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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Good Buddy: A Novel by Dori Ann Dupre is a southern romance with a powerful twist, sophisticated characters, and a satisfying denouement. Jonathan “Buddy” Cordova is a defense lawyer in a small town, practicing law from his home in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is not a very successful lawyer, just the kind who defends clients who eventually end up in jail. But Jonathan has a dark secret. When he meets Julie Saint, a part-time kindergarten teacher and an army widow, he falls in love. He is delighted to be stepfather to Molly, Julie's daughter, and the bond between Jonathan and Molly grows every day. He is happy to have the perfect family, but when faced with a tragedy, he is forced to battle the demons of his past. He can also lose the family that wasn’t legitimately his. Can he look at himself with honesty and find a path to redemption?
Dori Ann Dupre introduces readers to characters that are real — they are genuinely flawed and their vulnerability quickly becomes a channel through which a strong bond is built. Both Julie and Jonathan have suffered losses in their childhoods and both of them bear the scars of the past with them. It is interesting how the relationships between the characters develop in the narrative and how well the author explores the hearts of the characters. Dori Ann Dupre keeps the writing strong, deepens the characters and keeps them real, and infuses the narrative with humanism. The story has powerful plot points, is emotionally engaging, and hides surprises that readers will want to discover.