Father Figure (2018) by James J. Cudney is the second book by the author following on from his first novel Watching Glass Shatter.
The book centres mostly around Amalia Graeme and Bianna Porter. Firstly Amalia grows up in rural Mississippi. Her mother is a tyrant (trust me, she is a million per cent unlikable) and verbally and physically abuses her daughter. I liked Amalia’s father and brother but as for her mother she drove me up the wall reading the sections with her. However that shows her mother was written well. Her dominant and power-crazed streak came through very much and makes the reader root even more for Amalia and her freedom. Secondly Brianna Porter who lives in New York City and is raised by a single Mum Molly and badly wants to know who her father is so she can move forward with her future. In addition Brianna is trying to figure out her sexuality and is falling for her best friend Shanelle.
This book has many of Cudney’s signature trademarks like family dynamics and a mystery element. In this novel the reader is swept along on a journey to find out who Brianna’s father is and it is told from different points of view and from different time periods. You get a real sense of the main characters’ backgrounds and how they come to be the people they are when the novel begins. It’s very tightly pieced together and all the elements tie up wonderfully at the end which is no small feat considering there was a lot packed into this novel. So many of the twists I didn’t really see coming either which is great in mystery. The emotions of the characters are very well-developed and there is definitely a feeling of one never stops learning in life no matter what age but you gather more ways to cope better as you go along. This book deals with family, identity, sexuality and the search for fulfillment and contentment. There is a fantastic array of characters and each add very much to the overall plot. My favourite was Shanelle. She was so strong, fierce and has no fear and I loved that about her. Also in Brianna’s parts, the book is set in the early 2000s when I was growing up and the elements like music were spot-on which made me smile.
Another great job by James J. Cudney who is fast becoming one of my new favourite authors.
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For my review of Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney go to: