Disclosure: In the interest of fairness it’s only right that I let you all know that I was a beta reader for Father Figure and read it twice before publication. I have read the final version one final time post-publication to be able to write this review.
Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.
Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.
Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.
Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.
The name James J. Cudney comes with an assurance of quality, emotional turmoil, romance and suspense all things we learned from his debut novel Watching Glass Shatter. Delving between the pages of his second novel Father Figure all of this things are thrown your way in droves leaving you yet again deeply heartbroken, in love, shocked, and fighting for your favourite characters.
Meet Amalia. The quiet small town girl living a life of parental abuse. Amalia is desperate to escape her hometown, go to college and start her life free from the life which has held her back so far. There was so much of Amalia’s life I felt an affinity to, I cried with her, I cried for her. Some of the scenes are horrific, while others are so inspiring that you want to lift them from the page and see them unfold in front of your eyes. From her first kiss to her first love Amalia stole my heart from the first page and there wasn’t a moment in this book where my support for her wavered. In the light of difficult decisions and some ghastly events, she keeps her dignity and somehow finds a way through.
Meet Brianna. Ansty, confident and filled with questions. Brianna is a girl filled with confusion, but a fire to get the answers. She will happily jump into things like a bull in a china shop and has no qualms about asking awkward questions. Growing up in New York City with a single Mom she knows nothing about her Father and is on a mission to find out before she goes to college. Also struggling with her sexuality she has some big decisions looming on her horizon and a Mom who is staying tight-lipped about everything. Brianna honestly reminds me of myself at that age. She doesn’t really consider people’s feelings before she does things, but the consequences do affect her and make her think twice. She’s hurting and she’s deflecting that hurt to the people she loves most in the world. She makes some epically silly decisions but hey…I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who can relate to that when they were eighteen?! I am? Seriously?
The two girls stories are told in an alternating fashion…sneaky…very sneaky! Eventually converging so the two stories come together in devastating fashion. I can’t give this one genre. I have thought about this over and over it is romance, suspense, mystery and family drama. This book suits so many readers that I just say delve in and treat yourself.
Father Figure is one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. I don’t say that lightly it has torn through so many of my emotions, just writing this review I ended up crying again because everything came to my mind. James J. Cudney is one of the best new writers out there and will be a household name of that I have no doubt.
Book & Buy Links
Title: Father Figure
Author: James J. Cudney
Genre: Family Drama | Romance | Suspense | Mystery
Publication Date: 2 April 2018
Review Format: Paperback
Other Formats: eBook
Buy: Books2Read (Universal Link Redirects to Preferred Retailer)