Shelleyrae at Book'd Out's Reviews > The Good Father

The Good Father by Diane Chamberlain
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's review
Feb 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: netgalley-reviews
Read from April 26 to 27, 2012 — I own a copy

Having recently enjoyed my first title by Diane Chamberlain, Secrets She Left Behind (for which a review is well overdue) I couldn't resist the premise of The Good Father. Travis Brown is raising his four year old daughter Bella alone. It's a sacrifice, but one he has never had any doubts about until tragedy leaves the pair broke and homeless. Desperate to provide for his daughter, Travis makes a difficult decision that has unforeseen consequences that may prove devastating.
Chamberlain apologetically tugs hard at the heart strings in The Good Father. Travis, only twenty three, has not had an easy time of it. His teenage romance with Bella's mother ended badly and it wasn't until Bella was born and he was approached to sign adoption papers that he was aware he had a daughter. The custody fight was bitter yet Travis prevailed, his only thought to love and provide for his newborn child. I really like that Chamberlain chose a male protagonist for the story, so often in women's fiction it is the men who run from responsibility, in this instance the roles are reversed with Bella's biological mother unable to face parenting the child. Travis has been doing the best he can but he is young and lacks resources so when tragedy strikes he doesn't have a lot to fall back on. Love and determination, sadly, is not always enough to keep body and soul together and though Travis tries hard his desperation leads him to make some unwise decisions. Chamberlain provides realistic motivations for Travis's mistakes, his youth, his pride and his unwavering love for his daughter all contributing to his predicament.
While Travis makes many mistakes, placing his faith in Erin proves not to be one of them. Erin, who is struggling with her own tragedy, inadvertently becomes caught up in the drama that unfolds for Travis and Bella. She is a very sympathetic character not only because of her personal history but also because of the situation she finds herself in. I can understand her motives and her inner conflict in choosing what the right thing to do is.
Bella's biological mother, Robin, plays a part in the story. We discover her reasons for giving her baby up and Chamberlain ensures she has our sympathy. In the four years since Bella's birth circumstances have changed dramatically for Robin, she is on the verge of marrying into a socially prominent family but the birth of her teenage sister-in-law-to-be's baby has her reexamining her choices. When Robin was introduced in to the story I immediately formed an idea of where Chamberlain planned to take the plot but I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong and I enjoyed having my expectations subverted.
The three points of view in The Good Father provides a well rounded perspective of the plot. The novel has elements of suspense and romance but it is the emotion that Chamberlain evokes that carries it. You grow to feel strongly for these characters and want them to have what they need and want. The epilogue ensures closure whichi always appreciate.

The Good Father is a story of three adults whose good intentions do not always coincide with good choices, or good outcomes. Heartwarming and emotional it's a satisfying and engaging read that will leave you eager to read more by Diane Chamberlain.
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