Sunday Book Review – Father Figure by James Cudney

My Sunday Book Review for James Cudney’s – Father Figure is an engrossing read into two lives – Amalia Graeme and Brianna Porter. Amalia’s abusive upbringing inspires her to get far away from home as she can’t wait to move away to college. Brianna  is relentless when it comes to finding out who her biological father is and her determination to find answers becomes a sore spot between her and her mother as her mother continues to deny telling her daughter any information from her past, until Brianna discovers her mother’s diary.




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.

Abused by her mother, Amalia Graeme longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden New York City teenager, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. Father Figure is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Praise from readers:

★★★★★ – “The book deals with abuse, identity, acceptance, overcoming obstacles, crime, sexuality, family secrets, and knowing who you are. Another great story to read, especially if you love emotive, suspenseful family dramas.”

★★★★★ – “Gripping and emotional… Mr. Cudney has written a book full of twists and turns that kept my eyes glued to its pages.”

★★★★★ – “Amalia and Brianna are fully developed characters with all the fears, naivety, anxiety and angst of teen, young adults; full of questions and doubts… Can’t wait for James Cudney’s next work.”


My 5 Star Review:

This book takes us into the life of Amalia Graeme in the mid 80s, a sweet teenage girl living in smalltown Mississippi. desperate to leave home and go to college to experience making friends, finding love, and most of all, getting away from her most deplorable excuse for a mother.

Amalia is pretty green when it comes to learning anything about love and life because she is taught nothing by her mother. We are taken through Amalia’s sad life at home, save for her father who dearly loves her, but somehow seems afraid of his own wife. Amalia meets her first boyfriend Carter, a friend of her brother’s who ends up going to the same college as Amalia.

We’ll discover how Carter is a bad boyfriend, and Amalia begins to find solace and then love with one of her professors – undoubtedly a father figure to console her as she desperately misses her father’s love. Then again, everything changes after Amalia is attacked.

As the book goes between Amalia’s life in the mid 80s and switches to present day New York, we’re taken into the confusing life of Brianna, where she attends the same college that Amalia attended some 20 years earlier. Brianna is plagued with needing to know who her biological father is while she also struggles to figure out her own identity as she questions her attraction to her best friend Shanelle, and her preference in gender when it comes to relationships.

Brianna spends a lot of time trying to corner her mother into telling her who her real father is, but her mother dodges at every opportunity, and the storyline continues creating curiosity for us readers wanting to learn too, who is Brianna’s father? Once Brianna finds her mother’s long lost and forgotten diary, Brianna is exposed to the people in her mother’s life, her relationships and why the paternal identity of Brianna’s fathering presents such a complicated mystery. But Brianna is determined to solve the mystery and hatches a plan with Shanelle to help her investigate what really did happen to her mother. Secrets are all revealed as the book comes to an end.

The past always finds a way into the present.