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.
Praise for If Not for You
“[An] uplifting and deliciously romantic tale with vibrant characters and a wide range of emotions.”—RT Book Reviews
“A heartwarming story of forgiveness and unexpected love.”—Harlequin Junkie
“A fun, sweet read.”—Publishers Weekly
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||4 MB|
About the Author
Hometown:Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:Yakima, Washington
Education:Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college
Read an Excerpt
“Give Mozart a chance,” Beth pleaded with the teenage boy who stared doggedly down at the classroom floor. “Once you listen to his music you’ll feel differently, I promise.”
The youth continued to avoid eye contact and then chanced a look in the direction of Bailey Madison. Beth had noticed the teenage girl sneaking glances in his direction through most of the class. Before class, both students had asked for transfers, which disappointed her. Beth didn’t want to lose either one.
“I like music, but I’m not into that classical stuff,” Noah told her.
“But you might be if you gave it a chance,” Beth said in what she hoped was an encouraging voice. Noah Folgate sat through the entire class period with his arms folded and his eyes closed, except when he took peeks at Bailey.
“Besides, the only reason I signed up for the class was because my girlfriend, I mean my ex-girlfriend, did.”
“You can stay in the class,” Bailey said. “I’m dropping out.”
Beth motioned for Bailey to join them. Noah’s gaze narrowed and he crossed his arms and refused to look in the other girl’s direction.
“Bailey, why did you register for the class?” Beth asked.
Clenching her books to her chest, Bailey shrugged. “I’m in band. I like anything to do with music.”
“Are you and Noah friends?”
“We . . . used to be.”
“Would you like to be again?” Beth asked.
Noah stared at the teenage girl. Bailey nodded and her voice trembled when she said, “More than anything.”
Noah blinked as though her words had shocked him.
Beth knew better than to get caught in the middle of teenage angst. She really did, but she’d watched these two closely through class and suspected that whatever had happened between them was what prompted them to ask for a transfer.
“Noah, would you be willing to give the class another week?”
The high school junior shrugged.
“Bailey, what about you?”
“I suppose that would be all right.”
“Great.” Beth rubbed her palms together. “We’ll talk again next Friday, and if you both feel the same way, I’ll do what I can to help you find another class.”
“Can I go now?” Noah asked.
The boy shot out of the class, but Bailey lingered behind. “I know what you’re doing, Miss Prudhomme. I don’t think it’ll help. Noah thinks I cheated on him. I didn’t, but I can’t make him believe me. I don’t know that I can be with someone who doubts me and has trust issues. I’ll give it another week, but don’t expect Noah to change his mind. If he doesn’t, it will be far too painful to be in class with him and see him every day.”
“Of course,” Beth said sympathetically. She hoped they could work it out. She’d done what she could; the rest was up to them. She really hated to see them drop out of the class for personal reasons, especially when by their own admission they were both musically inclined. Unfortunately, they had little understanding or appreciation of the depth and beauty of classical music. Given the chance, she believed they would come to love it as much as she did. Noah and Bailey were exactly the kind of students she enjoyed most. The challenge, of course, was to keep the two of them from dropping out of class.
This was Beth’s first teaching experience, but she’d had some success convincing her private piano students to give Schubert, Bach, and Beethoven a try. Once they’d learned about the great composers and played their music, her private students had been hooked. Beth hoped to hook these high school students as well.
Feeling like she’d made headway, Beth straightened her desk. It was Friday at the end of a long week of classes and she was more than ready for the weekend, not that she had any big plans. As a recent transplant from Chicago, the only person Beth knew, other than a few teachers, was her aunt Sunshine. She was making friends, though, at church, where she volunteered for the choir, and in her apartment building.
