Breaking news, here, folks. All book reviewers have bias. Chautona really doesn’t like first person – present tense. It makes her teeth itch. (I didn’t know that was a thing). Some reviewers don’t like all the feely-feels, and they want way more suspense than romance. Others want way more romance than suspense. But I have to confess, I was biased against Chosen People before I even turned a page. Or whatever the Kindle equivalent of page-turning is. Now, while you’re turning pages, make sure to read to the end of this review for the giveaway!
This page contains affiliate links – they don’t cost you a penny, but they sure help to pay off those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosure page. Also, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
3 Confessions of a Biased Reviewer
Confession #1: I almost didn’t sign up to review Chosen People
Let me ‘splain. Or as Inigo would say, let me sum up. My background is in Middle Eastern studies. My heart is for Christians to build better friendships with Muslims. I’ve been active in that space in the past, and my dream is to get involved again with organizations like Two Faiths, One Friendship when I finish paying off my student loans and my schedule is a little more flexible.
I love Jewish people and I love Muslim people. But when Christians talk about modern Israel, we tend to…make the complex too simple. There. That’s what it is. These are usually wonderful, loving, well-meaning people, and I love them a lot. Usually they just don’t have the right tools in their toolbox, because I’ve watched some of these people open their eyes and learn to love their Muslim neighbors over the course of just a few weeks in a class. But when they make the complex too simple, sometimes it gets in the way of building good relationships with Muslims OR Jews OR Christians from the Middle East. I’ve even seen some things in Christian fiction that made me cringe.
And so when I saw a title like Chosen People, well, you can guess what I thought. This was going to be another one of those. I didn’t want to sign up to review a book that I knew I would disagree with, so I didn’t sign up.
And then I got curious, and read the back cover copy. I saw that the leading lady was an Arab-Israeli (some people don’t realize those exist!), and I got curious. A story told from her perspective could go in some interesting directions. So against my better judgment, I signed up to review it.
Confession #2: Robert Whitlow “Got Me” at Least Twice
Did you get “gotten” by any gotchas around Halloween? I did. Not many. I don’t scare easily, and I don’t really do Halloween. But I logged into my OhmConnect account and something screamed I think. I was alone and just about jumped out of my skin.
But books don’t usually surprise me. I just…well, I read a lot, and I kind of know how the stories go. But this Whitlow guy that wrote Chosen People? He succeeded in making me go back and forth on whether one character was a “good guy…” and just when I had made up my mind one way, everything flipped around again.
As a suspense, it “got me,” and as a romance, it wasn’t what I expected. I think in a good way, though I’m still not sure if I wanted it to go a different way. I can’t say more without those icky spoilers. I will say this…the romance that did happen? I really liked most of the way it happened. It has a different flavor with all the cultural bits that come up in this book. It felt familiar in a good way to my Middle-Eastern-people-loving heart.
Confession #3: Chosen People was nothing like I expected.
Especially the treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He didn’t make the complex too simple. He didn’t swing to extremes that don’t leave room for the truth (or JESUS). He didn’t sweep things under the rug. He let the crunchy stuff be crunchy and real. Which is actually MY style (ask me about dark chocolate covered pretzels some time).
To my surprise, I have to recommend this book. If you like suspense, it’ll get you too. If you like romance, it’s there, but if you don’t, the romance element is not too thick or feely. But regardless of what you like to read, you should read this book because you’ll start to see the world through someone else’s eyes. And that, my friend, will make you a little more like Jesus, who stepped into our world, not just with his eyes, but with his whole being.
Also, I really loved eavesdropping on Hana’s prayer life. Just saying.
Chosen People is on tour with Celebrate Lit!
About the Book
Book: Chosen People
Author: Robert Whitlow
Genre: Legal Drama
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Bestselling author Robert Whitlow dives deep into the legal ramifications of a tragic event half a world away and how it affects two lawyers in Atlanta from vastly different backgrounds.
When Hana Abboud walked into the conference room, she was unprepared for the images of a horrific terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. But after watching a courageous mother sacrifice her life to save her four-year-old daughter, Hana knew she needed to help attorney Jakob Brodsky represent the family’s pursuit of justice against those who perpetrate acts of violent jihad. As an Arab Israeli lawyer trained at Hebrew University, Hana is uniquely qualified to step into the gap.
But they need a third partner, an investigator on the ground to help them unravel the snake pit of connections between the terrorists and an organization or company that can be sued in the American courts. Hana returns home to Israel and meets with investigator Hamid Hasan who quickly becomes more than a crucial part of the litigation team.
As Jakob and Hana investigate the case in the US, he is stalked on the streets of Atlanta by affiliates of a terrorist organization. Their pursuit of truth can only be resolved where it began: the streets of Jerusalem. But who can they trust? How deep does deceit go? Can two lawyers and a shadowy investigator impact the kind of violence and terror that has become common in our broken world?
Click here to purchase your copy!
About the Author
Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. Website: robertwhitlow.com, Twitter: @whitlowwriter, Facebook: robertwhitlowbooks
Guest Post from Robert
INSIDE THE STORY
Chosen People—a title that reflects both the Biblical designation for the Jewish nation as well as converted Christians—opens during a terrorist attack near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A courageous mother sacrifices her life to save her young daughter, leaving behind a grieving husband and a motherless child.
Whitlow’s many trips to Israel and his in-depth research into the culture and laws of the Holy City are evident throughout the story. Furthermore, his experience as a lawyer gives him keen insight into the mind of his main character Hanna Abboud, an Arab Christian Israeli lawyer working in Atlanta.
“This book provides a unique perspective to this region and its peoples through the eyes of an Arab Christian who believes that the faithfulness of God and truths of the Bible are unshakable realities,” says Whitlow. “This viewpoint is rarely expressed, yet it is one that needs and deserves to be heard so that it can become part of our framework for understanding this vital part of the world and the people who live there.”
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Bigreadersite, November 21
For The Love of Books, November 21
To celebrate his tour, HarperCollins is giving away a grand prize of three finished Robert Whitlow books (to be chosen by the publisher)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d73a/chosen-people-celebration-tour-giveaway
Chautona Havig says
I absolutely agree. I had serious issues with some of the writing aspects, but the STORY was awesome. And I called everything… and still got it wrong while getting it right as I got it wrong. So cool.
Honestly, the way he approached the subject and stuff made me like it so much better than I otherwise would have. It bumped it a star just for that.
Since you’ve read some of his other work, how did the writing style compare?