Gail and Jon Durbin have been trying to have a child for the last four years, only to suffer 3 miscarriages and multiple adoptions that fell through, leading Gail to become desperate to be a mother. 18-year-old Carli got pregnant, and with the father becoming a runaway, her dreams of going to college, and her bad home life, she has made the difficult choice to give the child up for adoption. The two parties become connected and soon the Durbins are on the way to completing their family and reassembling their declining marriage. But things quickly go awry when Marla, Carli's mother, is determined to make sure the Durbins never get her grandchild. Other People's Children is an expertly handled examination of family and what one will do to protect their own. Told in alternating perspectives, readers will find themselves rooting for every character and flipping alliances as they dig into their minds and explore their motives and the familial history that has led them to make the choices that they do. R.J. Hoffmann is able to blend the mundane and the melodramatic into the perfect mix, one that makes for an extremely compelling, shocking but believable read.— Parker Jensen
An “engrossing debut” novel (Laura Dave, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Thing He Told Me) about a couple whose dreams of adoption push them to do the unthinkable when their baby’s birth family steps into the picture.
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO SAVE YOUR FAMILY?
As soon as Gail and Jon Durbin bring home their adopted baby Maya, she becomes the glue that mends their fractured marriage.
But the Durbin’s social worker, Paige, can’t find the teenage birth mother to sign the consent forms. By law, Carli has seventy-two hours to change her mind. Without her signature, the adoption will unravel.
Carli is desperate to pursue her dreams, so giving her baby a life with the Durbins seems like the right choice—until her own mother throws down an ultimatum. Soon Carli realizes how few choices she has.
As the hours tick by, Paige knows that the Durbins’ marriage won’t survive the loss of Maya, but everyone’s life is shattered when they—and baby Maya—disappear without a trace.
Filled with heartrending turns, Other People’s Children is a riveting page-turner you’ll find impossible to put down.
About the Author
Jeff Hoffmann was born and raised in St. Louis and received an MFA in fiction from Columbia College Chicago. Hoffmann’s writing has appeared in Barely South Review, The Sun, Harpur Palate, The Roanoke Review, Booth, and Lunch Ticket. He is the winner of The Madison Review’s 2018 Chris O’Malley Prize for Fiction and a finalist for The Missouri Review’s 2019 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors Prize. He lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, with his wife and two children.
"A can’t-put-it-down novel that will live in readers' thoughts long after they finish reading.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
"Hoffmann’s debut is powerful.... The decisions [the characters] must make are gut-wrenching... The story takes turn after hairpin turn, moving into domestic suspense, that will have readers waiting with bated breath until the conclusion; even then, they’ll be left to wonder if there is more." —LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Hoffmann’s riveting debut is a high-stakes exploration of how far people will go to protect their family...A nail-biting examination of socioeconomic disparity and loyalty...[The] believable characters don’t disappoint, and [Hoffmann's] engrossing look at fraught issues piques. This sharp tale of heartache, loss, and redemption resonates." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Other People's Children is an engrossing debut about the different ways we find our way to parenthood and to the people we are meant to be. I loved these characters and was on the edge of my seat until the last page, hoping they'd find their happy endings." —LAURA DAVE, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Last Thing He Told Me
"Other People’s Children is a heartbreakingly dark, suspenseful exploration of the boundaries two women push to have a child. What I found most moving, however, were the tenuous relationships between the adult characters and their mothers. The story is a page turner, but the deeper insights about family will keep you thinking about this book for a long while." —CARA WALL, bestselling author of The Dearly Beloved, a "Read with Jenna" Book Club Selection