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Review: If For Any Reason

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Review: If For Any Reason

15 Jun Posted by in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: If For Any Reason
Review: If For Any Reason

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Christian Fiction
Publisher: Tyndale
Publication Date: Feb 2020

The island of Nantucket is the place where Emily Ackerman learned to love theater. It’s where she experienced her greatest freedom, and where she experienced her greatest loss. She never expected to return but a professional failure has her looking for a place to hide. What better place than the house her grandfather left to her on the island?

Hollis McGuire grew up next door to Emily’s cottage on Nantucket. His family rented their house, and his father worked for the “rich folks”. Hollis was a “have not” to Emily’s “have everything,” but their friendship was close in spite of the differences in their finances. As an adult, Hollis is a single dad, retired baseball player, with wealth of his own. He has a month to prove to his daughter that she is more to him than a responsibility he never wanted. Can he convince Jolie that she is more important to him than anything else?

Emily grew up knowing only her mother’s love. While she felt the absence of her father, between her mother and her grandfather, she never seemed to lack love. Her world crashes at the age of 11, when her mother dies in a crash that Emily survives. Her only solace as an adult is the book of letters her mother left behind for her that she titled “If for Any Reason.” When she arrives on Nantucket to discover that the beautiful cottage she remembers has fallen into disrepair, and to top everything off the summer children’s production has been discontinued, she can’t sit idly by and let her grandfather’s legacy disappear. As it becomes apparent that for the production to proceed, she will need to take the reins, every one of Emily’s insecurities makes an appearance. Can she put all of that aside to bring one good thing out of the losses she’s had?

Emily feels abandoned by nearly everyone who ever loved her, and by some who SHOULD have loved her. Her mother dies tragically, she never knew her father, and her grandparents were always distant, at best, critical, at worst. She even lost her childhood best friend, Hollis, when she is whisked away from Nantucket after the accident. So much of her life has been spent chasing her mother’s dreams, Emily doesn’t even know what her own dreams are. As she immerses herself in the world of children’s theater, and works to rehab the cottage, clues arise that point to her past being different than she always believed it to be. Can she “do hard things” and unravel the mystery while not doing what she does best, run away?

Wow! What a story! Courtney Walsh’s ability to show every emotion her characters feel is on full display in “If For Any Reason”. Emily’s abandonment issues take center stage, but Hollis’ guilt over his own parenting comes a close second. Emily’s grandmother’s rich snobbishness nearly destroys both her daughter and her granddaughter, and over all of this is a sense of God at work to make things right again. When Emily’s world seems the most unraveled it has ever been, God knits something new in her, and in those around her that just might be better than she could have imagined.

Fans of Courtney Walsh will LOVE this story, as will those who love sweet romance with a touch of mystery. I especially loved the letters from Emily’s mother, imparting wisdom from her experiences. Don’t miss this one from Courtney Walsh!


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