Reviews for Understudy

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Trailer trashette turns into rich girl. Amy was wearing best friend Robin Mulcahey's clothes and driving Robin's car when they crashed. Apparently "Robin's" mangled body was unrecognizable—and the Mulcaheys seem to be saying that Amy is Robin. Or is that the painkillers talking? Gee, Amy always did want to be Robin, who befriended her at college and took her home to meet her perfect parents. Congressman Mulcahey and his socialite wife Tammy were so refined. They served asparagus in a crystal dish. And Robin's brother Paul never treated Amy as if she was some slut from the wrong side of town, especially when he was nuzzling the crescent-moon birthmark on her left breast . . . . Oh, it is the painkillers talking. She can't become Robin if she's in love with Robin's brother. Or can she? After a lot of reconstructive surgery, Amy/Robin begins living a lie. All that acting experience leads her to soap stardom and a Vegas marriage to handsome Irish actor Declan Blair. Irony of ironies: he too is living a lie, being a closeted gay, secretly still in love with his childhood playmate from the Aran Islands back when they were poor village lads frisking about in handknit sweaters. Clad in floral-print surfer trunks, his "male sex bulging even in its flaccid state," he's man enough for Amy/Robin. But she's devastated when he reveals his love for Cedric, now a successful screenwriter. Then she finds an old letter from the real Robin and realizes that the distinguished Congressman had repeatedly raped his lovely daughter, with his indifferent wife's approval. If only Amy/Robin could take refuge in Paul Mulcahey's strong arms—but he just caught a glimpse of the crescent-moon birthmark on her left breast! Wooden prose and preposterous plot: so bad it's kind of fun. From the author of East of the Sun, West of the Moon (2001), etc. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.