Sunshine was the best. Just thinking about her eccentric, fun-loving aunt produced a smile. Beth didn’t know what she would do without her. Her aunt had given her the courage and the encouragement to break away from the dictates of her family. Beth loved her parents, but they, especially her mother, had definite ideas about who she should marry, her career, her friends, and just about everything else. Until she moved, her mother even accompanied her when she bought clothes, not trusting Beth to choose her own wardrobe. Without realizing what she was doing, her mother was strangling her. She had to break away or suffocate.
She had saved money from teaching piano and was prepared to leave in the middle of the night rather than argue. Her family wasn’t holding her prisoner; she was free to go. Sunshine was the one who’d invited Beth to move to Portland, Oregon. Looking for employment, she went online and saw an opening for a music teacher in a local high school. Beth wanted that job in the worst way and was determined to get it, to live her own life instead of the one her mother saw for her.
Before following through with her escape plans, Beth decided to tell her father. He was by far the more reasonable of the two. It’d been a good decision. Even now Beth didn’t know what he said to her mother, but whatever it was had been life-changing for her. The next morning Phillip, her father, told her she had his word that Ellie, her mother, would not visit or interfere in Beth’s life for six months. No visits to Portland. No tearful phone calls. No tossing guilt. Any contact would be instigated by Beth herself.
She was basically free; well, at least for the next six months. Before her mother could change her mind, Beth loaded up her car and left that very day. Her mother had stood on the lawn and wept as Beth backed into the street and started on her way.
When she arrived in Portland, she stayed the first few days with her aunt, scheduled interviews, and was over the moon when she was hired at the high school. As soon as she had the job, she found an apartment she could afford and for the first time in her twenty-five years she was on her own.
Weeks earlier she’d had no hope, but now, after breaking away, hope had found her. When she was settled in her own apartment, Beth called her parents and told them she was set. The conversation had been awkward, and when her mother had sniffled softly, her father made her get off the phone. Beth knew the tears were about more than the fact that she’d left Chicago. It hurt her mother that Beth was in the same city as Sunshine. The two sisters had never gotten along. Whatever had caused the rift between them was a mystery to Beth. She hoped that at some point Sunshine would explain what it was that had put such a heavy strain on their relationship. Once in her youth, Beth had asked her mother, but her mother had said it was something that happened a long time ago and wouldn’t explain further.
Beth collected her books and purse and was heading down the hallway when she heard her name.
“Beth,” Nichole Nyquist, a substitute English teacher who’d befriended her, called out from behind her.
“Hey,” Beth said, smiling as she turned around, happy to run into her friend. It’d been a couple days since they’d last connected. They met during the first week of classes and struck up an immediate friendship. After the birth of her second son, Nichole had given up her full-time position and currently worked only as needed. Seeing Nichole was a treat, as she hadn’t been at school all week.
“Do you have a minute?” Nichole asked.
“I wanted to ask you to dinner tomorrow night.”
“Oh.” The invitation came as something of a surprise. She’d been to Nichole’s house once and briefly met her husband, son, and stepdaughter. Kaylene was also a senior at the high school. Nichole and Beth ate lunch together in the teachers’ lounge when they could, but those times were rare.
“I know it’s last-minute. I wanted to connect with you earlier but didn’t, and the next thing I knew it was Friday. I’ve been thinking about this awhile; I hope you can come.”
“I don’t have any plans,” Beth said, a bit wary of this sudden bout of chattiness from Nichole. “You’ve been thinking about what?” Nichole had left that part suspiciously blank.
“Ah . . .”
“Is there something you aren’t telling me?”
Nichole scratched her ear and then let out a long sigh. “Actually, there is. Rocco is inviting his best friend, Sam Carney, to dinner. I wanted the two of you to meet.”
Beth held the textbook closer to her chest. So that was it. Nichole planned on setting her up with Rocco’s friend. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem. She’d gone out to dinner and a movie with Tyler Crowley, an English teacher. He was divorced, lonely, and a little too eager to get involved in a relationship. Beth turned him down for a second date when he’d asked her again. He got the message after that.
