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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb psychological thriller from Glaister
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:...
Published on 7 May 2010 by Alison

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Claustrophobic and insidiously nasty
I almost didn't read this much beyond page 40; the claustrophobia and insidious nastiness of the cult was too horrible. But Lesley Glaister's writing made the characters sufficiently sympathetic that I wanted to know what happened, so I speed-read a lot of the middle bits to get to the end.
Sorry.
Published 4 months ago by Sandra Davies


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb psychological thriller from Glaister, 7 May 2010
By 
Alison "Kindle Allie" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Choose This, 27 April 2010
By 
H. meiehofer "haroldm" (glasgow, scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a picture of a happy family!, 22 Jun. 2010
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A nail-biting and satisfying treat of a novel, 3 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 12 May 2010
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This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful book!, 16 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
I read this all in one day! Recommended by a friend months ago, I only got round to picking it up at 9am this morning. I have just finished it and all I can really say is 'WOW'. Read this book! I've already leant it to my mum!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner that ensnares you, 31 July 2011
By 
Thinking About (West Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chosen (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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3.0 out of 5 stars Claustrophobic and insidiously nasty, 22 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
I almost didn't read this much beyond page 40; the claustrophobia and insidious nastiness of the cult was too horrible. But Lesley Glaister's writing made the characters sufficiently sympathetic that I wanted to know what happened, so I speed-read a lot of the middle bits to get to the end.
Sorry.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner by Glaister, 16 May 2010
By 
Uncle Barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing Read, Written with Great Skill, 24 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Chosen (Paperback)
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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Chosen by Lesley Glaister
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