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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bumpy Prose Aside, The Good Father Makes For A Compelling Read

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Travis Brown never planned on becoming a father at 18, let alone a single one, but ever since his daughter's birth four years ago, Travis has had only one goal:  to do right by Bella.  And he has.  It hasn't been an easy life or a glamorous one and yet, Bella's growing into a smart, healthy, sweet little girl.  Travis couldn't ask for anything more.  

Robin Saville shouldn't even be alive, but here she is, about to become the wife of the next mayor of small town Beaufort, North Carolina.  She should be thrilled about it all—her upcoming society wedding, her powerful in-laws, her new position as one of Beaufort's elite—it's more than her weak little heart could have taken.  Thank goodness for her heart transplant and the hope it's given her for a long, happy life.  Only, ever since her 17-year-old sister-in-law to be gave birth to a baby girl, Robin's felt unsettled.  Old emotions are rising to the surface, reminding Robin that, not so long ago, she brought her own newborn daughter into the world ...

Erin Patterson, a pharmacist in Raleigh, can't get over her own loss.  Four-year-old Carolyn was her light and her life, the sunshine that lit her entire universe.  When the little girl died, she might as well have taken her mother with her.  Torn up by her grief, Erin feels too paralyzed to work, to talk to her husband, or to move on with her life.  Then, Bella Brown walks into Erin's favorite coffee shop and all that starts to change.

When tragedy strikes, Travis doesn't know where to turn.  Construction jobs are difficult to find in a struggling economy and Travis is having no luck finding anything else.  With less than $20 in his wallet, he's hit rock bottom.  He can get by with nothing, but he's not about to let Bella starve.  Then, an opportunity in Raleigh presents itself.  Travis knows it's not exactly legit.  He also knows he can't take a child along on such a risky "job."  So, he does something crazy, something that goes so horribly awry that Travis could lose everything, including the only thing that really matters to him—Bella.    

As a desperate father tries to save his daughter, Robin and Erin are pulled into the mess, a catastrophe that will change all of their lives forever. 

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain grabbed me from the first line, even though the sentence "It was nine-forty when I woke up in the back of the van" is only marginally intriguing.  It wasn't really the writing that got me, anyway, but the characters of Travis and Bella.  Their plight tore at my heart right from the start.  The rest of the story moves swiftly—although the writing and editing are a little bumpy—leading to a can't-put-it-down-until-you-know-how-it-ends conclusion.  The book definitely kept me entertained, although the story often feels contrived and the writing could have been much tighter.  Still, I enjoyed the read.  Because I liked it, I browsed through summaries of Chamberlain's other books and, let's just say, The Good Father won't be the last book I read by this author.  Her prose may not be perfect, but, oooh, a compelling premise will get me every time!

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of June Bug by Chris Fabry and The First Part Last by Angela Johnson)

Grade:  C+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, some sexual content and mature themes 

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain from the generous folks at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.  Thank you! 


  1. Someone else was just talking about this one...argh, I can't remember who. I really should check it out, though. Whoever it was said good things too.

  2. Just wanted to let you know that the 5 month update for the Bookmark Break Challenge is up!


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