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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 May 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Chosen is the story of Dodie and her family during difficult and unusual times. Dodie's mother behaves strangely and her brother Seth goes missing. Dodie travels to New York State in search of Seth and finds herself staying at the Soul-Life Centre, a strange cult with unusual beliefs.

Chosen is arranged into two main sections and one final smaller section: the first part is Dodie's story set in the present day, the second begins in the 1970s when Dodie's mother is a child and progresses into the present day, the final part is in the present day and is the conclusion of the story. The story being told from two different perspectives works really well: the tension builds steadily and I really enjoyed the unravelling and revealing nature of the plot.

Glaister's characters are always well detailed this book is no exception. It's not quite as intense as some of her other books (such as "As Far as You Can Go") but it's a slightly different style and the relationships and connections between the characters make for a different feel and different situation.

This was a gripping tale, the third excellent book that I've read by Lesley Glaister. If you've not read any of Glaister's books but enjoy the psychological thriller genre I would highly recommend that you give her a go. Her stories are not typical or predictable and they are very readable.
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VINE VOICEon 27 April 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found some parts of this book quite an uncomfortable read but not because the writing was bad; in fact quite the opposite. The quality of the prose here is so good that it enables the author to create an authentically claustrophobic atmosphere in the first section of the book.

This section sees the heroine being sucked into a religious cult. The authentic feel is such that this reader experienced the paranoia and uncertainty of the central character.

The second section of the book flashes back to the seventies and explains a lot of the background to the motives of the cult's leaders in the contemporary section.

Choice is a major theme here. What choices do we have? Which should we have? And what happens when we are deprived of choice?

Every aspect of this book works well. The characters are believable and interesting, the plot is intriguing, but most of all the writing is just superb.

This is suspense writing of the highest order. It should appeal to any one who likes quality writing and psychological thrillers.
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on 11 October 2015
I have been looking for this book "Chosen" by Lesley Glaiter, for 5 years. I was so pleased when I found it finally and bought it straight away. It's maddening when you can't remember the books title or the author's name, but only remember there was some red colour on the cover and the name Martha. It's a really touching, heart felt story. It's written in an unusual way. It's a cult book. A really good read. Stunning take on religious cults with psychological thriller plot! I recommend! 10 out of 10. Throughout the whole book, I really felt for Martha. I will not tell you why, you must read it to find out. You, the reader, might find you can relate to the other characters. It's just one of those books, don't read the back, Just open and jump right in.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 March 2013
This is an exciting and enjoyable psychological thriller which, though focused around the development of a religious cult, also explores a theme of the choices people make in their lives and the consequences of those choices . The novel tells the story from two main perspectives; that of Dodie, a young woman whose life is torn apart by the suicide of her mother and the disappearance of her brother, and that of Melanie - Dodie's aunt - which starts many years before with hre meeting a young man who believes that he receives divine messages and instruction .

The two stories are brought together brilliantly to create a page turning, heart racing, climax to the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which found very hard to put down until it was finished
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on 12 May 2010
I have just finished reading this novel and had to write a review straight away. I am fascinated by cults but I have never before come across one protrayed so convincingly before in a novel. Or with such a successful mix of wisdom, humour and concern. There are two strands to the narrative, one told by a young woman called Dodie, who finds her disturbed mother hanged at the start of the novel, and the second by Melanie, the mother's sister, who was seduced at a young age by a self-styled guru-evangelist and has spent her life in thrall to a man - and a sysetem - that reeks of control and hypocrisy. When the two stories reveal their connections, there arises the kind of genuine, nail-biting suspense and is the hallmark of the very best kind of psychological suspense.What is so wonderful about Glaister's exploration of the cult phenomenon is that all the characters - including the deluded narcissist at its heart - are uttery convincing. Add to this a thriller ploit that never loses its grip, and an extraordinarily well-rendered climax, and outstandingly good writing, and you have what Sophie Hannah rightly describes on the cover of the book as a masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After Dodie finds her mother dead from suicide she seeks out her younger brother but is told he has gone to America to stay with relatives. As Dodie is unaware of any relatives she sets out to find him. She is led to a religious community in New York State but instead of finding Seth and bringing him home she is gradually drawn into the cult by a mixture of curiosity, persuasion and mind-altering drugs. This is possibly the best part of the book - very effectively written - as we feel Dodie being drawn more and more into a dangerous situation.

