cover image A Million Little Choices

A Million Little Choices

Tamera Alexander. Focus on the Family, $15.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-6460-7055-8

Alexander (With This Pledge) spins a propulsive tale of marital infidelity and a historical Southern home overrun with secrets. Claire Powell’s marriage has been on the rocks since her lawyer husband admitted to a “near-affair” several months earlier, and when he accepts a law partnership in Atlanta, the two move down south from their home in Denver in an effort to salvage the marriage. Problems proliferate when they end up in an antebellum mansion that Claire hates, however: she’s uneasy that the house is located on a former plantation, and it’s too big for just the two. Things take a turn for the worse when Stephen is unfaithful with the same woman, and Claire finds herself contemplating divorce. One day while smashing wedding photo frames with a hammer, Claire tears through the wall and discovers a hidden room; in it she finds the diary of Charlotte Thursmann, the Civil War–era wife of the house’s abusive owner. As Claire reads, she quickly becomes invested in Charlotte and an enslaved woman named Nettie as the two attempt to flee Atlanta via the Underground Railroad. Inspired by the women’s faith, Claire is compelled to rethink her own notions of trust, marriage, and forgiveness. The portrait of Stephen and Claire’s relationship is nuanced and complex, and despite some of Claire’s awkward musings on the house’s past (“Shadows draping the bedroom walls seemed to beckon, and I felt the presence of the enslaved”), the vividly rendered Civil War thread adds depth to her story. The result is a heartfelt commentary on faith and the redemptive power of forgiveness. (Nov.)