A Father's Place
A Father’s Place is a low-key inspirational romance about forgiveness and moving on. Unfortunately, it never really fully engaged my attention. It was an average read.
Quinn Forrester is a widower who has spent the two years since the death of his wife off working on engineering projects rather than being with his family. His six-year-old daughter Kristie lives with her grandmother in Bedford Creek, Pennsylvania, surrounded by loving relatives. She would much rather have her daddy back, but Quinn finds that going back home brings him too close to emotions he would much rather ignore. He can’t ignore the safety of his family, however. When his mother starts seeing a mysterious man of unknown background, he comes home make sure this man Charles Wayne is not seeking to take advantage of a lonely, well-off widow. In this venture he seeks out the help of Charles’s daughter, Ellie.
Ellie Wayne doesn’t want her father to pair up with Quinn’s mother Gwen any more than Quinn does. She knows her father’s shady background – he did time in prison for embezzlement. She doesn’t want that secret to become public knowledge, though, because she fears that it will endanger her status and acceptance in Bedford Creek, and she has spent too long trying to belong to have Quinn mess it all up now. So while she sympathizes with Quinn and is very attracted to him, she doesn’t want him to get close enough to her to ferret out her secrets. But Quinn is determined, and determined, good-looking men are hard to ignore…
There is nothing terribly wrong with this book. The writing is solid, the characters are likable, but the story simply never came alive. Quinn and Ellie were both good people, but I was somewhat apathetic over their dilemmas. I didn’t feel pity and exasperation at Quinn’s emotional abandonment of his child as I did when Harry did the same thing to his children in Suzanne Brockmann’s Bodyguard. And though Ellie seemed permanently stuck in a maelstrom of melodramatic thoughts, her actual angst over her father’s past behavior seemed sort of tepid. The intensity of emotion just wasn’t there.
There were also a few other niggling problems I had with this story. Quinn’s reappearance in town just happens to coincide with Ellie’s church’s Vacation Bible School and craft fair. She is involved in both, and so are Gwen and Kristie. So, naturally enough, she runs into Quinn a fair bit. This began to feel contrived after awhile. The book is almost entirely one scene after another of them running into each other. Also, I felt that Ellie overreacted somewhat too strongly in trying to hide her father’s past. What Charles did was what Charles did, and I can’t see any reasonable person placing the blame for Charles’s actions on Ellie’s shoulders, especially since none of these people were directly affected by what Charles had done. This is the main conflict that keeps them apart. Had Ellie been honest with Quinn in the beginning, he probably would have understood her position and respected it. Of course, had she been honest with him from the beginning, there would have been no story. But this misunderstanding felt somewhat artificial.
A Father’s Place wasn’t a bad romance, it just didn’t engage me. The good writing was wasted on a story marred by a tepid relationship and a few other niggling problems. But readers who enjoy inspirationals or stories about small towns might find something to like here.