The Choice by Penny Hancock

The blurb for this book sounded really intriguing, so I was very keen to read it. The plot is quite psychological thriller, but it’s written more like literary fiction, so the pacing is slower than what you might expect. (This is an observation, rather than a criticism!)

Renee Gulliver is the main character. She’s a relationship therapist, married to Tobias (who has had a stroke), mother to three grown up children (Irena – who they have lost touch with, George and Mia) and grandma to Mia’s little boy Xavier, who’s six. One day, she gets a phonecall from Mia asking to speak to Xavier, as she’s away in Amsterdam and had asked her mother to pick him up from school. But Renee has forgotten…

I could relate to Renee in several ways. I’m also dealing with some of the hot flushes and menopause symptoms she has to cope with. I also feel stretched in different directions being a mother, a grandma and a carer to my mother. So I enjoyed reading a book from Renee’s perspective.

The writing is beautiful, often lyrical. I haven’t previously read any books by Penny Hancock, but I am very impressed with how skilled she is as an author. Her dialogue is particularly well-observed and realistic. I liked how all her characters were believable, they all had faults and non-one was perfect.

The story shows really clearly how a family can unravel and how those seemingly solid foundations can crumble under secrets and bad decisions. This is of course beautifully ironic as Renee is a well-respected relationship therapist. I was particularly interested in the different relationships she has with her adult children. It’s not a very long book (around 280 pages) but there’s a lot packed in there!

BLURB

THE CHOICE

Penny Hancock

To be published by Mantle in hardback on 21 July 2022 at £16.99 in hardback|9781509867905 and EBOOK at £14.99 |9781509867936

An estranged daughter. A missing grandson. A mother faced with an impossible choice.

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast, a successful career as a relationship therapist, three grown-up children, and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But then Xavier vanishes after Renee fails to pick him up from school, and the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; the local community question her priorities, clients abandon her; and, as long-held grievances surface, her daughter Mia offers her a heartbreaking ultimatum. Amid recriminations, misunderstandings and lies, can Renee find a way to reunite her family?

For fans of Jodi Picoult and If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman, Penny Hancock’s The Choice is an engrossing, thought provoking novel about family secrets and the way that even the smallest decisions can sometimes have far-reaching consequences.

Penny Hancock is the author of internationally bestselling novels including Tideline a Richard & Judy book club pick, The Darkening Hour and A Trick of the Mind and I Thought I Knew You. She writes articles and short stories on family psychology for the national press. Penny divides her time between a village outside Cambridge and her children and grandchildren in London. The Choice is her fifth novel.

Published by karenlouisehollis

52, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

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