Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman
Published & Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Release Date: August 24, 2010
ISBN: 0061974293 (Hardcover) 0061974315 (Paperback)
Genre: General Contemporary Fiction / Women's Fiction

About The Author:

Since graduating from Cornell University, Chandra has been an orphan relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short order cook in a third world hospital, the director of a US adoption program and an event planner for Philadelphia's Main Line elite.

She has lived in eleven international cities and this wanderlust shaped her writing - in each novel, the setting is its own character, flavoring the story. She prefers to write about everyday scenarios, shining a light on the complexities of situations through the voices of multiple characters. Her debut novel, Chosen, uses the domestic adoption scene of Portland, Oregon as a backdrop to pose the questions "What happens when you get what you thought you wanted?" and "How far would you go if it might not be what you want anymore?"

Chandra received her MFA from Antioch University in 2007. She is now settled back in her hometown outside of Philadelphia with her husband, three young children and an ever-changing menagerie.



Disclaimer: At the request of the author and Chick Lit Plus (CLP), a Paperback edition of this book was sent, at no cost to me, for my honest review and virtual book tour event.

Virtual Book Tour Event: On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, in association with Chick Lit Plus (CLP), Chandra Hoffman participated in a virtual book tour event with an Author Guest Post on Jersey Girl Book Reviews.

Win a $10 Gift Card: Chandra Hoffman - CLP Virtual Book Tour Event Contest Giveaway: Nov 26 - Dec 19 Book Description:

In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the adoptive and birth parents she represents, and who faces life-altering choices when an extortion attempt goes horribly wrong, with devastating results.

It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit, paired with beaming parents cradling their adoptive newborn, against a fluorescent-lit delivery room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of The Chosen Child's domestic adoption program, happy juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of parents on both sides.

But the job that offers Chloe refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains soon becomes a battleground itself involving three very different couples: the Novas, college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing - except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what they really want and where it all went wrong.

Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.

My Book Review:

Would you be able to be a case worker for an adoption agency, knowing that one set of clients (birth parents) will be giving up their baby and mourning this loss, while another set of clients (adoptive parents) are pinning their hopes and dreams of having a baby to complete their family on your shoulders? What if you found yourself in the birth parents' shoes, unable to keep your baby because of circumstances in your life, would you be able to give your baby up? And finally, what if you were the adoptive parents that have gone down the very emotional and draining route of trying to get pregnant, only to have to deal with infertility and placing your last hope of having a family in the hands of the adoption agency? These and so many other questions are what the characters deal with in Chosen.

Chloe Pinter is a case worker for a Portland domestic adoption agency, the Chosen Child program, and it is her responsibility to pair prospective adoptive parents with expectant birth mothers. Chloe is very passionate about her job, and she feels that "it's an honor to be part of such an important moment in people's lives." Chloe single-handedly has to take care of all the needs of both parties, and this is no easy feat to accomplish. Mix in her own confusing personal life with her childish extreme sport enthusiast boyfriend/"fiance" Dan, and it's a wonder that she can meet everyone's needs! Birth parents look over prospective adoptive parents profiles, and decide which couple will adopt their baby, and not always is the choice made in the best interest of the baby. For birth parents Penny and Jason, the desperate young couple from the wrong side of the tracks, it's all about the money. They choose adoptive parents Francie and John McAdoo, based on their financial status, figuring that the adoption of their baby could lead to a major payday, only to put themselves and the adoptive couple through pure hell along the way. For Paul and Eva Nova, their journey to parenthood wasn't an easy road, they've had twelve prior miscarriages, a failed adoption case, and finally they are pregnant for the thirteenth time, this baby is the long awaited answer to their dreams for completing their family. Their dream becomes a nightmare and their world is turned upside down when their infant son is abducted. For each of the characters in Chosen, their lives become intertwined ...

In Chosen, the storyline is interestingly told by the different perspectives of Chloe; Penny and Jason; Francie and John; Eva and Paul. Each of their stories were intriguing, filled with so much hope, despair, longing and fear ... their very real daily struggle to live their lives, and to make the right and sometimes very wrong life decisions had me riding the emotional roller coaster ride with them. Choosing adoption as the topic of this story was a very thought provoking idea, the author engages her readers to consider the adoption process and all it entails; the good, the bad and the ugly. The author draws upon her own life experience as a former adoption case worker, and this experience gives the fictional story a very realistic look into the world of adoption. This story is definitely not an easy one to digest; but it is very thought provoking, insightful and worthy of much discussion.


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