IF NOT FOR YOU - Debbie Macomber
New Beginnings, Book 3
ISBN: 978-0-553-39196-1
March 2017
Women's Fiction

Portland, Oregon - Present Day

Twenty-five year old Beth Prudhomme has finally escaped living in Chicago under the clutches of her over-bearing mother by moving far away to Portland, near her Aunt Sunshine.  Before she leaves Chicago, Beth exacts a promise from her father that neither he, nor especially not her mother, will contact Beth for six months.  Beth truly wants to be on her own.  Now, in Portland, Beth has settled in quite nicely, teaching music at a local high school and beginning to make new friends.  One of her friends, fellow teacher Nicole Nyquist, has invited Beth to dinner to meet one of her husband's good friends.  Nicole is certain that Beth will have something in common with Sam Carney.  Beth detests blind dates, but Nicole is her friend, so she complies.

Sam Carney, head mechanic at a local car dealership, is not Beth's idea of the perfect date.  Bearded and tattooed, Sam looks more like he should be in charge of a cut-throat biker group than fit into the cultured life Beth has known.  For Beth, Sam is as far away from her mother's expectations as can be; and for Sam, Beth is clearly too high-brow for his tastes.  What, if anything, can they have in common?  They are polite to each other during the strained evening, and finally, as they walk to their respective cars, they are sure this is the last time they will meet.  Until Fate intervenes at an intersection of green to red.

Later, when Beth awakes in the hospital, most of what she remembers is Sam holding her hand after the accident and staying by her side until the paramedics wheel her into the ambulance.  Now, as she wakes, her aunt Sunshine is here in the room, telling her she must call her parents.  Beth doesn't want them to know the extent of her injuries, or that she will be in the hospital for days, then off to rehab for physical therapy.  With multiple internal injuries, broken ribs, and a broken hip, Beth won't be able to live on her own for weeks, maybe longer. If her mother knows just one hint of Beth's predicament, she will be on the first plane to Portland to take over Beth's life once again.

Sam begins to visit Beth every day, and when she's transferred to a rehabilitation center for therapy, he continues to stay by her side.  Day by day, Beth and Sam just talk, delving into their lives and getting to know each other, and little by little they find that their likes and dislikes parallel each other, both complimenting and detracting, giving them a whole host of subjects to talk about.  Beth likes classical music, Sam prefers Country; she plays the piano, he the guitar; she reads music, he plays by ear.  But as they are different, so they are the same as the music begins to bind their lives together, bringing them soul to soul.

IF NOT FOR YOU is the newest installment of Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings series.  Book three brings us into the lives of two very different people who find out that differences can sometimes become a solid road to friendship and everlasting love.  Beth's obstacle is overcoming her mother's dictates, and Sam is still trying to make peace with the mistakes of his past as these two unlikely lovers come together to find a new life for themselves.  IF NOT FOR YOU follows LAST ONE HOME (March 2015) and GIRL'S GUIDE TO MOVING ON (February 2016).  Each of these novels stands alone, bringing us a delightful story that includes familiar characters from the previous novels, and although you don't need to read the earlier books, doing so will give you well rounded storylines, along with delightful reading experiences!

IF NOT FOR YOU draws a wonderful picture of how two people from opposing backgrounds find each other in adversity and, together, build strength from the punches life has dealt.  Beth and Sam are far more suited to each other than they first thought, and their story is one of fortitude and gentle romance.  And while she is falling in love, Beth is determined to bring an end to the long feud between her mother, Ellie, and her Aunt Sunshine, which seems to have begun over a man named Peter.  Beth goes beyond her boundaries and delves into Sunshine's romance with Peter, hoping to right an old wrong.  IF NOT FOR YOU is a complex and heartfelt story that strikes right in the heart.  Enjoy!

Diana Risso