Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review: THE GOOD FATHER by Diane Chamberlain

Welcome to the May 4 stop on the BookTrib Book Tour of Diane Chamberlain’s thriller The Good Father. My post includes an excerpt and a review.


Her bangs were almost long enough to put behind her ears now, and I tried that but as soon as she hopped out of the van, her hair fell into her face again. Poor kid. She looked like an orphan nobody cared about. I prayed to God she didn't become one tonight.


Travis Brown was nineteen years old when his daughter, Bella, was born. While his friends were dating and enjoying their teenage and college years, Travis was changing diapers and working hard to raise his daughter – a choice he has never regretted.  Bella is Travis’ entire world and he has done everything in his power to keep her safe and fed.  However, before Bella’s fourth birthday, everything changes.

A fire in their home sends Travis and Bella’s lives into a downward spiral.  He loses his mother and his home in the fire and his job soon after.  He is given an opportunity in Raleigh that he is told will change his entire situation. He heads there with only a few essentials and his daughter in tow with a heavy heart and a hope for better days. Upon arrival he finds that there is no job but only an offer for him to participate in a criminal act.

Travis meets Erin, who has recently lost her own four year old daughter. Six months after losing her daughter, Carolyn, Erin leaves her husband to try to make sense of what happened to her.  Erin’s husband, Michael has channeled his grief into home improvement projects while Erin has not been able to enter her daughter’s room.  Both handle grief in their own way and as a result, they are distanced from each other.  Meeting Bella and Travis allows Erin an opportunity to start healing.

Robin is Bella’s mother, who after having a terrible pregnancy as a teenager due to her heart problems, gives her daughter up for adoption. After having open heart surgery, she finds out from her father that her baby was not adopted and that Travis was raising her.  She also finds out that her father agreed not to fight Travis if he stayed out Robin’s life forever.  Despite her early struggles, Robin is given a second chance at life.  She finds herself in Beaumont where she meets Dale, plans to marry him and is welcomed into his family. Dale is running for mayor and doesn’t know about her past. She hopes that her secret will remain as such but when her seventeen year old sister-in-law has a baby, Robin finds herself longing for the baby she gave up. 

Travis, Erin and Robin’s lives will intertwine. Each will find themselves tested in ways they never expected. These tests will not only bring them together and but they will also force them to fight together. 

My thoughts:

Once I started reading The Good Father, I could not put it down.  I wanted so desperately for Bella to be safe and despite Travis’ bad choice, I sympathized with him. I empathized with Erin and I enjoyed watching her grow from her experience.  As for Robin, she tugs at your heartstrings as she talks about how she ran away from her past only to find herself longing for what she left behind.

Being a Diane Chamberlain fan, I know that she has a beautiful way of creating strong relationships and situations that test human endurance and spirit.  Her characters always come out stronger and on top as a result of the trials that they face. Diane Chamberlain was able to join three lives together and if not for Travis leaving his home, their lives would not have connected as they beautifully and nearly tragically did.

About the Author (from the BookTrib website)
Diane Chamberlain is an award-winning author of 20 novels published in more than 11 languages. She writes complex stories about love, compassion and forgiveness.

Her books, which are often set in her home state of North Carolina, feature a combination of family drama, intrigue and suspense.

Diane was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey. She also lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia before making North Carolina her home.

Diane received her master’s degree in clinical social work from San Diego State University. Prior to her writing career, she was a hospital social worker in both San Diego and Washington, D.C. She also was a psychotherapist in private practice in Alexandria, Virginia, working primarily with adolescents.

Diane’s background in psychology and her work in hospitals have given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create real, living, breathing characters.

Several years ago Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which has changed the way she works—she sometimes types using voice recognition software. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she is able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy travel schedule.

Diane lives with her partner, photographer John Pagliuca, and her shelties, Keeper and Jet.

You can purchase The Good Father through Amazon and many other book retailers.  You can read an excerpt from the book at Diane Chamberlain’s website.