Mary Campisi has penned an engaging, enthralling story in A Family Affair which had me hooked from the first few words.
From the beginning, I enjoyed the character of dedicated, hard-working, dependable Christine Blacksworth and I felt my soul shatter when she heard the news that her father had been killed in an automobile accident.
I was in the car with her when she headed out in search of answers - to find out why her father had been so far away from his getaway cabin when the accident occurred.
I felt shock reverberate through me when Christine learned that the father she had always known and loved had another family, another daughter to call his own, a daughter he went to visit every month under the guise of getting away for a break.
Armed with this newfound knowledge, Christine and I parted company in our responses. While Christine was prepared to hate her father's other family, I was interested in getting to know them - and I'm glad Christine gave me the opportunity.
Over time, she discovered that she couldn't hate them. In fact, the other family represented everything she wished she could have had in her own: loving parents, a close-knit relationship with each of them, even peace and joy with the comfort of making her own decisions.
With the other family, Christine didn't have to walk on eggshells or feel as though her actions were being monitored or governed, as was the case with her mother. Instead, Christine could relax and feel at home with her father's second family. She could feel comforted by the woman her father truly loved.
She fell in love with the other woman's son. She could be herself and spend time with her sister (born with Down Syndrome) whom she would grow to love more than she believed possible, a sister who grew to look forward to Christine's visits each month as she had anticipated her father's before the accident which claimed his life.
Going back and forth between both homes, Christine felt the strain of the secrecy but it would only be a matter of time before Christine learned of the secrets in her own family, secrets which made her question her own identity - secrets which made her father's second family the more honest of the two.
Most times, we are afforded the opportunity to get to know a person during their lifetime; sometimes, however, we get to know a person best only after they have passed on. Such was the case with Charles Blacksworth, the man Christine had always called Dad.
Even now, months after I've read the last page, I wonder how life might have turned out had Charles allowed Christine to know about his second family, as they did her. I cannot help but feel that Christine's life would have felt far more complete and she would not have gone through such a long battle, feeling she was the less desired daughter of the two. In fact, Charles might very well still be alive.
A Family Affair is a heart-wrenching story which makes one pause to think about what is real. Is it the marriage in name only or the marriage of two hearts, united as one, even when no public vows have taken place? This is an emotionally gripping read with an outcome to make the reader proud.
By clicking on the book cover, you will be taken directly to A Family Affair's Amazon page. I would encourage you to read the reviews.
Feel free to read the review for the second book of the series, A Family Affair: