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Chosen Audio Download – Unabridged

4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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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By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Jun. 2010
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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By H. meiehofer VINE VOICE on 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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Format: Paperback
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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