Nichole paused as though hesitant, and Beth knew there was more to the story. “Tell me a little about Sam.”
Nichole slipped her purse strap over her shoulder and clung to it as if she wasn’t sure where to start. “He’s a great guy and he isn’t bad looking either.”
“Single. Never been married. He’s a mechanic, and from what Rocco tells me, he’s one of the best in the city. Apparently, he can fix just about anything.”
If nothing else, Beth would know where to go if she experienced car trouble. Still, she sensed there was something else Nichole wasn’t telling her. “And . . .” she prompted.
“And, well, Sam probably isn’t like any other guy you’ve ever dated.”
Seeing as her dating experience had been limited to an approved list from her mother and that one date with Tyler, that was probably true. Still, she felt obliged to ask. “Different in what way?”
Nichole glanced down the hall as if looking for someone. “It’s hard to explain.”
Beth waited, giving Nichole time to collect her thoughts.
Her friend sucked in a deep breath. “When I first met Sam, he was . . . I’m not sure how to explain it. Let’s just say he was a bit unconventional . . . still is, for that matter.”
That was a curious way of putting it. “How so?”
“He swore a lot.”
“Not good.” Beth got enough of that from her students in the hallways. She found it to be in bad taste and a sign of a poor vocabulary.
“It’s better now,” Nichole was quick to add. “Owen makes Sam give him a dollar for every swear word he uses.” She struggled to hold back a smile. “The first few months I was convinced he was going to pay for my son’s college education.”
Owen was Nichole’s son from her first marriage. “Good for Owen.”
“I can’t say what Sam’s language is like now, but when he’s around the house his descriptive phrasing isn’t as picturesque as it once was. Rocco and I don’t get out as much as we once did, so we don’t see Sam socially a lot anymore. He stops by the house a couple times a week, though. He’s crazy about Matthew. I’ve never seen a man take to a baby the way he has. He’s perfectly content to hold him, and he isn’t averse to changing a diaper, either. Just not a messy one.”
So he liked babies. That was good. The swearing was troublesome, though. Sure as anything, her parents would balk at the thought of her dating a mechanic, but then she’d specifically moved from Chicago to get out from under their thumb.
“Anything else you care to tell me about Sam?” she asked, undecided. Frankly, this dinner didn’t sound promising and could end up being a disaster.
Nichole held her gaze. “Actually, I think it would be best if I didn’t say anything more. You should make up your own mind about Sam. All I can tell you is that he’s a really great guy. I had my doubts when I first met him and you might, too. Just give him a chance, okay?”
Beth nibbled on her lower lip. “Let me think about it. Can I get back to you either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning?”
“Sure. I know it’s a last-minute invite . . .”
“It’s fine, Nichole. Thanks for thinking of me. I’ll let you know soon. Promise.”
They left the building together, and by the time Beth reached Sunshine’s studio she’d decided against meeting Sam. It would be a waste of time on both their parts. From what little Nichole had said, it didn’t appear they had anything in common. The music teacher and the mechanic.
Not a good match.
Not a good idea.
Sunshine was busy painting, her long, thick, salt-and-pepper hair hanging straight and loose, reaching all the way down to the middle of her back. Beth couldn’t ever remember seeing her aunt in anything other than long skirts and Birkenstocks. She’d remained a flower child who never outgrew the 1960s. Concentrating on her work, her aunt apparently didn’t hear Beth enter her studio.
Standing back, Beth waited and watched. Her aunt was a talented artist. Her work was highly sought after and hung in galleries all across the country. What fascinated Beth was the prices she got for a few squiggly lines. It was between those lines where Sunshine’s talent came to life. In that space was intricate artwork, cleverly hidden at first glance. It often took Beth several minutes to see the full picture.
This current project displayed rows upon rows of blooming poppies, their color vibrant against a backdrop of what appeared to be random strokes of red paint. She stared at it for several minutes until she saw it. A school of fish. Unbelievable. Beth couldn’t help being mesmerized.
