One of A Kind Dad
by Daly Thompson
(Harl. American #1272, $4.99, G) ISBN 978-0373-75276-8
Here is a new series about three men who met in the foster care system and have grown up as “brothers.” They even adopted the Foster name. Ian owns a large sheep farm, Mike is a chef and restaurant owner and Daniel is a veterinarian and they own a joint company in Serenity Valley, Vermont. Daniel is featured in this story. He has decided to give back and he takes in young men as foster children. Currently he has Jason and Maury, both almost 16; Will who is around 12 and Nick, a child with a lot of secrets who is about 10. Also in his house is a retired Marine named Jesse who serves as babysitter, housekeeper, cook and all around family member.

Daniel and his brothers also have a dream of opening a larger facility for foster kids on Ian’s land. He is in the early stages of getting approval and his next step is the city council. He and Jesse decide they need a housekeeper to help keep up with the laundry and babysitting. Lilah Jamison applies. Lilah and her son Jonathan are in hiding from an ex-husband who is about to get out of jail. Bruce Jamison is a con man who even conned Lilah into helping him with his last scheme to bilk people out of money rather than actually build the homes they invested in. Lilah turned him in after he started abusing her and threatening her. He has not forgiven her and she is certain that he will come looking for them when he gets out. She has little money and in fact, has been living in her car.

Daniel recognizes the signs of someone with secrets, but he is impressed with Jonathan and how much he obviously loves his mother. He takes a chance on Lilah and is thrilled with the results. Not only can she help around the house, but Daniel discovers that Lilah can help him develop a brochure and power point for his presentation and even has ideas on how to win over a couple people who are skeptical of his plans. She and Daniel also have some attraction. Their relationship develops slowly and they learn to trust before they even kiss. Sadly there is Lilah’s secret hanging out there ready to ruin it all.

This is a great story for characters. The boys all have detailed histories, making them real. Ian and Mike are introduced just enough to make them interesting for the next book. Daniel is complex and yet, not a lot of time is really spent on his issues. He has already gotten through much of his difficult past and seems ready to jump into the next phase. He realizes early on that Lilah may be the one for him. 

Lilah, meanwhile is a typical abused spouse, struggling with her self-esteem and with her need to be independent. She is a great mom and takes to the foster children readily. We see most of the story from her eyes and are granted a view of her emotions throughout. She is a solid character making it easy to root for her and understand her vulnerability.

While the plot treads no new ground, there is enough depth in this story to make it entertaining. Bruce is just enough of a threat to make his presence add some tension. And Daniel is a tough, yet vulnerable and caring kind of guy that is easy to fall for as a reader. He and Lilah make a good pair. The kids are written with some sense of what a child of their ages would say and how they would act. They added to the tale.

One of A Kind Dad is one of those stories that will sound familiar but really surprise you in the details and depth. Definitely give it a try.  

--Shirley Lyons

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