You would think that a book entitled Father Material would be about the attributes that make a man a good father, rather than his material assets. That’s not the case in this book, unfortunately. Don’t get me wrong – steady employment with benefits is always helpful, but it isn’t the only advantage a man offers.
Natalie Simmons signs up for a white-water rafting trip to prove to her ex-fiancée that she can be adventurous. Her ex canceled his reservation, leaving no one to impress. Rafting is not Natalie’s idea of a good time, so she just wants to leave. River guide Evan Murphy notices her distress and does his best to comfort her. He also reminds her that she has already paid for the trip and there is no refund. Natalie’s practical side will not allow her to waste the money, so she goes on the trip.
With Evan’s help and support, Natalie is able to overcome her fears and even have some fun on the river. She also cannot help but notice how attractive he is. On the last night of the trip, the two make love under the stars. In the afterglow, Natalie tells him of her dreams of opening a children’s bookstore. He encourages her to make her dream a reality, and Natalie decides to take the plunge. Her new venture is one one of the unexpected consequences of her trip down the river. The other was winding up pregnant.
Evan arrives on her doorstep. When he learns she is pregnant, he wants to be involved with the baby. He moves into the apartment below her, helps with repairs on her shop, and rushes her to the hospital when she has a fall. Natalie is coming to depend on him and Evan has proven that he is comforting, reasonable, helpful, supportive, and encouraging. Seems like good father material to me.
Not to Natalie, though. She is bothered by his lack of a real job. They argue about the situation. Ten years ago Evan was jilted by his two-timing-pregnant-but-not-for-long fiancée. This event caused him to run away from the corporate career he had planned to become a rafting guide/ski instructor. Evan comes to the conclusion that Natalie is right and begins to look for a job. This takes him away from her and the baby at a crucial time.
The author was fairly even-handed in giving both Natalie’s and Evan’s viewpoints, except for the job hunt, and his frustrations at its initial lack of success. A scene where Natalie offers him encouragement of the type he’s provided all along would have shown them coming together as a unit.
Despite my grade for this novel, I have not given up on the author. Natalie’s sister, Nora, is a great character in need of her own story – just as long as she is not searching for a man who is father material – and I look forward to reading it in one of the two follow-ups planned in this trilogy.