Cover Image: The Choice

The Choice

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Member Reviews

The Choice was a compulsive read, offering a moral dilemma that everyone who reads it will have an opinion on.
Our story focuses on Jane Bell, a mother of two. She could probably have gone throughout her life without anyone knowing her name, were it not for her actions on the day our story opens. Jane drove her car into a neighbour, killing him. She admitted her actions, but said she had to do it in order to prevent him from carrying out something truly awful.
Jane and her husband contacted the police and helplines, doing whatever they could to alert them to the perceived threat. Nothing was done. Turning detective, Jane found evidence of three bombs in her neighbour’s home. Bombs she believed he was going to detonate at the local primary school. So, yes, she killed a man…but in so doing, she potentially saved the lives of hundreds of children.
From this very dramatic opening we focus on the different perspectives of people involved in Jane’s trial. A decision has to be made. Did she intend to kill him? Does the perceived threat allow us to label her actions as selfless, protecting others?
This is a decision nobody would like to have to hold in their hands. It challenges your own beliefs and what you hold dear. It is a challenge that could truly impact on future behaviour if it were real.
The varying perspectives offer a fascinating exploration of the scenario. We learn more about the key players, and nothing is quite as straightforward as it might appear. While it seems the jury verdict is obvious, this is never announced and with Jane’s shocking final revelation I really felt the ambiguity of the ending was given a strength that might have otherwise been lacking.
Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this prior to publication.
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This book had a great premise, but spent way too much time setting up and introducing all the characters. The last quarter did pick up.
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I read The Choice in a day, not being able to put it down once I began.

A really interesting and compelling storyline. What would you do if you knew hundreds of children would be injured or killed by one person? And that person was your neighbour.

After suspicious behaviour from her neighbour, (James), Jane goes to the police to report her suspicions. But they don't take her seriously.

Terrified for her children's lives and others at their school, Jane is living in constant fear.

So when she's alone in her car and sees him in his driveway, something takes over, and she ploughs straight into him, killing him.

So begins a prosecution for murder.

Jane's barrister will argue it was a form of self-defence, namely, defence of others.

But will the jury agree?

Is Jane a murderer or a hero?

What do you think?
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Thank you to @headofzeus for gifting me a copy of The Choice in exchange for an honest review.

The Choice is unlike any book I’ve read before. It centres on Jane who has just knocked down and killed her neighbour James. Her reason for doing so? She found out he had been creating homemade bombs and had plans to attack the local primary school. Despite going to the police with the information she has, they have chosen not to investigate further and so she took action into her own hands. It leaves the reader to consider, if in the same situation, what choice would you make?

This one has multiple POVs which I really enjoyed as it allowed us to see the situation from all angles: the policeman on the case, the lawyer, a journalist, Jane herself etc. I liked how it made us think about the repercussions from that Jane’s actions had and how this could impact on further vigilante movements.
There was also a lot of media attention involved in the case and seeing how the media impacts a case from the other side of investigation was really eye opening, especially how it can influence a jury.

For me it took a while to get fully immersed in the story. I feel it started quite slow but my interest definitely grew once Jane’s trial got going. There were some other plot points thrown in which I also don’t feel added much to the overall story, a romance blooming between two characters and the backstory of the journalist. I feel like it took attention away from the main plot.

Overall, this is a unique thriller which definitely left me thinking what action I would take if I was in Jane’s position.
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This was very well written and engaging and I felt very connected to the story. I always enjoy a courtroom drama and this was no exception. It seems that everything is cut and dried from the beginning but it doesn’t make the story any less enjoyable. My only issue is the ending does not feel resolved for me and I absolutely hate that! Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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WOW, A BRILLIANT DEBUT IN THIS GENRE. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It certainly makes you think about what you would do in the main characters position. Is she a hero or a murderer? you have to decide.

Jane Bell has just driven her car into her neighbour James Foster, he was putting his bin out and she aimed her car directly at him, the impact wedged him between her car and the wall behind him, killing him almost instantly  when arrested she explains he has home made bombs in his house. She did it to protect all the children and teachers of the school where her children attend. 
Would you take one life to save hundreds? That’s the question you have to ask yourself.

The story is told in short chapters, with the points of view of Jane, her husband Neil, the detective who handled the case Bill, a local journalist Aneesa, her defence lawyer Simon and a member of the jury Mary.

The reasons behind Jane’s behaviour that day become clear, James Foster was going to blow up the school that her two children attend with around 300 other children. She has previously contacted the police informing them that he was building bombs, but they weren’t interested, she has contacted other bodies of power but again not interested until something  happens. She took her children out of school and nursery but was threatened with prosecution. She saw no other option, that day she did what she did to stop him.

The story is big news, a lot of people rallying round in support of her, others not as supportive. Jane is a quiet, calm and peaceful person, she gets on well with the small amount of friends she has her main friend being Rachel who is very supportive. But now she is in prison awaiting trial, not knowing if she will ever be free to see her children again, they are her life.

This is a brilliantly written book, with believable, likeable characters that you are rooting for. A couple of not so nice characters but they are just doing there jobs.

What I liked about this wasn’t just the build up to the trial, learning about how Jane found out what James was planning, but also the changes in the characters, Neil, Jane’s husband seemed very weak at the beginning but he gradually became stronger as he supported his wife, I got the impression initially that she had to support him a lot. One of the jurors Mary changes over the course of the trial again becoming a more confident person.

If Jane got off, would that open up a can of worms allowing vigilantes to start taking the law into their own hands? But Jane saved all those children, did she want James dead or just to injure him?

This would be a perfect read for a book club opening up some brilliant topics of discussion. If you only read one domestic thriller this year then read this one. 

There were parts I never expected which had me in tears. I will be looking out to see what this author comes up with next.

Thank you to #netgalley and #headofzeus for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
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Everything you could ever want in a cracking crime thriller!

When Jane Bell drove into her street after dropping her children off, the last thing on her mind was killing someone but, upon seeing her rarely seen neighbour out in the open, she floored the accelerator and killed him. Why would a perfectly nice woman, who lives for her family, suddenly commit a criminal act? That’s the big question . . .

We very quickly discover the circumstances which led to Jane’s actions and, if you’re like me, you will speedily decide whose side you’re on! This is a gripping read from beginning to end, and one it is very hard to tear yourself away from. Whilst it’s easy to put yourself in Jane’s shoes, you also get the opportunity to see things from the perspective of her husband, the police officer in charge of her case, the local journalist covering the story, the lawyer who is representing her in court and, of course, Jane herself. It is, without doubt, a shocking read and one which is ideal for any book club as there are so many angles to consider along with the big question of guilty or not guilty? If you have ever come across the expression ‘the law is an ass’ then this story will will make you ponder upon that very thing; I have often thought there is a difference between following the letter of the law and doing what is right, and S. J. Ford gets right to the heart of that. The Choice is an absolute page-turner and one it’s almost impossible to put down! If you are going to burst into the book world with a stunning novel, then this is the way to do it. An awesome read, one I enjoyed tremendously and which earns my highest recommendation and five fat sparkling stars!

My thanks to the publisher both for my copy via NetGalley and my spot on this tour; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
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The Choice blends literary and legal fiction with psychological elements. Told from several interesting viewpoints, many of whom are unreliable protagonists. The main protagonist kills a man she believes is a domestic terrorist. The story explores what led to Jane's action and the legal redress for her alleged crime. Moral justice versus legal justice is a predominant theme here, and it forces the reader to ask, what if it was me?

Creative and plausible, this is an immersive read. The pace slows with detailed narrative at the expense of characterisation, but it's compelling, and you keep turning the pages to find out what happens.

I received a copy of this book from 'Head of Zeus' in return for an honest review.
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Shows nothing is black and white and how blurred the lines can be between right and wrong, the legal system, children's services and what each of us would do on a given situation. Shows how influential media can be, and how they have to pick a side and how that can change the outcome. There was a hell of a curve ball in this which really worked as I was concerned it would have a Hollywood ending.
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(1.50*)

The Husband. The Lawyer. The Detective. The Journalist. The Murderer. 

The Choice by SJ Ford follows Jane Bell who murdered someone. She commits the crime. But it’s all for a reason. Does that reason for the killing make her a hero or is she still a villain??

I was so excited to read the first book ever written by this author. A 400-page debut. This book really caught my eye because of the synopsis. It is following a different type of storyline/concept than I am typically used to — someone doing something bad in order to save another person. Doing something bad, with good intentions. It is not something I usually see in thrillers or the books I steadily read. 

To be honest though, I DNFed the book a little under half way — 43% mark, because I just could not get into it how I wanted to. It always takes a while for me to come to terms with DNFing a book and trying to figure out “why” I am not feeling it. But, I personally think for this one, it was just the way it was written. The characters are developed decently but the actual writing style was just boring, it read slow/long because of how much extra details and descriptions were added and I felt were not needed. 

Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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A really good idea for a story, however I struggled to get into the book as for the most part not much happened, it was mostly describing different characters’ perspectives. 

The story did pick up towards the end with the trial and I raced through the final 25% of the book, and the ending really made me think.
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My thanks to NetGalley and Head Of Zeus for a copy of “ The Choice” for an honest review.

I thought this was a really good idea for a story , whether it is morally right to take one person’s life to save others.
Unfortunately I really didn’t like the style of writing , it was overly descriptive and, for me, detracted from the story. I ended up losing interest and just wanted to get to the verdict.
Sadly I can’t recommend, although I appear to be in the minority of other readers views.
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A whirlwind of a story, where heart breaking and life-changing stories lie on every corner. Starting where a seemingly ordinary wife and mother Jane Bell deliberately runs her car into her neighbour James, intending to kill him, We quickly find out that Jane suspects James of being a domestic terrorist - but does this excuse her actions? The story is told across multiple viewpoints including Jane, her husband, local journalists and police officers and with angles from before the incident up to Jane's arrest and subsequent trial. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't be sure which way the story was going to go. A fascinating read,
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Fabulous!  When Jane's neighbour James starts to act suspicious she becomes worried and that fear is heightened even further when she finds a receipt that leads her to believe he might be a terrorist.  When all her efforts to seek help fails she takes matters into her own hands.  She has to protect her children at all cost, even if it mean she loses her freedom…thought provoking interesting read!
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Narrated from multiple perspectives, The Choice by S J Ford is an intriguing psychological fiction. A woman drives her car into a neighbour one evening as he puts out his rubbish bins. The narrative then reveals the detective, husband, local journalist, lawyer, juror and even the murderer’s experience of events. So is Jane Bell a hero, a murderer and what are the legal repercussions of her actions? Ultimately, the reader is challenged to ponder this moral dilemma and what legal ramifications should result. So, with its variety of interesting characters, fascinating premise and moral conundrum, this work makes for a four-star rating. If you like stories with ethical ambiguity, this first-time author is well worth a read. With thanks to Head of Zeus and the author, for an uncorrected advanced copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given, without coercion.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC.
It took me a while to write this review as I am speechless as how the book made me feel.
It gripped me from the very first page with enough about each character to make you feel like you know them on a personal level.
Each chapter made me think about what I would do or what id think about the situation all of the characters were in- would I have done the same or something different?

I felt a lot of emotions in this book, from anger and hatred that Jane was forced into the situation of killing a man, to upset when she was targeted and caused a death in which Aneesa never got her happy ending with Simon.
This book was a powerful read.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Absolutely phenomenal.
The intricacies of right and wrong, of one life versus many and of "vigilante justice" are all explored in this book. Should one woman take the life of a man who seems to be planning to kills tens of children?
The whole process of the investigation and court case are fantastically written and will have you swaying between empathy for Jane and for her victim but always with the underlying "but if he actually did live to set off his bombs..."
great characters, great details and a great ending!
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Such an emotionally challenging story! Being a parent this challenged every bone of my morel fibre. I am Team Jane all the way!
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I absolutely loved this! What a fantastic plot, beautifully written, intertwining the relationships between the characters in such an ingenious and realistic way.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I thought the premise was really interesting but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the book. It felt poorly executed which is such a shame as I really wanted to love it!
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