Cindy (Canada) (2007/02/27):
Nineteen-year-old Olivia Kendall is pregnant when she sees the headline reporting the death of her child's father Zach Calvert. He had been a pilot in the Navy. In that moment her entire life shifts, and she never even had the chance to inform him of her pregnancy. Despite pressure from her father, Olivia went on raise her son and to build a career. Six years later a news broadcast includes a picture of Zach, who is now a small town sheriff. A life of privilege has not filled her son's desire for a father, but by contacting him Zach opens Olivia to vulnerabilities she has long set aside.
A crash and a head injury robbed Zach of several years of memory. He still discovers skills about himself that he did not know he had. Now divorced, Zach struggles to build a life for himself as a non-custodial father. He is absolutely stunned to meet Olivia and learn that he has a son, but determined to be a good parent to him as well. While he has no memory of Olivia, Zach cannot resist the powerful attraction between them. But she still bears the wounds of his unintentional abandonment.
Anna Adams creates a beautiful tale of second chances in THE SECRET FATHER. By limiting Zach's amnesia to a few years, Adams creates marvelous tension without falling victim to the typical amnesia story devices. Moreover, Olivia strikes a delicate balance between independence and keeping peace with her father, never hesitating to assert herself when necessary. Zach is a powerful sympathetic hero as he copes with a difficult ex-wife and profound parenting challenges. Even the ex-wife proves to be a wonderful secondary character with combination of cattiness and vulnerabilities. A powerfully told tale of difficult family relationships, THE SECRET FATHER comes highly recommended.