Saturday, September 26, 2009

Someone Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

"We left San Francisco that morning even though your mother was sick. It was a pretty day, the sun shimmering like a gypsy girl's tambourine."

Title: Someone Else's Daughter
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
ISBN: 9780452295377
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)/2009
Pages: 352

The novel opens with a father's letter to his daughter, who he had given up for adoption. Nate Gallagher and Cat are in no state to look after the baby girl Willa, named after the famous author Willa Cather. Nate and Cat are drifters and Cat is sick with AIDS and thinks that only right thing she can do is giving Willa a good life by giving her up for adoption into a good family. Nate, although reluctant at first, knows the practicality of it and agrees.

Joe and Candace Golding are a prosperous couple in Massachussetts Berkshires, and love Willa even though their relationship is not the very best. They too have a past and wouldn't like it to be revealed in the society they live. Willa studies in Pioneer School, which is an elite private school.

Clair, an artist comes back to the town along with her son, Teddy. She too has a past and seems to have lost out in love. Joe is strongly attracted to her. They are complete opposites and their affair only makes Joe see reason and strengthens him for working towards his marriage with Candace, who has always known about his affairs but turned a blind eye. The headmaster of the elite school Jack Heath and his wife Maggie seem like an upright couple but nothing could be farther from the truth. Maggie is scared that their past might be revealed and they be thrown out of the town.

Nate Gallagher, now a much cleaned up teacher and a wannabe writer, arrives into town by taking a teaching post in that school as he has a strong desire see his daughter. Willa starts her community internship training in a women's shelter and is forced to face some truths she has not envisioned till date. There she meets a hooker Petra and forms some sort of friendship with her.

In this apparently happy small town, when tragedy strikes, everything thing crumbles down. Things come to an head and each one is left to ponder over his/her behaviour and individuality. They must make some choices.
With very realistic portrayal of the various characters, who are not black or white but rather grey, Brundage manages to create a gripping novel, with so plausible a setting. The suspense simply takes us in and the psychologial aspect comes forth very well. Each and every character is well etched. Willa, Joe, Clair and Nate and also the now dead Cat, stay in mind long after.

What I really liked about this novel is the way the learning disorder Dyslexia, is covered here. No surprises there, as I am teacher! No way, it is a depressing novel. The end is fitting and very uplifting. I am going to look out for Brundage's first novel, The Doctor's Wife and anything else she writes.

Also reviewed by :

Jen at Devourer of Books
Michelle at 1 More Chapter
The Friendly Book Nook
Swapna at S. Krishna's Books
Shana at Literarily
Elizabeth at I need more bookshelves
Kristie of Kristie loves books


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I'm glad u enjoyed this book. I don't think I could handle the subject matter right now.

Kailana said...

Sounds interesting. I have never even heard of the book before!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to read this one back when a bunch of bloggers were reading it and I sort of forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me!

Ranurgis said...

This is not really to the subject, but I was trying to find a sample of Elswyth Thane's/Mrs. William Beebe's autograph on Google. It led me to your April 2009 blogs where you mention something about her. I was therefore wondering if you might have any suggestions as to how I might find one.

Ranurgis said...

For what it's worth, you were interviewing an author on Apri 17 when she/he mentioned Elswyth Thane.

If you have any information, any follow-up comments will be sent to my account.

Anonymous said...

I like the sound of this one.

Ceri said...

Wow, this sounds like a good character driven book that explores complexities of different relationships. I wouldn't mind picking this up myself.

Shonda said...

I've seen this book for awhile now at my library. It looks good. Thanks for the review.