cover image Somebody Else's Daughter

Somebody Else's Daughter

Elizabeth Brundage, . . Viking, $24.95 (338pp) ISBN 978-0-670-01900-7

A surfeit of characters and subplots weigh down Brundage's overwrought second novel (after 2005's The Doctor's Wife ). Seventeen years after San Francisco heroin junkies Nate and his then wife gave up their infant daughter, Willa, for adoption to a wealthy couple in Stockbridge, Mass., Nate has cleaned up his act and landed a job as a writing instructor at Pioneer, the elite private school Willa attends in the Berkshires. Everyone has something to hide: the head of Pioneer is stuck in a loveless marriage with his mentally unstable wife; Willa's adoptive father owns a lucrative porn studio. Willa grapples with peer pressure and her feelings for Teddy Squire, the school's newest bad boy, while Nate falls for Teddy's sculptor mother. As tensions near the boiling point, past indiscretions and long-buried secrets threaten to spill over and ruin the superficially idyllic community. Though the ingredients exist for a powerful drama, readers will be disappointed when the suspense fizzles early on and never reignites. 4-city author tour. (July)