A Mother For His Daughter
by Ally Blake
(Silh. Romance # 1845, $4.25, G) ISBN 0373-19845-0
It is hard to imagine it taking me more than a week to read a book of less than 200 pages. I can generally read that in one afternoon if it is interesting. Needless to say, A Mother For His Daughter was less than engaging and well worth your effort to avoid.

Gracie Lane is in Rome searching for her father, a man she only found out about upon her mother’s death. Apparently Gracie is the result of a love affair that resulted in pregnancy. Her mother was from Melbourne, Australia and her father was from Rome. She was raised by a stepfather, although the details are very sketchy. What is known is that she is in Rome, almost out of money and making a wish at the Trevi Fountain. While standing there, a young girl, Mila (age 5) comes up to her, concerned because Gracie appears sad. Her father, Luca Siracusa, arrives just behind. Gracie finds herself telling him about her quest for her father and the fact that she is almost penniless, especially when she discovers her wallet gone. Luca offers her a position as his daughter’s English tutor, which provides her a place to stay and time to continue searching for her father.

Luca is a widower, his wife having died about a year before. He has a thriving business, which he runs out of his home so that he can be closer to Mila, whom he adores. He also has issues. His wife, whom he cared for, was younger and pregnant with Mila when he married her. The child is actually his brother Dom’s, a man who did not take responsibility seriously. Luca feels guilty and is uncertain of his future when Mila finds out the truth.

The story really revolves around their relationship. Luca does do some searching for Gracie’s father, but it is not really the center of the tale. Gracie does teach Mila some English, particularly slang. It is supposed to be humorous when Mila says things like “Cool bananas.” Beyond that, much of the story introduces us to family members who all still worry about Luca and the circumstances surrounding his marriage, details of which are alluded to but never fully explained. And during this period of several weeks, Luca and Gracie fall in love.

This was almost a painful book to read. I never really understood how Gracie came to be where she was. Her father’s story and how it all came about is not explained until the end. We have a young woman in her mid twenties who just up and moves in with a man she is attracted to because he reminds her of “The Godfather” style of Italians that she adored while growing up. Luca is portrayed at different times as a successful businessman, a recluse, a great father, a brooding figure or a self-sacrificing saint. I never got pulled into either of their stories and really didn’t care about their situations. It was difficult to feel anything about their budding romance, especially when they both pushed each other away as easily as they felt themselves being pulled together.

A Man for His Daughter is one of those categories that wants to be a much more detailed and in depth novel. Because it can’t be, many details are shuffled and skimmed, making the story convoluted, full of information with little purpose and very little romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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