In Chosen, a young caseworker becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and birth parents, with devastating results.
It all begins with a fantasy: the caseworker in her "signing paperwork" charcoal suit standing alongside beaming parents cradling their adopted newborn, set against a fluorescent-lit delivery-room backdrop. It's this blissful picture that keeps Chloe Pinter, director of the Chosen Child's domestic-adoption program, happy while juggling the high demands of her boss and the incessant needs of both adoptive and biological parents.
But the very job that offers her refuge from her turbulent personal life and Portland's winter rains soon becomes a battleground involving three very different couples: the Novas, well-off college sweethearts who suffered fertility problems but are now expecting their own baby; the McAdoos, a wealthy husband and desperate wife for whom adoption is a last chance; and Jason and Penny, an impoverished couple who have nothing except the baby everyone wants. When a child goes missing, dreams dissolve into nightmares, and everyone is forced to examine what he or she really wants and where it all went wrong.
Told from alternating points of view, Chosen reveals the desperate nature of desire across social backgrounds and how far people will go to get the one thing they think will be the answer.
Chandra Hoffman has been an orphanage relief worker in Romania, a horse trainer in the Caribbean, a short-order cook in a third- world hospital, the director of a U.S. adoption program, and an event planner for Philadelphias Main Line elite. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and their three young children. Chosen is her first novel.
“[Hoffman’s] sparkling debut fully engages the reader with Chloe’s altruistic dreams and the predicament in which she unexpectedly finds herself.”
“Gritty and suspenseful, Chosen draws us into the obstacle-strewn path of domestic adoption. Hoffman’s characters are complex and sympathetic in strikingly different ways, even those who appear at first glance to be irredeemable.”
-Juliette Fay, author of Shelter Me
“A page-turner that rings true. . . . This engrossing read will appeal to fans of domestic fiction luminaries Jodi Picoult, Sue Miller, and Chris Bohjalian.”
“Unbearable tension. . . . Chandra Hoffman’s unflinching and suspense-filled account of the pleasures and perils of domestic adoption . . . is a wrenching portrait.”
-Los Angeles Times
“With sensitivity and keen insight, Chandra Hoffman’s absorbing first novel Chosen explores the demanding, uplifting, and emotionally explosive world of adoption. Touching, immediately involving, as well as propulsively readable, Chosen heralds a powerful and distinctive new voice in contemporary women’s fiction.”
-Liza Gyllenhaal, author of Local Knowledge
“A shocking ending.”
“In one of the most self-assured debuts I’ve read, Chosen takes the charged and important issue of adoption and spins it into a gripping story that will keep readers captivated. Chandra Hoffman, a superb artist and storyteller, has written a beautiful and compelling novel.”
-Leonard Chang, author of Crossings
“This riveting debut novel from Chandra Hoffman will keep you on edge until its final glorious pages. Enlightening, terrifying, and big-hearted, Chosen is a terrific book!”
-Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread
“Chandra Hoffman’s Chosen is a finely tuned page-turner. . . . There is no perfect happiness here; instead, there is the unexpected grace of discovering that getting what we want is so often less ideal than wanting what we get. This is an outstanding debut.”
-Therese Fowler, author of Reunion and Souvenir
“Gripping. . . . A heartfelt story well told.”