IF NOT FOR YOU (New Beginnings #3)

IF NOT FOR YOU                              DEBBIE MACOMBER

An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though its absolutely right

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either. 

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both. 

Before long, Beth's strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.

MY REVIEW:
     How do you know when it’s time to cut the apron strings?  When it comes to growing up?  What’s healthy and what’s not?  Well, I am sure Beth Prudhomme was asking herself the same question at twenty-five years old.  “When do I wing my mother.”
     You see Ellie Prudhomme thought she had every right to dictate every moment of every day of every year that was her daughter’s life.  From who to date, what to wear, and where to go to school.  She didn’t even have friends.  The one thing she did do and she loved is playing the piano of which she had a perfect pitch.
     She did, however, work out a deal with the church to play the piano for a fee during the services.  So that she could hide the money away for later use.  She didn’t tell her mother.  When she had enough she called her mother’s sister, Sunshine, which her mother doesn’t talk to, asking if she could come life with her since she applied for a teaching job.  She planned her escape for the late night.  But then she thought maybe she should tell her father.
     When she ends up in Portland, Oregon she finds that she has the job for sure and in two days after staying with her aunt she finds and the apartment too.  One of the teacher’s, Nichol, she meets the first days on campus at the high school.  They become fast friends.  Nichol invites her over for a last-minute dinner.  Turns out it will be a fix-up.  Yes, a fix up with her husband Rocco’s friend, Sam Carney. 
     When she asks questions, Nichol says she likes him a lot and so do the children they call him uncle Sam.  She says he’s great with children.  But that he is a mechanic, that he has long hair but keeps it neat.  Let’s just say both Beth and Sam were not pleased to have been fixed up.  But they liked their friends so they went along with it for this one meal. 
     When Beth see’s Sam she doesn’t think he’s bad looking but she knows he’s not someone her mom would find acceptable.  Long hair, beard, and tattoos.  Not to mention that the look on his face shows that he is not even interested.  After a tense dinner, both choose to not have dessert.  As soon as they could they bolted, glad it was over.  They both made it to the red light at the intersection at the same time. 
     The light turns green Sam was going straight and Beth was making a right turn as she proceeded to go not seeing that a teen was going to be running a red light until it was too late.  The teen was texting.  She was stuck full impact.  Sam sees it all happen right before his eyes.  He goes to her aide.  Both of their lives are forever changed in that moment.

     You won’t want to miss this story.  Seeing how dysfunction in Beth’s life, near death experience, and Sam’s past secrets change these two forever.  I give this: 5 stars.  Provided by netgalley.com.  Follow us at: www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

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