Book Review, Contemporary, Family Relationships, Romance, Second Chance, Series, Starting Over

If You Stay (Red Bud, Iowa #3) by Barbara Meyers


A runaway daughter. An unforgiving father. A reluctant artist.

At 18, Joy Laurence took off with the local bad boy who left her widowed, broke and pregnant. Back then her formidable minister father hung up on her when she called home. Now that she’s back, he slams the door in her face. But for her adult daughter’s sake, she is determined to make peace with her family.

Although romance isn’t even on her radar, Joy can’t resist troubled and talented Granger Sullivan’s rough edges and skilled hands. And in his rebellious teenage daughter she sees her own reflection. Joy’s excitement dies when reconnecting with her past results not only in broken hearts, but broken lives. Including hers. She could admit defeat and walk away a second time.

But if she stays, can she find a way to reconcile with her loved ones and build the life she wants?


Barbara Meyers writes family conflicts well and book 3 in the Red Bud, Iowa series is no exception. Fathers and daughters are the theme, and reconciliation, redemption, and reconnection are in the cards. Can a young woman reconnect with the family she left behind 25 years ago?  Can a man of God finally learn to be as kind and giving to his family as he is to his parishioners? 

Joy Laurence is back to mend fences and connect with her family, but her father is as formidable and unforgiving as when she left. It seems like the phrase “when hell freezes over” is the outcome. Fortunately, Joy’s mother is overjoyed for her return which leads to discord and betrayal between her parents leaving Joy feeling even more guilty for causing distress in her family. Surprisingly, Joy did not expect to find romance and attraction with her handsome landlord and man of few words. But even he has trust issues with her. Perhaps she shouldn’t have come back at all.

Granger Sullivan is a divorced father of two who has a hard time with trust. His wife left him and his kids with no turning back and his teenage daughter is a handful, to say the least. When Granger sees his long-time crush return to their hometown, he wants to get to know her this time. However, misunderstandings and abandonment issues get in the way which could be the end of a good thing. Will she leave like the others, or will she find it worth staying?

Joy is a strong woman who has realized that life is short and it’s time to bury the hatchet with her selfish and unyielding father. Her father’s resentment is childish and brutal as he blames her for almost losing his wife in childbirth. WTF?  What father even thinks that? It takes time and extremely remarkable patience on Joy’s part to even be in the same room as the man, but she gives him the benefit of the doubt and gives her all to start over fresh. As for Granger, does he really deserve Joy? A few times I believed he didn’t with his harsh treatment of her. Again, Joy’s patience comes through as her promise to Granger’s daughter, Cassie, backfires. I loved the giving and taking of emotions in this family drama which is written with relatable characters and true-to-life issues.

There are lot of stories going on this book. From Joy’s mother and father’s points of view to Cassie’s point of view. There are many lessons of love, finding one’s own voice, standing up for what’s right, and a lot of forgiveness.  In fact, the beautiful forgiveness ceremony at Joy’s family reunion is a great happily ever after to an emotional story.

I highly recommend you read this beautifully written book and the Red Bud, Iowa series, you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you to Ms. Meyers for giving me the opportunity to read this boom with no expectation of a positive review.


If You Stay

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Barbara MeyersA few of my favorite things: My family and my dear, dear friends.

My addictions/vices: Books; wine…white zin or pinot grigio; coffee…an every morning must have; popcorn

What I do when I’m not writing: I read or I might be working at the local Starbucks, hanging out with the above-referenced friends and family; bicycling around my neighborhood; taking a nap.

I’m originally from Southwest Missouri, but I grew up in a bunch of tiny towns in Illinois and Idaho before I arrived in Florida where I currently reside. Want to know more about me? Read my blogs which you can access through my web site.

Follow Barbara on her websiteTwitterFacebookAmazon, and Goodreads.