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The Choice  By  cover art

The Choice

By: Gillian McAllister
Narrated by: Katharine Lee McEwan
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Publisher's Summary

"Almost unbearably tense." (The New York Times Book Review)

"A Sliding Doors thriller with a moral dilemma at its heart. Brilliant." (Claire Douglas, author of Last Seen Alive)

A captivating, ingenious novel by the author of The Good Sister about a woman faced with an impossible choice after attacking an unknown assailant, urging listeners to ask themselves: What would you do?

It's the end of a night out, and Joanna is walking home alone. Then she hears the sound every woman dreads: footsteps behind her, getting faster. She's sure it's him - the man from the bar who wouldn't leave her alone. So Joanna makes a snap decision. She turns, she pushes. Her pursuer tumbles down the steps and lies motionless, facedown on the ground. Now what?

Addictive and compelling, The Choice follows the two paths Joanna's future might take, depending on the choice she makes. If she calls the police right away, she can save the man's life. Yet doing so puts her own innocence at risk, as she waits for judgment on a charge of assault and the hope that her husband and everyone she loves will stand by her. But if she runs and goes home as if nothing has happened, no one will ever know. No one saw her do it, and it's only up to Joanna to keep quiet...forever.

©2020 Gillian McAllister (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“I literally could not put this book down. This isn’t a far-fetched psychological thriller; this is a deeply human novel about a split-second, life-changing decision any woman could find herself having to make. What would I do? I found myself asking, from the very first page. Razor sharp, brilliantly written, and utterly gripping. Highly recommended.” (Rosie Walsh, author of Ghosted)

"A terrific premise, delivered with panache." (Clare Mackintosh, author of After the End)

"Assured and gripping." (Alex Marwood, author of Wicked Girls)

What listeners say about The Choice

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written and narrated..

It's just that I don't understand the permits of many British thrillers.
In the US you can shoot someone if you even FEEL threatened. But in the UK a woman late at night cannot feel threatened and shove a man away? Yes , he was hurt but in the US INTENT matters.
I guess there entire time I was asking how it was even murder. It was an ACCIDENTAL possibly manslaughter but not murder.
If the laws are like that and mind you I have not finished the book but I'm extremely frustrated but if that's the case, it's ridiculous. I've even read thrillers where a woman kills her rapist and gets arrested ! Come on ... Really?
I'll be reading this author because her writing is beautiful. I don't like the premise but I will definitely read more of her work. That much is fantastic. The first person perspective and what goes on in her head is very very interesting.

8 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

THE CHOICE Should Not Be Your CHOICE.....

Very confusing and disappointing.

This book was very confusing and hard to follow because it was a "what if" book and NOT a "what really happened" book. The book presents the reader with two different scenerios: 1) What happens if the book's main character leaves the scene of her crime and 2) What happensi if the book's main character reports her crime. Both the scenerios go back-and-forth, back-and-forth and back-and-forth. I listened to this book for four hours until I FINALLY called it quits because I could not imagine listening to this book for another seven hours.

The narrator of this book was excellent but not good enough to save the book.

I will be requesting a credit.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Yawwwwwn

I cannot believe the reviews for this book. It is terrible. The woman is unbelievably stupid. Does a stupid thing and then more stupid things trying to cover it up. The pace is glacial. Literally nothing happens, and the author tries to keep your interest with these utterly uninteresting backstories the “imaginative” main character concocts for the people she encounters. I made it about halfway through, and I had to put it down. I never abandon books, but this was BAD.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not a thriller!

This is AT BEST a coming of age story. Two completely insufferable QWiRkY people fall in and out of love. Two insufferable people doing nothing, being nothing and trying to become nothing. Just picture some gelatinous seaweed and you have imagined our cast.
I loved “wrong place wrong time”. But this book aint it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • EZ
  • 08-13-22

A solid B+ and stressfully addictive

The Choice inevitably didn't disappoint, but I was eager to finish it. There's a somewhat grueling ascent to the storylines' (yes, plural) climax, but the much quicker descent to the end was satisfying. It's technically crime fiction, but psychologically gripping — not a thriller or suspense, but it has hooks.

For the most part, you know what's going on at all times, you just have no idea where it's going. The lead character has immature habits, but is also endearing and painfully relatable. Her character development and trajectory through a barrage of traumas is bittersweet. Still, I rooted for her. However, there are a number of peripheral details that seems completely unbelievable or unlikely, but it's fiction — and, fiction is fictional.

An hour or two in, I bumped up the narration speed to 1.3x ... I was pot committed to the book, but really needed to get to the end. When I returned to 1.0x it sounded like dramatic slow-mo ... the narrator has a very lovely voice, but her style is sloooooow. Usually I'd appreciate that, but not for this book lol.

I had just listened to Wrong Place, Wrong time by Gillian McAllister, which set an extremely high bar — IMO, that book was A++ and probably the only reason I gave The Choice a chance, but glad I did. However, if you've not read / listened to "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" skip this book and find that one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED

Fabulous all around. Loved all the characters. Loved the narration. Loved the writing. Loved how my stomach hurt when thinking of what I would have done.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved This

This is a story about the details of a character’s thoughts and feelings. If the interior of someone’s mind isn’t interesting to you, you won’t like this book. But, if how a character or person thinks and feels, how they sort things through, is interesting to you, I think you’ll like this book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not a lot of surprise.

The book drug on and on and on. I found myself frustrated with the main character (which may have been with the author intended), but that along with the fact that it drug on, made it, not as enjoyable for me.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Book wad amazing

I absolutely loved the story, it was utterly fantastic in every way. I loved the two timelines and concept.

I rated the narration lower but kept the overall rating at five stars because even though I didn't like the narrator much, her voice kind of grated on me, the book was excellent enough to make it worth it. It may just be my own senses that made me not like her voice, I don't know whether there was anything about it that would bother others.

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  • JP
  • 10-19-22

Slow and meandering

Chose this based on Wrong Place, Wrong Time because I enjoyed that book so much.
The device of following two paths unfolding from a choice made was interesting but I found the protagonist so annoying by mid book I had to push myself to finish. I had hoped the ending would redeem this story but it did not.
I found it a challenge to accept that the incident at the start of the book leads to such dire consequences but the main character’s unending mind wandering and self- berating thoughts had me finally agreeing with her - Yes you are a dithering fool.
Very little of the book takes place outside of the main character’s thoughts so it was a long grind to finish.