Her aunt released a deep breath as if she’d been holding it in and then relaxed, stepping back to consider her work, and nearly tripped over Beth.
“Beth, how long have you been here?” she asked, setting down her paintbrush.
Sunshine apparently followed Beth’s eyes and cocked her head to one side. “You like?”
“It’s brilliant.” As far as Beth was concerned, there was no other word for it.
Sunshine tossed back her head and laughed, the sound bubbling up from her like champagne fizz. Beth loved hearing her aunt’s laugher. It had a magical quality that never ceased to amuse her. Just listening to it made her want to laugh, too. She resisted the urge to close her eyes and store it in her memory bank for times when she was low and struggled with worry or frustration.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
B&n please stop letting jerks put stupid stuff on here. I enjoy reading the reviews not some childish garbage. .
A good story but was a little slow moving at times?
Great read. Just ordered her next book...If Not for you.
I enjoyed this book! Very interesting charachters and alot of forgiving and letting go of the past .
I always enjoy Debbie's books since the characters are intertwined with earlier book characters. I look forward to her next novel.
This is one my new favorite books! I loved the characters and it's always great to revisit other couples
Loved this story! It pulls you in immediately & doesn't let go until the end! I have no qualms about recommending it.
I absolutely love all of her books but this one the characters seem very imature giving there age. Some of their dialog seems silly to me . I have never had to push through one of her books but this one I am finding myself doing that . Sorry Debbie I still love you and your still ,y favorite author.
Debbie Macomber delivers another story of love and self discover . Beth and Sam each learned to be open to love. And Sunshine renewed her one true love.
I loved the story of this family. Very touching and believable
Would like to know what happens next.Great read.
Have read all her books....This one was just weak. Weak characters and plot. It's never taken me 4 days to get thru one of her books.
This is a perfectly nice, clean romance from Macomber. Beth Prudhomme finally stands up to her overbearing mother and moves to a town on the West Coast, where her aunt lives. She lands a job teaching music and a new friend in town, Nichole, invites her to dinner. Beth's not sure about a set up, but then neither is Rocco's friend. There, she meets Sam Carney, someone who would normally seem completely unsuitable for her. After the car accident (which is detailed in the prologue, no spoiler!) Sam and Beth’s lives and ideas about each other change immeasurably. Sam Carney is one of the best characters in the book, his growing realization about his feelings were very well done. I didn’t know what to expect with Sunshine’s story, but it was fine to be included, a bit after the story was underway. She and Beth’s mother Ellie have been estranged for years. While I really enjoyed the tidbits about the players from the previous stories, Beth's impulsiveness seemed at odds with her at times and things settled rather quickly for all.
Blind dates can be dreadful or surprising. Beth and Sam weren’t looking forward to the one their friends set up. What happens on that date was life-changing! A pleasurable clean romantic read. Loved the characters and the witty banter; especially revisiting Rocco and Nicole, Aunt Sunshine and ultimately, Peter. The story was good, though rushed. 3 1/2 stars. Voluntarily read an ARC thru Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.
