The Choice by Samantha King

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The Choice by Samantha King

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A heart-wrenching choice for any parent, Maddie must choose between her children when a gunman appears. But what lead to this and could it have been prevented?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: April 2017
Publisher: Piatkus
ISBN: 978-0349414652

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It's perfectly possible to be drawn towards one of your children more than the others at a particular point in time. Maybe for a moment, just a moment, you prefer the sleeping 4 year old over his up all night baby sister, and then later when off to do the Big Shop you favour the littlest one for sheer portability and lower likelihood of running off in the carpark, but if you ask most parents they will say they love their children equally. End of. In different ways and for different things, but equally. You might jokingly pick a favourite, but deep down there's no such thing. So imagine the worst thing that could come. Imagine a stranger arriving at your door with a gun and making you choose between your children. One can live, but one must die. Welcome to Madeline's world and her living nightmare.

The Choice is a confused book because its main character is confused. Madeline cannot remember what happened that day. She's blanked it out and the more she tries to recall it, the more the truth eludes her. Her world blown apart, she has lost the ability to speak in the aftermath of such a traumatic event. What's left of her family life is going on without her. Will she ever be able to recall what happens? Does anyone else know the truth? And can life, or what's left of it, continue after what has happened?

Starting with a rather far-fetched premise (A masked gun man! A suburban street! In broad daylight! No obvious motive except a desire to shoot!) this story none the less becomes very real, very quickly. It is an incredibly disturbing story and I quickly became impatient, if not with Maddie then with her situation and her inability to recall the day's events. It's important. Something really bad happened, and there's a real chance people are still in danger. As she tries to process what happened, she realises she knows more than she has let herself believe, and there was a history to it all, signs that something was brewing.

This is an inventive story, and I did like the way it all made sense in the end. Stick with it, and you'll see what I mean. There were a few points that felt a bit clunky, such as the transitions from the present to remembering the past which felt a little shoe-horned at times, but these were the briefest of moments and quickly you were too busy collecting clues from the past to care.

The writing is well paced with no time to linger before the next bombshell is dropped, and I found Madeline a very sympathetic character. When you can't remember, you have to go simply on what others tell you, with all the dangers that brings, and I felt her struggle with the realisation that she might not be getting the full picture. I know many a parent who would flinch at the plot description and steer clear, but having read it cover to cover I would still recommend it. For one, it's just a story, and for another, not all is as it seems. Or to put it simply, the chance that what happens to Maddie here will happen to you on your doorstep with your children is zero to none, and reading this book will not increase those odds.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. Fresh and interesting, I enjoyed it. In a lovely way, it reminded me of Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.

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Buy The Choice by Samantha King at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Choice by Samantha King at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Choice by Samantha King at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Choice by Samantha King at


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