The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain, published January 2012 by Harlequin Mira.
Read: July 2015
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: Four years ago, 19 year old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he’s never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe.
But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he’s worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble. Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a one-time criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions. With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter’s sake. Even if it means he might lose her.
Everyone knows I love me some Diane Chamberlain, right? This is an interesting one. I thought it was a little different than the rest of her novels, but not in a bad way. It could be because of the multiple POV, essentially telling three different, but intertwined stories. Or, it could be because of the age of the protagonist. This felt like Diane Chamberlain, with a dash of Colleen Hoover, and it would make an excellent contemporary YA/Adult crossover.
Just a quick review today, as I read this one a while ago but didn’t want to not review it on the blog. Chamberlain’s books always focus on the intricacies of family dynamics, and The Good Father is no different – but with added suspense and drama from Travis’ criminal side-job. This woman knows how to write very real and very flawed characters, who jump off the page and just come to life. While the blurb centres on Travis, this book also tells the story of Robin, the mother of Travis’ daughter, and Erin, a stranger Travis meets in a local coffee shop who tragically lost her young daughter. With each of the “main characters” lives to keep track of, as well as the many other side characters in each POV, you would think this would be a confusing storyline, but Chamberlain handles it expertly. As the story unfolds, we learn a lot about the characters’ back stories, and interestingly some of the more unlikeable characters become likeable, and vice versa. While Travis’ actions, at times, may be deemed to be unrealistic, considering the circumstances the guy was in, and his age, I think we can cut him some slack. Although Travis is billed as the main storyline, I would find it difficult to pick a favourite out of the main three – I definitely felt a strong connection to Erin as we follow her heart-breaking journey towards a sense of peace after the loss of her daughter. A definite recommendation for fans of contemporaries who enjoy some mystery, drama, and romance.
“You could block things from your mind for years at a time. You could make them go away because you know that if you let them in, the pain could nearly kill you.”
“Somebody’s appearance doesn’t always match what’s going on inside him. You can’t look at a guy’s face and see his demons.”
Have you read The Good Father, or have any favourite Diane Chamberlain books? Let me know in the comments!
I haven’t heard about this book before and this author is new to me. I love all aspects that you mentioned: complex family dynamics, suspense and real flawed characters. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. Wonderful review, Rachel!
Thanks! I hope you check Chamberlain out, if you like those things in books you should definitely like her work! R x
I loved this book – it made my heart ache in so many ways. Glad you enjoyed it!
Kate @ Ex Libris
Thanks, Kate. I’m a big Chamberlain fan and she has yet to disappoint me! R x
I haven’t read a single Diane Chamberlain book. Any suggestion?
No pressure! NO PRESSURE!!
OK – I own more Chamberlain than I have currently read… but, we’ll roll with this. Before The Storm was one of my favourites (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8240918-before-the-storm) and its sequel Secrets She Left Behind (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6251052-secrets-she-left-behind) these had a very Picoult-feel for me, and I just couldn’t put them down. I would actually recommend The Good Father too, it has a more YA/NA feel to it, but with an adult character in our main trio. A very interesting mix that ticks lots of boxes. If you do read any, let me know how you get on, you only have around 30 to choose from! 😀 R xx
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