Nobody does realistic, down to earth, romance stories like Debbie Macomber. This is the third book in New Beginnings series and I have really enjoyed them. They are all about second chances and taking chances on life and love to have your new Beginning. Beth Prudhomme is twenty five year old woman who has been smothered by her mother since birth. They are a well to do family and her mother thinks she knows what and who are best for Beth. Beth decides it is time to take control of her life and moves from Chicago to Portland where she will be closer to her Aunt Sunshine. She gets a job teaching music and becomes friends with Nichole, another teacher. When Nichole sets her up on a blind date with her friend, Sam, Beth gives in after her Aunt tells her that this could be the one. Beth and Sam do not hit it off. She is polished and a little uptight, Sam is rough around the edges, a mechanic with long hair, a beard and tattoos. When dinner is over, they cannot get to the door fast enough. On the way home, Beth is t-boned and Sam witnesses the accident. He jumps out of his truck to see if he can help and holds her hand until the EMS arrives. That sets the stage for their second chance. I was hooked and could not wait to see if Sam and Beth were going to get together. There are several storylines going on in this story involving Sunshine and her sister as well as a lost love, Nichole and Sam, Sam's baggage from a previous relationship as well as Beth's growing independence. The characters are very well developed that you feel as if you know them. Beth has a huge heart and truly cares about others. She does not want to see anyone hurting and will do what she can to fix what she sees is the problem. Unfortunately, she tends to stick her nose in others people's business and sometimes the results are heart breaking. Sunshine is exactly what her name says. She is an artist who is loving, happy and wants the best for Beth. She has some regrets in her life that she wants to change. Sam is everything a male romantic hero is supposed to be. He is rough around the edges and not one to show his emotions. When he falls in love, he falls hard and will do whatever he can to make the other person happy. The book has everything. There is love, forgiveness, jealousy, unsuspecting emotions, and second chances. Yes, this is a feel good book, but it is a book that is totally believable. That is exactly what I want when I pick up a book by Debbie Macomber. If you are looking for a book to make you feel good, go through a range of emotions and root for the characters, then pick this one up. You will not be disappointed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Another fantastic book by Debbie Macomber. This was a wonderful story of new love, old love, family, heartbreak and overcoming obstacles. It was great to follow the growth of Beth Prudhomme as she stretches her wings by moving from Chicago to Portland as well as her family.
I really enjoyed the story of Sam & Beth. Both characters were well developed and multi-dimensional. It was nice to have characters from "The Girl's Guide To Moving On" appear in this book also.. This book was full of surprises. Many different stories besides the main characters! Definitely an opposites attract story! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. I had to take a short break reading for a few days, but this was the perfect book to get me back reading. I couldn't put it down once I started it! “I received a free, advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.”
Debbie Macomber pulls at our heartstrings with this latest book in her New Beginning series! If you read either of the previous books in the series, you'll be sure to recognize Nichole who is the BFF of the heroine of this one. It was fun to catch up on how she and Rocco are doing and hearing a little about Owen, Leanne & Nicolai! :) I enjoyed the characters and the plot for the most part, but found it a little difficult to connect with them as a whole. There were however several sub-plots that added a lot to the overall book. Beth Prudhomme was at her wits end with her overbearing mother, so she up and moved from her home in Chicago to Portland, Oregon where her beloved Aunt Sunshine lived. It was exhilarating for her to finally be on her own to find the job of her dreams teaching music to high schoolers, and enjoying living however she wanted to. When her fellow teacher and friend Nichole wants to set her up with a friend of her husband's, she's leary, but she agrees to go. Mechanic Sam Carney isn't the type of guy she'd ever take home to her mother. He's long haired and tattooed and cusses like a sailor. They are both quick to realize they aren't interested in each other and beat a hasty retreat as soon as dinner is over, but a chance accident at the corner changes their lives in ways they never could have imagined! Sam is the first on the scene after she's hit by a car that ran the red light, and he keeps her calm and stays by her side until help arrives. He goes to the hospital with her and finds himself returning every day while she recovers. The connection they felt at the accident scene and the hours they spend visiting draws them closer and eventually into a relationship. Will they each be able to overcome their own issues and pasts in order to make a future together?
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 IF NOT FOR YOU by Debbie Macomber Audio Edition If Not for You by Debbie MacomberIf Not for You by Debbie Macomber With 170 million books in print and 260K Facebook fans you know Debbie Macomber is a beloved author. Why? Because she writes stories that touch our heartstrings and are filled with characters to whom we can relate. She does it again with If Not For You which is beautifully read by five Earphone Awards winner Khristine Hvam. Who among us hasn't at one time or another felt that his or her parents weren't a bit overbearing? Well, Beth Prudhomme has felt that way in spades - she has literally existed under her parents' thumb for 29 years. t long last she determines to strike out on her own and moves from Chicago to Portland where she reconnects with her Aunt Sunshine (aptly named we might add.) Beth finds a job as a high school music teacher and becomes close friends with Nicole Nyquist. She seems to be comfortably settling in. Comfort is no longer an appropriate word when Nicole introduces Beth to Sam. Saying both are unimpressed is putting it mildly. Sam is a tattooed mechanic whose idea of a date is a gal who likes to play pool and drink beer - the opposite of a high school music teacher. While Sam is Beth's parents' worst fear. Fate stepped in one evening when Beth was involved in an automobile accident which Sam witnessed. He stayed with her until help arrived and then perhaps out of obligation he visited her at the hospital. That first visit became daily visits simply because he could not stay away. Both became aware that something might be growing between them. This was the quiet before the storm - you'll not want to miss what happens when Beth's mother careens into town spouting harsh opinions of Sam and reopening old wounds with Aunt Sunshine. As is her wont Debbie Macomber creates a conclusion that makes us smile and warms our hearts. Enjoy!
Thank you NetGalley for the copy of It Not for You by Debbie Macomber that I read and reviewed. This is the third book in the New Beginnings series and even though it is a stand alone it does contain a lot of spoilers for the second book so if you haven't read it and are planning on reading it I would suggest you read the books in order or at least the second and third due to spoilers. Now for this book. It started off really fast then slowed down a bit and for me that was a bit strange but I guess it worked for this book in the grand scheme of things because I really ended up enjoying it. Beth and Sam seemed like they would be total opposites and not work but as the book moved on as a reader you had no choice but to cheer for them. I loved how in this book true opposites attracted. Then there was Sunshine, Beth's aunt who was dealing with the pain of the betrayal of her sister and really not getting over her true love. Her story that was intertwined with Sam and Beth's added a second layer to this book and a second character for the reader to cheer for. This book is not your typical romance if that is what you are looking for. Things are not always easy for these characters and they have to fight their own demons and their pasts to get their happily ever after in this story and the journey they go through makes them stronger as individuals, as a family and as couples and that is what makes this book so special. I am giving It Not for You four out of five stars
This is the newest book in her New Beginnings series. You may even recognize a few of the names.... Nichole, Rocco, Leanne and NIkolai, all from A Girl's Guide to Moving On. This book is about Nichole's best friend , Beth, and Sam who is Rocco's best friend. Nichole tries to set them up on a blind date which ends quickly as it seems the two have nothing at all in common. On the way home Beth is in a bad car accident and Sam witnesses the whole thing. He calls the paramedics and stays by her side until they arrive. What starts out as compassion turns to much more and their relationship gets tested. The ultimate question is asked....are there some things love just can't overcome?
There is nothing more fun than to read a story and get this feeling that you know the characters. You connect with them on more than one level. You realize that you have read about some of them before. That little touch of awareness creeps up. Then it dawns on you. Some of these people we met in the author’s last book! And everything just blends together. But that does not mean that you have to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. Not at all. This great story is a standalone. But it is enhanced by knowing the other characters. Learning to deal with life is tough and Beth is doing it the hard way. By moving across country to stand on her own, she finds that it can be down right difficult too! But with a good friend and her Aunt by her side, she is figuring it all out. Until an accident almost derails her plans and an unexpected man becomes an important fixture in her life. If Not For You by Debbie Macomber is a delightful story about an unsuspecting love that can sneak up on us when least expected. Written with the same flair and flavor in her touching style we have come to love, this story is one that is full of innocent love with a few mistakes to learn from too. A touching and clean romance that speaks to sweet love, good friends, and living life as it should be. Includes a feel good ending that makes it all worth while as we learn opposites do attract, even in matters of the heart. * arc received for review consideration