Friday, 26 June 2020

Friday Fiction Feature: The Choice

Hi, I’m Claire Wade and I won the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition with my debut novel The Choice. A dystopian story that’s perfect for fans of VOX.

The Choice was The Times Audiobook of the Week and Good Housekeeping’s Book of the Month. 

Imagine a world where... 

Everything you ate was monitored by the government.

Every step you took was counted. 

Your children were weighed every day at school.

Neighbours reported on neighbours and no one was safe from judgement. 

Sugar was illegal, and baking was a crime. 

Imagine if that world was here... What would you do? 

Toe the line or fight for your freedom...

That's the decision Olivia Pritchard has to make in The Choice. Once a successful baker, she’s now lost her career and her passion. She’s lost and isolated, desperate to protect her two young children from the authoritarian government and its devout leader Mother Mason.

Mother Mason wants everyone to be healthy and happy, but her methods are extreme, with strict food rationing, enforced exercise classes and public shaming for anyone who refuses to follow the rules.

Readers have described The Choice as "1984" meets "The Great British Bake Off" and Christina Dalcher, author of VOX, said it’s “Big Brother meets Betty Crocker in this electrifying debut about a nanny state gone out of control. Take the day off, because you won’t be able to stop until the very end.”

I wrote The Choice because I love to bake, I find it really relaxing. I’d heard news reports that stated sugar might be addictive and I wondered what I would do if it was ever banned. What would the world be like? How would my life change? The story developed from there, but little did I realise that soon after my book was published, we'd all face flour shortages and food rationing. Life imitating art, though thankfully things are improving.

Over the course of the story, Olivia has to decide what truly matters to her and what she’s prepared to risk. She must confront her own fears and anxieties, but when there’s danger everywhere you turn, when friends and neighbours are watching your every move and a simple mistake can send you to the Shame Box, it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.

The Choice is published by Orion and available as a paperback, e-book and audiobook.

Author bio

Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition 2018. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn’t do what she wanted; her only escape was through her imagination. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she’s deeply familiar with.

Her favourite things are books, baking and the WI. She’s the founding president of a modern WI (Women’s Institute) and runs a baking club for other cake lovers. You’ll find her in her writing room, nicknamed Narnia because it’s also home to a wardrobe and is the place where she escapes to other worlds. She’s happiest if she’s got a slice of chocolate cake, a cup of tea and a good book.


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