Father by Choice

Amanda Berry
Father by Choice
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Harlequin Special Edition
Release Date
April 2013
Contemporary Romance


From corporate raider to daddy-in-training

A family was the last thing workaholic Brady Ward had ever planned on. So after eight years abroad, he was shocked when a blast from his passionate past walked into his office—and informed him that he was a daddy. Now he was faced with a choice: to keep climbing the ladder of success, or build a life with the daughter he left behind.

Maggie Brown wanted their little girl to know her father, but bringing a man as ambitious as Brady into their lives was a huge risk, one she wasn't sure she should take for Amber or herself. Because even after eight years, he still got her heart racing like no one else. Yet would he really give up the corporate lifestyle in the big city for life in a sleepy small town? Maybe if he realized that family was a gift that only came along once in a lifetime….

Book Review by JCCeleste (reviewer)
May 15, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
103 people found the following review helpful
A heartwarming romance, FATHER BY CHOICE often made me smile. Amber (the centerpiece of this story) leaps off the page with her childish charm. I found myself rooting for her as much as I wished for a happy ending for her parents (though, knowing Harlequin, their endings in general are not only happy but quite tender, and I was not disappointed with this Special Edition line).

When a one-night stand gets Maggie Brown pregnant at the same time her own mother is dying from cancer, the best option seems to be to write a letter to the unknowing father (Brady) who is across the pond and seemingly unreachable. She posts the letter through his family's farm, and when the only response is money every month, she shrugs it off and takes on the role of single mother the only way she can. She sends a letter to Brady every year on their daughter's birthday, but still receives no response beyond money.

As the girl (Amber) nears seven, Maggie discovers that Brady's brother (Sam) has intercepted the letters all this time and has been giving her money from what Brady sent. The poor guy has no idea he's a daddy, but he's a workaholic Big Cheese in New York and probably won't want any part in Amber's life anyway. Sam books Maggie onto a flight and makes sure she'll get there so she can at least tell Brady, face-to-face, that the one night they thought they could just walk away from resulted in something life-changing.

Meanwhile Brady has become quite acclimated to his sense of half-life, filling voids with work and accomplishment that nevertheless leave him unsatisfied, and suddenly he's a father to a seven-year-old. Everything is thrown sideways and as he tries to maneuver his way through, he rediscovers his connection with Maggie and they explore the possibility of a romance.

But is it lust or love that draws them together? Can they overcome their individual demons long enough to build something together or will they naturally tear it apart as their default settings kick in with the fear of familiar stresses and pain?

The relationship felt a bit drawn out at times (whereupon I was essentially telling the book "For crying out loud, how many ways can we go through this?") but then again real relationships take time, and even if as spectators something is simple, the experience of it isn't. Ms. Berry tackles the subject of parenthood, love and family with grace, alternating between humorous exchanges, bittersweet passages and tenderness.

FATHER BY CHOICE is a wonderful story, and I look forward to more by Ms. Berry.
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