The Good Father
by Diane Chamberlain
Pub. Date: April 24, 2012
Synopsis from Amazon:
A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there’s no going back.
Four years ago, nineteen-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.
Travis Brown is just trying to do right by his daughter, Bella. At 19, he made the choice to raise her as a single dad, putting aside his own plans and doing everything in his power to give her a good life. In her four short years, their lives have been fairly stable. Travis is working in construction while living with his mom and Bella. But when Travis loses his job and a tragedy causes him to lose the security of his home as well, everything changes. But the promise of a job in nearby Raleigh gives Travis hope; except, this job is not what it appears to be.
Erin is coping with the loss of her young daughter and her crumbling marriage. She visits a local coffee shop every morning to get out of her house and connect with an online grief support group. One morning, Travis and Bella come in and they begin a tentative friendship. Bella reminds Erin of her own daughter whom she lost not long ago. But, one choice that Travis makes brings Erin into a situation that may nearly destroy her.
Robin is engaged to an up-and-coming governor, whose family is very well-known in the community. She buried her past and hasn’t looked back. But sometimes the past has a way of catching up to you . . .
Travis, Erin, and Robin . . . how are their stories connected? And what will come of Travis and Bella?
I can always count on Diane Chamberlain to deliver an intense, emotional story. And this one is no different. Although I loved the story, it is not my favorite of her’s. Told in multiple viewpoints between Travis, Erin, and Robin, and alternating time periods, this is a very moving narrative. I was confused by some of the time shifts, though. I had a hard time following along with each character and which time period I was in. I found myself going back and checking dates multiple times so I could figure out where in the story I was. But once I was oriented to the shifting time periods, it flowed well.
It is easy to feel the emotion emanating from each of the characters, especially Travis and Erin. Travis just wants to be a good father. Every decision he makes is for the betterment of Bella’s life. He tries so hard to do right by her. Chamberlain has a way of getting into the character’s head so that, even though I don’t agree with the decisions Travis made, I can understand why he made them. Erin is grieving for her daughter whom she lost in a terrible accident. Unable to cope with her husband’s lack of grief (or perceived lack of grief), she moves out of their house and into her own apartment. She buries herself in an online support forum, offering and receiving support from other parents of children who are also grieving the loss of a child. Erin’s story is heartbreaking. I could feel the pain coming from her character. I just wanted to hug her. She felt so real to me.
I had a hard time connecting with Robin’s character. I could not understand the decisions she made in her past and how she could just forget or not think about the things the happened until four years later. It is just odd, in my opinion.
With all that said, this book is an emotional page-turner. I am pleased with each character’s development throughout the story and with the final conclusion. And, although, it is not a favorite of mine by this author, it is a great story and I’m glad I read it. Any fan of Chamberlain’s will enjoy this book. If you have not read Chamberlain, I would definitely recommend this book (or any of her other books!). She is one of my favorite authors.
“No, my friend came through.” I tapped my sweaty fingers on my thighs. “I hope this one works out.”
“Oh, me, too, Travis. I guess it’s in construction? Is it for a business? Or residential? Or—”
“I’ve got the info in my van,” I said, getting to my feet.
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