Review: 'If Not for You' by Debbie Macomber (2017)
Sometimes, just one person can change your whole world...
If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth might never have taken charge of her life.
If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney – a tattooed mechanic who is her conservative parents' worst nightmare.
And if not for Sam – who witnessed a terrible accident and rushed to her aid – Beth might have never survived and fallen in love.
Yet there are skeletons in Sam's closet that prevent him from ever trusting a woman again. Will he be able to overcome his past and fight for love?
Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of reading several Debbie Macomber novels and I have to say she has definitely become one of my go-to authors when I need a warm read that will make me smile and has a guaranteed happy ending. Her Christmas novels, such as ‘Starry Night’ and ‘Mr. Miracle’, are always lovely festive reads, and most recently I read ‘A Girl’s Guide to Moving On’, which is the second part of Debbie’s ‘New Beginnings’ series; another novel that I thoroughly enjoyed (click here to read my review). On 9 March the third part of her latest series, ‘If Not for You’, was released by publisher Arrow and I was lucky enough to get a review copy. I straight away loved the pastel-coloured book cover and was keen to give it a read!
Beth knows she did the right thing when she decided to leave behind Chicago and her controlling mother, to build up a new life for herself in Portland. She has her aunt Sunshine, whom she adores, and a job as a teacher at a local school that she really enjoys. When her colleague Nicole invites her over for dinner, Beth is thrilled until she discovers it is actually a blind date. Nicole’s husband invited one of his own friends, but it is clear from the start that Sam Carney and Beth are not exactly hitting it off. Deciding to make it an early night, Beth drives away from Nicole’s home but ends up in a horrible car accident. Sam is there to witness everything, and makes sure Beth is taken to the hospital. The accident seems to bring Beth and Sam closer together, but what will Beth’s mother say when she meets Sam, and is Sam really ready for a serious relationship after everything that he has been through…?
I love how after just two or three chapters of a Debbie Macomber novel I already feel as if I have known these characters for a long time and am really curious to discover what will happen to them and how things are going to work out. ‘If Not for You’ is definitely one of those reads; I was straight away intrigued by Beth and Sam and the connection between the two of them, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring that connection by reading on. While the story was a bit slow-paced at times I still really liked it, especially since there were also two other smaller storylines that played a role in the novel, one with a focus on family relationships and one with a focus on Beth’s aunt Sunshine. As always in Debbie Macomber’s novels there was a lovely dose of romance in the book, and sometimes it’s just a nice feeling to know the story you’re reading is definitely going to end in a way that will leave you with a smile on your face instead of tears.
While this novel is the third part of the author’s ‘New Beginnings’ series, it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Readers who have read the other books will come across a few familiar faces, such as Nicole and Rocco, but that is just a nice little extra, not something you need to know if you want to read and understand this novel. With her well-developed and realistic characters and wonderful storytelling ability, Debbie Macomber has treated us to another lovely, warm-hearted and sweet read in the form of ‘If Not for You.’ I really enjoyed this book and already look forward to the next Debbie Macomber read I will be able to pick up. If you’re a romance fan and not yet familiar with this author and her work, definitely go out and get one of her novels; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what you will find!