The second part of the book is written by Dodie's aunt Melanie who is a long term resident of the Soul-Life Community. She is in complete thrall to the leader Adam and again and again finds herself being persuaded to make wrong choices against her better judgement. However I was not convinced by why anyone would really respond to Adam. He was rather a laughable and pathetic character but only Stella (seriously depressed and possibly mentally ill) sees through him. Though, having said that, I suppose most cults are filled with vulnerable or damaged people just waiting to be told "the truth".

The writer evokes the atmosphere of a cult community brilliantly and it is a compelling read. But if you would like a story about happy family life this is not for you!
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on 3 June 2010
As soon as I finished this book I turned to the first page and starting reading the first half again.

This is not because of the characters, although they are heart-breaking and vividly realised (as well as somes hilarious); this is not because of the topic, although the religious cult it depicts and its repercussions are believable, terrifying and memorable. It is because of the structural make-up of the book which I found delightful and approaching genius.

We are told, in the first half, the story of Dodie and how she gets caught up in a 'soul-life community'. While I was reading this I enjoyed it thoroughly but found some of the plot a bit far-fetched. However, the narrative switches in the second half to the story of Melanie, some thirty or forty years previous. This is where it becomes an electrifying read. The memory of Dodie's story becomes enriched by the slow series of revelations in Melanie's (I kept having to flick back and see how much I'd missed in Dodie's story) and they combine at the end into a highly exciting and unexpected climax.

This is highly recommended.
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on 31 July 2011
My attention was tested at first, but I persevered and was rewarded.

An oppressive mundane feeling swamped the first part of Chosen, as Dodie is sucked into the Soul-Life Centre's nefarious ways. It left me with the discomforting feeling, one of being slowly pulled into some murky viscous fluid. This gave the book a heavy and uneasy, grey atmosphere which I slowly waded through.

However, a catapult back in time made the second part of the book a much more enjoyable read. The back story to the Soul-Life Centre's establishment and ethos moved along at a more engaging pace. There was more of a sense of colour and meaningful evens as the story develops through the decades and characters' personalities reveal themselves.

I found myself whipping through the final part (and annoyed at myself for leaving it behind at work just before I got to the end).

The impact of parental absence and loss, was a strong theme for me throughout this book, possibly explaining why people (especially very young people) can be manipulated by charismatic characters and drawn into destructive relationships and in this case, religious cults.

Overall, after a slow start the book does pick up pace with a good story that keeps unfurling and yielding spiky surprises.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Chosen is a dark psychological thriller in which Dodie, whose marriage is in trouble, finds her eccentric mother, Stella has committed suicide and her brother has disappeared into an American religious cult.

The narrative then switches to Stella's sister, Melanie who tells the story of her teen years in the seventies. The tow tales then fit together to give a nail-biting climax.

As with all of Glaister's writing, the characters are uniquely penned and her prose is always a joy to read for its own sake: something that can't be said for every psychological thriller writer.

I found this offering well paced and gripping although my all time Glaister favourite remains Now You See Me, (which I thoroughly recommend if you haven't read it yet). Glaister has a dark, unique style and singular eye for seeing the world.

None of her characters, plots or prose is ever formulaic. No doubt Glaister's writing would not appeal to everyone but like other reviewers, I can't understand why she isn't more widely read.

Chosen is recommended reading from me.
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on 24 March 2014
As someone who is a great admirer of Lesley Glaister's work, and who has experienced the disappearance into a cult of a close family member, I was drawn to this book from the beginning.
I was not disappointed. The author reflects the same fear. loss of power and ultimate pointlessness that I myself experienced.
But the book also enabled me to understand, to some degree, why my brother was drawn into the cult in the first place and why he remained. It showed me that you should never give up the fight to get your loved one out.
A difficult subject that not many writers would have the courage to tackle
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