.  It changes with each chapter.  I would have preferred the story being told from the third person narrative.   I did wonder what happened to the teenage girl who caused the accident (maybe I missed it).   I went back and checked, but I did not see where this matter was addressed.  Beth’s meddling was thoughtful, but not well thought out.  I know she meant well, but her actions are reminiscent of her mother.  If Not for You is a pleasant story, but it is forgettable.  I did not feel that this is Debbie Macomber’s best work (I prefer her Blossom Street series).  I am sure, though, that fans of Debbie Macomber will enjoy If Not for You.

The first two books in the New Beginnings series are Last One Home and A Girl's Guide to Moving On.  I appreciate you reading my latest review.  I am off to do chores around the house.  I will return tomorrow to review The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

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