Debbie Macomber is back with the latest installment in her New Beginnings series. If Not for You opened with a bang and had this reader eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. 

Beth Prudhomme recently moved from Chicago to Portland, Oregon, in an effort to get away from her very controlling mother. Through her job as a high school music teacher she meets Nichole (if you’ve read the first two books in the series you’ll remember Nichole). Nichole and her husband Rocco decide to set up a blind date for two of their friends. Beth would never have met Sam Carney otherwise. However, the dinner does not go well and neither can get away fast enough. But soon after leaving Nichole and Rocco’s, Beth is involved in a car accident. Remember that bang I mentioned earlier? After the accident Sam feels compelled to check on Beth at the hospital. One visit leads to another and soon friendship becomes an intense attraction that surprises them both.

I think I read this entire book with a sappy grin on my face. I really, really loved Beth and Sam together. They were real and I could identify with them. They were sweet without being sickeningly so. I watched them slowly get to know each other … learning about the things they have in common, like music. Sam is a guitar player and in an effort to lift Beth’s spirits one night at the hospital, plays her a Rascal Flatts song. I love Rascal Flatts and I fell in love with Sam right then. Any man who can play/sing Rascal Flatts is fantastic in my book 😉 However, their love story is not without trouble. Beth’s mother, Ellie, does not approve of Sam and does her best to drive them apart. Here is where I really fell in love with Sam. He stood up for himself and for his relationship with Beth without being ugly to Beth’s mother. Poor Ellie! I just wanted to smack her and it’s a wonder Sam didn’t.

Why did Beth choose to move to Portland? It’s where her Aunt Sunshine (Ellie’s sister) lives. The two sisters have not gotten along for years, but despite this Beth and Sunshine are very close. The relationships between Beth and Sunshine, and Ellie and Sunshine were nice side stories that I really enjoyed.

Haven’t read the first two books? Don’t let that stop you from enjoying If Not for You. Readers can definitely enjoy this book without having read the previous books. But do go back and read Last One Home and A Girl’s Guide to Moving On so you’ll know all about the characters, like Nichole and Rocco, mentioned here.

What’s next for Sam and Beth? While the stories here are brought to a satisfying close, I look forward to more books in the series to see what’s next in their lives.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.


Rating: 4 stars

Reviewer: Jennifer

Title: If Not for You

Author: Debbie Macomber

Release Date: March 21, 2017

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