Adult Fiction book review

If You Must Know by Jamie Beck


About the Book

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.

About the Author

Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Jamie Beck’s realistic and heartwarming stories have sold more than two million copies. She is a two-time Booksellers’ Best Award finalist and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, and critics at Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist have respectively called her work “smart,” “uplifting,” and “entertaining.” In addition to writing novels, she enjoys hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah and dancing around the kitchen while cooking. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family. Fans can get exclusive excerpts, inside scoops, and be eligible for birthday gift drawings by subscribing to her newsletter at She also loves interacting with everyone on Facebook at

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Librarian Laura’s Review of If You Must Know

ifyoumustknowSisters Amanda Foster and Erin Turner are different in so many ways. Amanda, a preschool teacher, has been married to Lyle for two years and has a baby on the way. Erin embraces the ability to be unique, and she hasn’t really ever settled down with one guy or one job. She teaches yoga part time and supplements that meager income selling handmade soaps and bath products in an Etsy shop. Because of their differences, the sisters don’t always understand the one another’s choices or see eye-to-eye on things. The one thing they do have in common is the aching grief and loss of losing their beloved father suddenly just a few years ago.

Amanda’s husband Lyle leaves for one of his frequent business trips as a property investor, but this time something isn’t quite right. She finds out that her husband is cheating on her and that he has no plans to give back the couple hundred thousand dollars he borrowed from Amanda’s mother for a startup in Florida. Sneaky, lying Lyle spends all the money on a yacht on which he and his new bimbo, Ebba, plan to sail away. Amanda has no means to support her unborn daughter or to keep the house on her own, plunging her into an embarrassing nightmare situation. As the disbelief, anger, hurt, and worry for the future begin to weigh down on 7 months pregnant Amanda, she turns to her mother and sister for support. Despite their disagreements and annoyances with each other, they are family and family supports one another through thick and thin. That’s what Amanda is hoping at least. Amanda never dreamed that her life would take such a turn and that she would be talking to private investigators, divorce lawyers, police, and FBI agents. Will she be able to get her mother’s money back before Lyle takes off with his forever? How will she ever support herself and her daughter when she loses their home to foreclosure?

Meanwhile, Erin is dangerously close to losing her apartment because she can’t afford the rent, especially after she breaks up with her deadbeat boyfriend Max who then steals and sells all of her precious albums from her father. Luckily, when Erin tracks down the albums, fate brings her to meet Eli. Eli is like a breath of fresh air to Erin, and they decide to start off as friends. When Erin has to make a tough decision to help her sister Amanda at all costs, will she risk losing any chance she had of a real relationship with Eli? You’ll have to read it and find out.

If You Must Know has strong themes of friendship, family, and forgiveness. There is very subtle hints of romance and very little profanity, so I would place this book in the clean and wholesome romance genre. Fans of Jennifer Probst and Sarah Morgan will enjoy this book. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an early review copy of this book. If you would like to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of If You Must Know, enter the giveaway at the link below.

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway!


Q&A with Author Jamie Beck

How do you describe your newest novel If You Must Know?

This book is a “beach book” in the best sense. It’s not angsty, yet it has a page-turning plot and a bunch of interesting, relatable characters. I think it’s entertaining and heartfelt at the same time, which is exactly what many enjoy reading while on vacation.

What inspired the novel?

The external plot came to me as a result of the influence of two people in my life. My dear friend’s husband is a forensic accountant, so some of his stories about how people hide money and flee their families provided one point of inspiration. The second is my mother’s best friend who, in her seventies, sold her house and bought a boat, which she and her husband live on full-time. The impetus for the oil-and-water sisters was to provide myself an opportunity to explore the sibling-rivalry dynamic.

Tell us about the two main characters in the story—sisters Amanda and Erin.

Amanda is the middle child. She’s diligent, earnest, hard-working, and generous. She wants the people she loves to be happy and feel her love. Her weakness is a deep-seated insecurity—a sense that she is not interesting enough to be lovable. This leads her to overlook when she is being taken for granted because her need to be pleasing is omnipresent.

Erin is the baby of the family and her late-father’s pet. She is outgoing, fun-loving, and views her average intelligence as a blessing (rather than lamenting that her siblings are smarter). She is willful and has her own way of moving through the world. The big weakness she has is her impulsiveness, whether with jobs or relationships. As she approaches her 30th birthday, she’s looking to mature and create a more stable life for herself.

What kind of relationship do the sisters have?

I think they share a typical relationship insofar as their differences cause many misunderstandings and instill in each a sense of being judged by the other, and yet they do care about and love each other, too. They simply do not know how to be true friends and trust the other—at least not at the outset of this tale.

This book focused on the main female characters growing and learning about themselves. What prompted this ‘women’s fiction’ approach to the story?

Partly market forces and partly my own need to stretch. At 53, it was becoming more difficult to write a 20-something woman facing the challenges of dating. The shift to women’s fiction allows me to write late-30 and early 40-something characters, which comes more naturally to me. I also enjoy exploring family and friendship dynamics, and absolutely love having endless options for story arcs (as opposed to having to follow a traditional romance arc).

What does your new Potomac Point series have in common with your previous books?

All my books to date have focused on critical relationships and some type of redemption theme. I find damaged people to be very interesting and believe that there is good in most everyone, so I prefer to populate my stories with flawed people who must confront their inner demons in order to be happy. My new books will also focus on relationships and redemption, but the non-romantic relationships (or even the relationship with one’s self) will be more central.



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