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April 5, 2017

Debbie Macomber's If Not for You (New Beginnings #3)

by Elisabeth Scherer

Review If not for you (New Beginnings #3) Debbie Macomber
 March 2017 ;  Ballantine Books; 9780553391961
print, e-book, and audio (368 pages)
Romance, Fiction,  Contemporary
There are many Debbie Macomber books to choose from for this letter in the A to Z challenge. It can be hard to decide which books to talk about with an author who has published so many equally great books.  Conveniently her latest book If Not for You (New Beginnings #3) has just been released. This newer series usually explores characters that have had struggles in their lives or are overcoming some obstacle. It's probably this aspect that has me liking the series in a different way then Macomber's other series Cedar Cove.

I reviewed the second book in this series last year, A Girl's Guide to Moving On. Macomber has a great way to weave characters together from one book in a series to another with cameos. That said, this book can be read as a stand alone book without being confusing if you haven't read either of the previous books.

Beth Prudhomme has struck out on her own away from her controlling parents. She moves to Oregon to be closer to her Aunt Sunshine but also so she can have some freedom in her life. Beth is friends with Nichole (from A Girl's Guide to Moving On). She meets Sam Carney through Nichole and Rocco and they do not hit it off.  Beth and Sam both know a doomed relationship from the start of the setup dinner date. When the awkward meal is over Beth and Sam both leave to go home separately and Beth winds up in a car accident and Sam witnesses the crash. He stays with her while help is on the way.

As Beth recovers Sam is compelled to keep visiting her at the hospital and this is when their friendship grows. They bond over a love of music and their friendship blossoms into a budding romance.  Then Beth's overbearing mother arrives sending things into chaos. She wants Beth to come back home and does not approve of Sam one bit. Beth struggles to keep her newly found freedom and Sam struggles with issues from his past. Will they make it over the hurdles? You'll have to read to find out the answer.

This book has many of the wonderful qualities that Debbie Macomber is great at using in her books. The characters are normal everyday families of all kinds. The romance part of the book isn't overly cheesy. Most of her main characters have some issues to work through. It has the Hallmark movie quality story line.  It's nice to read about a girl finding her own way in life and touches on a second story slightly with Beth's aunt Sunshine.

It is a refreshing story that is easy to read. This book has a theme of forgiveness, repairing relationships, and moving forward. If I had to compare it to a movie I would probably go with While You Were Sleeping mixed with Mystic Pizza.

The only complaint I had was in the previous book the chapters of the book shifted between the two main female characters but in this book focuses mainly on Beth and Sam and then near the end of the book Sunshine. I feel like it would have been nice to balance out the stories much like A Girl's Guide did.  However as I step back and think about the book again I guess you could say the other main relationship in this book is between Beth's mom, Ellie, and her sister Sunshine.

Buy If Not for You on Amazon

Elisabeth Scherer, reviewer. Elisabeth grew up in a very small town in Minnesota but now lives in the lovely Pacific Northwest where she spends most of her time raising her two young children. She and her husband have a large collection of books that takes a good space of their small condo. When she's not reading she has a variety of hobbies that include crocheting, drawing, baking, cooking, and movie watching. She is currently obsessed with making French Macarons and other baked deliciousness! You can also find her blogging at

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  1. I like how Debbie Macomber's characters seem like real people, who I could hang out with.
    Doree Weller

  2. I've never actually read any Debbie Macomber books. I should check her out! Thanks for the review!

    Operation Awesome

  3. Good review. Debbie Macomber never lets me down when I want a quick feel good book.