If You Must Know
by Jamie Beck
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Book #1 in the Potomac Point series
Number of Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley ARC
Read 5/29/20 to 5/30/20
Sisters Amanda Foster and Erin Turner have little in common except the childhood bedroom they once shared and the certainty each feels that her way of life is best. Amanda follows the rules—at the school where she works; in her community; and as a picture-perfect daughter, wife, and mother-to-be. Erin follows her heart—in love and otherwise—living a bohemian lifestyle on a shoestring budget and honoring her late father’s memory with a passion for music and her fledgling bath-products business.
The sisters are content leading separate but happy lives in their hometown of Potomac Point until everything is upended by lies that force them to confront unsettling truths about their family, themselves, and each other. For sisters as different as these two, building trust doesn’t come easily—especially with one secret still between them—but it may be the only way to save their family.
Man, this story is a gut-punch. The women in this family are put through the ringer. As much as they love each other, they don’t seem to be able to relate to each other. Words said in solidarity or support are often taken wrong and end up hurting instead of helping.
There is certainly plenty of foreshadowing for the reader; the catalyst to Erin and Amanda making amends and finding their way to being supportive sisters are obvious. This story isn’t about their woes, but how they handle those problems and learn to work together.
While I love Erin and feel very deeply for her and how she’s treated by her mom and sister, I still found myself identifying with Amanda even more. Not her circumstances or even how she reacts to things, I am not a people pleaser like her, but the feelings in her that cause her to react the way she reacts. The middle child, introvert in me could clearly see Amanda in a way that almost hurt. Even when I was ticked at Amanda for being blind to the way her comments and her mom’s comments effected Erin, I still understood her. Jamie Beck really outdid herself in the development of the main characters in this book.
I can’t lay all the blame on Amanda. Erin does her part of keeping her family at arm’s length. She’s conditioned to believe anything she says or does will be met with derision, or even totally disregarded. But sometimes she reacts before giving her family a chance. And while Amanda may be blind to Erin’s hurts, Erin also doesn’t truly see how her actions have bothered Amanda throughout her life.
This story is a bit depressing, but there is a ray of hope that is woven throughout. The book ends on a good note, like a rainbow after a storm.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**