If Not For You by Debbie Macomber
Earlier this week, Debbie Macomber released her newest novel, If Not For You. I’ve enjoyed the lightness of some of her books before and in the middle of trying to read heavier literature and An Army at Dawn (a Pulitzer non-fiction winner about World War II), I thought this would be the perfect time to read a lighter romance.
I was a little disappointed that this wasn’t exactly light, though. It wasn’t a steamy romance, of course, but because of a car accident, most of the book takes place in a hospital or rehab center. This isn’t exactly an exciting setting or a great location for a romance, and it wasn’t my favorite aspect of the book.
I did like the characters to a point, though I thought they were both a little too extreme. Beth, the Bible-reading good girl who just has to defy her parents (because for some reason, at age 25, she still needs their permission to live her life?), is too unrealistic to me. Sam, the rough-around-the-edges mechanic who (of course) sweeps her off her feet, despite (or perhaps because of) his unsuitability in Beth’s mother’s plans, has too many issues that pop up that just aren’t necessary. Between the two of them, I thought they created problems where there weren’t any.
Besides this, I didn’t really get the sense that they belonged together. I liked that Sam was attentive and kind, but I didn’t see why they were so hooked on each other. The romance element was lacking for me, or at least, the escapist romance was. I could see how these two might have fallen in love in real life based on their situation, but for a book, it was a little lackluster.
I didn’t not like it, though. It was a quick read and I liked seeing Beth’s growth over time, though she did make a lot of dumb repeat mistakes. I ended up giving this three stars because I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it, either. It didn’t work as much for what I was looking for, but it might be someone else’s cup of tea.
*ARC from Ballantine Books via NetGalley