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Guest Post: Review – Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

I want to welcome Swapna Krishna from S. Krishna’s Books! Swapna wrote an excellent review for Somebody Else’s Daughter, on tour with TLC Book Tours, which I am reprinting here with permission.

somebodyelsesdaughter

Title: Somebody Else’s Daughter
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
ISBN: 0670019003
Pages: 352
Release Date: July 3, 2008
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Review: TLC Book Tours
Rating: *** 1/2 (out of 5)

From the dust jacket:

Two young drifters, Nate and Cat – bottomed out on drugs and living on the margins of San Francisco – are forced by stress and circumstance to give up their infant daughter. Seventeen years later, Nate comes to the idyllic setting of the Berkshires to teach at the elite private Pioneer school – as his daughter’s teacher.

Willa Golding, ensconced in a magnificent country home with her parents, has never worried much about being adopted. But when the world she’s always trusted becomes a foreign place, she learns that her adoptive parents have not been totally honest with her – nor with others in their privileged circle.

Claire Squire is a visual artist struggling on the outskirts of her profession. It is a lucky break to get her troubled son, Teddy, a backdoor acceptance to Pioneer. But Teddy soon finds it’s a precarious place well disguised by preppy ties, plaid skirts, and activities designed to look good on college applications. He sees through it all – but that, too, threatens his slippery grasp on a better future.

Somebody Else’s Daughter is a collision of two very different fathers – biological and adopted; a woman whose independence and talent have led her to dead ends in life and love; and a villain whose intentions slowly unfold with the help, witting and unwitting, of all those around him. An electric, suspenseful tale of conflicted characters and the fractured landscape of the American psyche, it scratches the surface of the Berkshire dream – a place where people go to live their ideals, and to hide their secrets.

Somebody Else’s Daughter is a dark novel about the interaction of different families in Berkshire. The novel unfolds into a gripping tale of suspense, focusing on each of the characters. The book is narrated by different characters, allowing the reader to see the consequences of actions from multiple points of view. It is an effective method of storytelling, and one that Brundage uses well.

One of the most interesting things about the novel is the way Brundage develops her characters. She establishes the basics of each character at the beginning of the novel and then spends the rest of it slowly building them up, layer by layer. By the end of the book, they seem to have developed their own lives, complete with damaged psyches. It’s an interesting method of character development that slowly draws the reader into the twists and turns of a person’s mind. However, a consequence of this is the pace of the book – it is very slow. It takes a long time for the plot to become gripping and suspenseful.

The subject matter also makes the book difficult to read at times. Brundage deals with not one, but several weighty issues that could take up an entire novel on their own. AIDS, abuse, molestation, pornography, prostitution – and that’s just to name a few! Still, Brundage tackles each of these subjects well and should be commended on her ability to juggle these multiple weighty issues with dignity and due diligence.

Somebody Else’s Daughter is a novel that will appeal to people who enjoy character driven stories. If you can get through the slow pace and heaviness of the novel, you will be rewarded with a well-written and expertly crafted novel that has a surprising ending you won’t see coming.

Now here’s a question for you: do you prefer novels with a fast-moving plot but relatively undeveloped characters or slower novels that take time to carefully build characters?

Thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours and Elizabeth Brundage for sending me a copy of this great novel!

If you’re interested in learning more about this novel, check out the rest of the tour!

Monday, November 3rd: It’s All Fun & Games
Wednesday, November 5th: S. Krishna’s Books
Friday, November 7th: Mabel’s House
Wednesday, November 12th: Devourer of Books
Thursday, November 13th: All Thumbs Reviews
Friday, November 14th: Welcome to My Brain
Monday, November 17th: 1 More Chapter
Wednesday, November 19th: My New Reality
Friday, November 21st: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, November 25th: The Friendly Book Nook
Monday, December 1st: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Tuesday, December 2nd: Bookroom Reviews
Thursday, December 4th: Pieces of Me

| Tags: , , , , 8 comments »

8 Responses to “Guest Post: Review – Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage”

  1. Natasha @ Maw Books

    Great review! I didn’t think I was interested before but my mind may be changed. As for plot vs. character driven novels, I recently read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I loved! I described it as a novel where nothing happens but everything happens. Very character driven.

    [Reply]

  2. veens

    I did read this post on S. Krishna’s blog. It is quite an interesting book 🙂

    i would love to say -” slower novels that take time to carefully build characters” … but sometimes it gets to me – the pace. there should be enough plot to hold me to the book 🙂

    But this book sounds really interesting

    [Reply]

  3. Jeane

    Hi. I just tagged you for a bookish meme!

    [Reply]

  4. smoothpebble

    Well this one is going on my list – it looks very interesting.
    I vote for slow moving, but very well developed characters!

    [Reply]

  5. Susan B. Evans

    Tough question. I’ve got to have some action in my books, but the characters need to be multi-dimensional in order for me to care about them 🙂

    [Reply]

  6. Meg Waite Clayton

    I LOVED this book. Really thought-provoking and so well written and … just really such a compelling read. I didn’t find it slow at all. I gobbled it up in a couple days.

    [Reply]

  7. belleofthebooks

    I read and reviewed Somebody Else’s Daughter too (here: http://belleofthebooks.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/somebody-elses-daughter/)
    It really is thought provoking and touches on so many serious issues. It’s the kind of book that needs to be talked about.

    [Reply]

  8. Elizabeth Brundage, Author of Somebody Else’s Daughter, On Tour November 2008 | TLC Book Tours

    […] Wednesday, November 5th: S. Krishna’s Books (this review will also appear as a guest post on Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?) […]

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