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Thank you to Netgalley and Montlake Romance for providing me with a digital copy of this title. This is my honest review of If You Must Know by Jamie Beck. It publishes on June 1, 2020.
If You Must Know is a contemporary novel set in Potomac Point, a small coastal town along the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, Maryland. This novel follows the Foster Family. Life turns upside down for sisters Amanda and Erin Foster who couldn’t be any more different. Amanda is a pulled-together, part-time early childhood educator, expectant wife to her real-estate mogul husband Lyle. Erin is a struggling yoga-teaching, bath-bomb making free-spirit.
The Foster family’s separate but happy lives in Potomac Point are all twisted by lies. This forces them to build trust in each other in order to save their family name when a scandal surfaces surrounding Amanda’s husband. Add in the fact that the sisters, along with their mother and brother, are still grieving the death of their father, who passed less than a year ago. What you get is a dramatic but lightly-written novel about a family coming together in times of struggle.
The biggest strength of this book was its fleshed-out female characters. I felt that I could understand Amanda and Erin’s personalities, both as sisters and as individuals. They seemed more different they are similar, which was a refreshing change. So often I read about sisters that are best friends and tied at the hip, but in this story you had two sisters with years of animosity and resentment between them. They had challenges to overcome which added to the story and the conflictual events of the book. Each chapter is an alternating perspective of Erin or Amanda, which helped me get inside their heads a little bit more. Their mother was a well-developed character as well, I just didn’t like her feeble portrayal and her high level of concern with what others thought of her. Her personality was so unappealing!
The writing is where I felt there was some lacking in the story. It didn’t grab me emotionally. It was very simplistic. There was not a lot of descriptive words that built the scenes. It was very “average” to me. Also, it is not a fast read. If you are going to read this book, I suggest it as a beach read. There are no content warnings and it’s an easy yet intriguing story to follow.
The surprise of this book was the inclusion of a slow-burning romance. I sure would be interested in reading more of that storyline! Otherwise, there isn’t a lot of romance and Jamie Beck kind of misses the mark on that genre if it is what she was going for. Because of its girl-power centric attitude, I would classify If You Must Know as more of a women’s fiction or contemporary novel. It’s not quite powerful enough of a read to be a family saga.
As mentioned, this is the first book in the Potomac Point Series. From what I have read about it so far, the second book doesn’t follow up with the same characters, unfortunately. If You Must Know was one of my anticipated reads of the summer because I was hoping the Potomac Point series would become one I could follow. However, I’m unlikely to read the second book.
(3 / 5) I was missing the emotion of a family story and light romance. Plus, it was not a fast read.
For a full description of my rating system, please click here.
Thank you again to Netgalley and Montlake Romance for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review of If You Must Know by Jamie Beck.
It publishes on June 1, 2020. You can pre-order / purchase it here: