Initial reaction: A surprisingly engaging narrative from the perspective of three individuals whose journeys intersect quite notably throughout the narrative. It came together so well and I'll admit it kept me hooked from beginning to end.
I think it's official: Diane Chamberlain's a new favorite author for me. The way she crafts the characters in her narratives feel so real, even when the scenario itself is a little out of the ordinary.
"The Good Father" toggles between three perspectives. The first is Travis, a father who's homeless after a tragedy takes away his home, former life and dreams. He struggles to make a living while caring for his 4-year old daughter, Bella. He decides to take a chance on a job that's guaranteed to him by a friend, and ends up making one of the worst mistakes of his life. The second is Robin, a young woman who's trapped in a life that's a lie. She struggled with a heart condition most of her life and suffered under the hand of an overprotective father, who always dictated her actions and choices. And now she's about to be married into a family who seems to deliver her to the same fate, but a past encounter starts throwing into question everything. And lastly, Erin is a woman in her 30s who's tragically lost a child and is barely coping from the grief in the aftermath. It's only when she meets Travis and Bella by chance at a coffee shop over a series of times that she starts to feel some measure towards moving on, but then gets caught in a whirlwind situation that's more than she bargained for.
This is a terrifically plotted story, one that I did see some of the turns coming a little before they landed, but it was still satisfying to watch the characters and situations unfold as they converged. I did sympathize with each of the characters (even if I wanted to smack some sense into Travis's head for all the opportunities he could've seen what would happen and how it was a bad idea.) But Chamberlain crafts the characters so well that you do feel for them as they not only have their own situations of grief and internal struggle for past events and relationships, but also end up having a common tie that's gradually pulled together through the narrative. It unfolds like one dynamic movie that places the characters in a scenario that's a little out of the ordinary, but feels grounded enough alongside the dramatic events to pull the story along right up to its conclusion. I was happy with the way it ended, and certainly didn't put the book down as I read it (unless I had to - I wish I could've read it in one sitting). It has a blend of grief, drama, romance, action/suspense, and crime for those who enjoy those genres, and I think those who enjoy character driven stories would like it as well.
Recommended, and I look forward to reading more of Chamberlain's works in the future.
Overall score: 4/5 stars
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Harlequin.