They call them Mama Bears.
We’ve all heard the stories about them—mothers who are willing to fight, kill, or die for their child.
- Real life moms who take on wild predators like this Canadian mother who—armed only with a cleaning rag—fought off the cougar mauling her child. Or mothers who lift a car to save a child like these moms. Or mothers who fight off kidnappers, or even kill in defense of their child like this 18-year-old Oklahoma mother guarding her newborn son from intruders, just a week after her husband’s death from cancer.
- Historical moms such as fifteenth century queen Margaret of Anjou, a French princess who led an army in the Wars of the Roses, holding a kingdom for her teenaged son. Or warrior mothers like Boudica, the first century British queen of the Iceni Celts, who—when she and her daughters were raped by Romans and their kingdom stolen—led a revolt that ultimately failed, but not before 80,000 of the Roman forces were killed.
- Literary Moms such as Penelope, wife of Odysseus, who kept a hundred suitors at bay and preserved her husband’s kingdom. Or even Magic Soccer Mom Molly Weasley from Harry Potter who slays the Big Bad’s evil sidekick in defense of her daughter.
I’d even like to say a word defense of much-maligned Mrs. Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As foolish as her husband and daughters saw her behavior, she was the only one who fully grasped the desperation of her daughters’ futures if the marriages she sought for them didn’t occur.
The bond between mother and child is a theme that runs through Linda Huber’s psychological thrillers. Her newest work, Chosen Child, is no exception.
Chosen Child by Linda Huber
A disappearance. A sudden death. A betrayal of the worst kind.
Ella longs for a child of her own, but a gruesome find during an adoption process deepens the cracks in her marriage. A family visit starts off a horrifying chain of events, and Ella can only hope she won’t lose the person she loves most of all.
Amanda is expecting her second child when her husband vanishes. She is tortured by thoughts of violence and loss, but nothing prepares her for the shocking conclusion to the police investigation.
And in the middle of it all, a little girl is looking for a home of her own with a ‘forever’ mummy and daddy…
Ms. Linda Huber
requests the honour of your presence as witness on the observation and deconstruction of the upcoming train wreck.
We’ve reserved your favorite comfy chair, placed for optimal viewing. The wreck is going to unfold in slow motion before your eyes, but you won’t be able to look away, even though you know what’s coming.
Told with Linda Huber’s trademark economy of elegantly pared-down prose, we aren’t just observers. We find ourselves in the heads of the two women and one man involved, experiencing their emotions and fears. We feel their helplessness as events unfold with the inevitable force of an out-of-control train heading for an inescapable wreck.
The events revolve around choices, both those we make and those we slide into. Told in alternating sections from Amanda and Ella’s point of view, and from the man who precipitates the tragedy, the events unfold into a classic tragedy. As Ella meets and falls in love with the little girl who can make her dreams of being a mother come true, and as Amanda realizes that her own children’s future has been forever changed by her actions, both women are neither capable nor willing to stop the events from unfolding.
And the man at the center of the drama, whose bad choices were made in a desperate moment, but whose innate cowardice keeps him from accepting the consequences, sets on a path of committing ever-increasing offenses. What I found interesting about the three people involved is that it’s only the women, in many ways his victims, who have a clear idea of their own motives. Within the purity of their need to protect their children, they are absolutely capable of doing whatever it takes. While the two women focus on the children they love, Ella’s husband Rick stumbles on, going from one bad decision to the next, lying to himself while searching for someone to love him. “Rick could see the worry in her head and it was all for this child she had chosen, but—he needed to be loved too.”
Chosen Child is a tragic thriller that darkly explores the bad choices made out of weakness, and the way they compound into tragedy. There is tension as the stakes climb, steadily escalating past a point of no return. The pace is perfectly controlled even as it races toward the inevitable crash. Most interesting is the way the characters evolve over the course of the story. Bored housewife Amanda, attention-seeking Rick, and motherhood-desperate Ella all get their wishes. But the experience changes them, even as it costs each of them the life they had hoped for.
I didn’t like Amanda, but I did understand her decisions and the strength it took to carry out her actions. Ella seems weaker at first, until the absolute conviction of her love for her chosen child makes her the strongest character in the book. And as their characters strengthen, Rick’s is falling apart.
Chosen Child is a fine example of a confident writer taking on ever-darker themes with elegance and precision, right down to that last zinger in the very last four words of the book. It’s a terrific achievement and a five-star read.
*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
- Book Title: The Chosen Child
- Author: Linda Huber
- Genre: Psychological thriller
- Publisher: Amazon Digital (February 15, 2016)
- Length: 260 pages
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