Elizabeth Brundage first caught my attention with The Doctor’s Wife, which sounded exactly like the kind of book I would enjoy reading. I haven’t read it yet, but when her latest trade paperback release became available, I was eager to read it. A Stranger Like You is set in Hollywood, and follows the poor actions of Hugh Waters, a wannabe screenplay writer whose project got canned after the producer died. He is so sure of his screenplay that he leaves his wife and hops on a plane to Los Angeles to discuss his abandoned project with Hedda Chase, the woman who wouldn’t go through with making the movie. Life imitates art when Hugh, unable to get Hedda to budge on her decision, locks her in the trunk of her own car and abandons it at the airport. It’s up to fate to determine what will happen to Hedda next.
The whole premise of A Stranger Like You sounded fascinating to me. Hollywood is a tough world to break into, and Hugh is the kind of man that doesn’t really have anything good going for him. He doesn’t love his wife, he’s slightly perverted, and he completely lacks anything about which to recommend him. The less page presence he had, the happier I was. I didn’t want to know what was going on in his mind, and I didn’t care for him in the least.
Hedda is a bit more of an interesting character than Hugh. She is not particularly beautiful, but she is very powerful and good at her job. She’s unlucky in love, and has affairs with married men, like Tom Foster, who will never leave their wives for Hedda. It’s too bad that I only started to have any sympathy or compassion for her during the last few pages when she has her epiphany.
There is also another subplot involving Denny, a war veteran from Iraq, who happens to steal the car from the airport to take it for a joyride. Just like Hedda and Hugh, Brundage provides a lot of details about Denny, and again, I just didn’t care.
Hedda basically calls Hugh’s screenplay ridiculous, and that’s exactly how I felt about this novel. There is definitely an audience for this book, but unfortunately I’m not part of it.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.