I picked up the audio and paperback of Somebody Else's Daughter, by Elizabeth Brundage, at the library, thinking that it had an interesting premise: a high school teacher who gave up his infant daughter for adoption 16 years earlier decides to take a job at her prep school with the hopes of getting to know her. I thought it would be the type of fiction I'm usually drawn to, focusing on families/relationships/emotional crises in an interesting setting – the Berkshires.
I was wrong.
It turns out that Somebody Else's Daughter, which is really a thriller, is one of the more implausible, cliched, and unconvincing books I've read in a while. It's supposed to be about "the conflicted characters and the fractured landscape of the American psyche" – as evidenced by the perversity, violence, secrets, abuse, infidelity, prostitution and drugs taking place barely under the surface of an idyllic Berkshires prep school.
Here's why I didn't like the book: the relationships were unrealistic; there were way too many coincidences; plots were totally implausible; there were loose ends that were never tied up; and worst of all, there was cruelty against dogs, which I cannot stand. I could get into a lot more detail about the implausibility of Somebody Else's Daughter, but I will leave it at that.
I will say this for the book: I had a hard time putting it down. Despite all of its faults, it was suspenseful.
I listened to about half of it on audio and then finished it in paperback. I wasn't crazy about the narrator. She sounded oddly old-fashioned, and while she did a decent New England accent, I didn't like the way she voiced the men in the book. They all sounded roughly the same, and her dialogue was overly dramatic.
I really don't recommend this book. Even if you like mysteries/thrillers, there must be many out there that are much better than Somebody Else's Daughter. Take a pass on this one.