His Real Father
By Laurie
Aug 4, 2005 - 9:08:00 PM

Joe Kelly returns to his small hometown in
California from Los Angeles after his mother announces that she is selling the family bar and getting married. This means that Joe will have to face childhood friend Lisa Madden, the woman he spent most of his youth loving. Seventeen years before Lisa had chosen Joe's twin brother, Patrick, over him but Patrick died before the two could marry, the result of a drunken driving accident in which Patrick was the driver.

Lisa Madden discovered that she was pregnant shortly before Patrick was killed but having had a one night fling with Joe, she questioned the child's paternity. Patrick assured her that he was unquestionably the father, insisting that Joe was not able to father a child; Lisa was left to raise her son Brandon alone after Patrick's death.  Joe had left for Los Angeles and embarked on a successful career as a filmmaker.  Lisa always felt an undeniable attraction to Joe, despite the fact that Patrick was her boyfriend and later her fiance. Lisa is carrying a heavy load on her shoulders; she is finally graduating from college, after attending off and on for years, she helps Joe's mother at the bar and she has hopes of buying the bar from her. Lisa is also trying to keep her teenage son on the right path after he shows signs of experimenting with alcohol. Given Patrick's problems and eventual death as a result of his alcoholism, Lisa is especially concerned about the direction Brandon seems to be headed. Joe begins to realize all that he has missed by being away from Lisa and his family for so many years; he finds himself longing to make Lisa and Brandon a part of his life.


Lisa knows that she must tell Joe of her suspicions as to Brandon's paternity, not knowing what his reaction will be, and she also has to face the troubled relationship she has with her own mother, who was never there when Lisa was growing up, and whose promiscuous behavior was a constant source of embarrassment to Lisa. Joe's mother is also struggling emotionally, having successfully battled breast cancer, and being engaged to a man whose suitability for her is being questioned by everyone.


These characters experience a roller coaster of emotions; not only do you feel their joy and pain, but Lisa's experiences as the mother of a teen are familiar to everyone who is or has been responsible for a child. The impact of Lisa's mother's behavior during Lisa's youth and the impact of that behavior on her as an adult are excellently written. Ms. Salonen allows these characters to shine, both on their own and in their caring and compassion for each other. HIS REAL FATHER is a well written book with comfortable characters with very real feelings, heartaches and triumphs, and giving it a high recommendation comes easily.

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