the choices we make book coverReviewed by Colleen Turner

I need to say right up front that Karma Brown’s debut novel, Come Away with Me, made my top ten best books of 2015 and so I jumped at reviewing her newest, The Choices We Make, as soon as I saw it come up for review without even reading what it was about. Her debut blew me away with how real and raw she was able to make her characters and the surprise twist towards the end that I never saw coming. I just KNEW I was going to love The Choices We Make and I am so happy to say that she didn’t disappoint.

The Choices We Make is the story of Hannah, a woman who is unable to have the one thing she wants more than anything in the world–a baby to call her own. Her best friend, Kate, is determined to help Hannah make her dream come true, and their families love and, for the most part, support both women on this beautiful and heartbreaking journey. While I’ve always had an appreciation for the difficulties some women have when trying to have children, I had no idea just how debilitating these issues could be – mentally, emotionally, physically – or how many options are available nowadays for people to explore. With so many options to explore, however, the increase in disappointment when none of them work has to grow exponentially and this is exactly what happens with Hannah and her husband, Ben.

My heart broke for them, especially Hannah who took on so much of the guilt and responsibility for their lack of success in having children, and I couldn’t help but have a new appreciation for not only the struggle they go through but the cruel comments, whether intentional or not, people going through this sort of struggle have to deal with every day.

What Kate does for her best friend is so selfless and I absolutely loved her for what she does. While the synopsis on the back of the book tells you up front what she does, I’ll leave it unsaid here in case anyone wants to be surprised. Suffice it to say she puts her friend’s deep need to be a mother front and center and does the only thing she can to help make that happen. This doesn’t go as planned and something horrible happens that puts both women’s lives, and the lives of their loved ones, into a complete tailspin. After being completely shocked by the twist in Come Away with Me, I admit that I was on the lookout for clues as to what was going to happen in The Choices We Make, so I actually had an idea as to where the story was headed pretty early on. That being said, it was still a jolt when it did happen and I was torn between characters as I tried to think about how I would feel and react in the same situation. That is the power of Karma Brown’s writing…you almost can’t help but see these fictional people as real and take their experiences and feelings to heart.

The Choices We Make does not have a “happily ever after” ending because very rarely in life is that the way things play out. However, it ends on the cusp of healing and gives the hope that some form of happiness will be possible for these characters you will come to love. Like books by Jodi Picoult and Taylor Jenkins Reid, you’ll be presented with complicated situations and emotions and be forced to look within yourself to determine how you would fare given the same set of circumstances. I absolutely love Karma Brown’s writing and recommend her books to anyone who will listen.

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, and their dogs Oliver and Cleopatra. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship. You can find more of her reviews on her blog.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by MIRA. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.