Karen McBride is not particularly content with her life. She married young, and she and her husband run a landscaping business in Colorado. While Karen loves her husband and their two teenaged sons, she begins to wonder if she will ever figure out what her spirit requires to feel like her life is complete and satisfying.
When Karenís father, an avid record-breaking birdwatcher, has a stroke, Karen travels to Texas to take care of him at his home. Martin Engel has never been close to Karen or Karenís brother, Del, who lives next door to Martin. Martinís real passion is birds, and his career in the oil business permitted him to travel around the world and to identify birds in many different countries. In fact, Martin was in Brazil on a bird-watching expedition when he had the stroke, ďone bird awayĒ from identifying all of the birds in Brazil.
Although Del lives next door to Martin, Del is unreliable and cannot be counted on to nurse Martin back to a healthy state after the stroke. Del and Martinís relationship essentially boils down to Delís visits to Martin to ask for money. Once she arrives at her fatherís house, Karen realizes that she wants to be closer to her father and the hopes that they can connect with each other. Unfortunately, Karen is under a lot of stress because Martin cannot speak; nor can he use the left side of his body, and he is frustrated by his circumstances, which leads him to being gruff with Karen.
While Karen deals with her fatherís moods, she also is feeling the brunt of her husband Tomís frustration that Karen dropped everything to go care for her father. Tom needs help running the landscaping business and is having trouble keeping up in Karenís absence. To complicate matters, their youngest son, Casey, is missing, and Tom has to call the police to find the boy. Casey buys a bus ticket and arrives at Martinís home to help his mother care for Martin. While Casey has a good heart, he is often unpredictable, and his trip to Texas means that he will miss the last week of school, including his high school final exams. Both Karen and Casey gradually get to know what makes Martin tick, as his health improves and he can speak short sentences again.
The Birdmanís Daughter is an engrossing read about family, marriage, love, and what the future holds for Karen. While this is not a fast-paced read, the characters are well drawn, and Delís girl of the moment and Karenís mother (her parents divorced many years ago) add interest to the book. This book will appeal to fans of the NEXT series books and to fans of womenís fiction.