Book Review: The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen

Format: E-book

Pages: 327 pages

Published: March 10, 2021

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Fiction & Literature, Literary Fiction

Synopsis:

We all make hard decisions for love. Ones that can tear our heart out and leave us begging for answers. The most painful choice I’ve ever made, my darling child, was to say goodbye to you…

When Julie’s mother falls ill, she has no choice but to return to her parents’ Wisconsin resort, Wood Violet, for the summer. Away from the pressures of city life, Julie also hopes the trip will give her and husband Tristan the chance to heal after the heartbreak of another miscarriage.

Back home, surrounded by nature and old friends, Julie starts to feel a sense of calm she’d thought she’d lost forever. But her fragile peace is shattered when she stumbles upon an eighteen-year-old girl hiding out in an abandoned cabin. The girl, Margaret, seems lost in the world and Julie wants to help her—but when she finds letters in the girl’s backpack, Julie realizes Margaret isn’t telling the whole truth about why she’s here.

If Margaret finds what she’s looking for, it could expose a long-buried secret that could destroy the resort’s reputation and tear Julie’s family apart. And as the summer draws to a close, Julie must make a choice: will she return to Chicago with the man she married, or stay and fight for her parents and the home she loves?


If you are looking for an emotional read, but that leaves you with a warm heart and inspiration at the end, then The Choice I Made by Cynthia Ellingsen. Julie and her husband return home to a Wisconsin resort when her mother suffers from a stroke. Julie’s high pressured job as a lawyer has taken over every aspect of her life. She feels that this trip with her husband will be good for their relationship, particularly after the recent heartbreak of their miscarriage. As she becomes reacquainted with the lost home, Julie meets an 18-year-old girl, Margaret, hiding in an abandoned cabin. Julie doesn’t know that this young girl has a secret that will rock not only the resort’s reputation but shake the foundation of Julie’s family. Because of these changes, Julie is faced with making a decision that will enrich or devastate her future.

You don’t see many coming-of-age novels for adults, especially since it is considered taboo that an adult could achieve insight at such an age. It’s regarded as a mid-life crisis, but I don’t think I would call this a mid-life crisis. Julie has gained insight into her life and realized the things that mean the most in her life. As readers go through this compelling and engaging storyline, readers learn that they can understand more about the world around them through love and loss. But it is also a book about connecting with your family. We cannot do that much during this pandemic. However, this inspirational book makes you love what you have now, even if it’s social distant away. And that is a significant characteristic that Ellingsen has invoked in this inspirational novel. Although I do wish that they were developed a bit more, the characters had enough personality to be realistic with readers. This realism can form an emotional connection with the main character to genuinely understand what Julie is going through. That building those real characters makes this one believable novel. Fans of Kristin Hannah and Karen White will find this book to be one emotional delight. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Cynthia Ellingsen is an Amazon Charts bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature heartwarming characters and strong family connections, often with a touch of mystery. The Starlight Cove series, her best-known work, is available on audio and has been translated into several languages.

Cynthia began her writing career as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and now lives in Kentucky with her family.

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