Category Archives: Other People’s Children

Review: Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann

Title: Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Three mothers facing impossible choices learn what makes a family, and discover just how far they’ll go to protect the ones they love.

What makes a family?

Gail and Jon Durbin moved to the Chicago suburbs to set up house as soon as Gail got pregnant. But then she miscarried—once, twice, three times. Determined to expand their family, the Durbins turn to adoption. When several adoptions fall through, Gail’s desire for a child overwhelms her.

Carli is a pregnant teenager from a blue-collar town nearby, with dreams of going to college and getting out of her mother’s home. When she makes the gut-wrenching decision to give her baby up for adoption, she chooses the Durbins. But Carli’s mother, Marla, has other plans for her grandbaby.

In Other People’s Children, three mothers make excruciating choices to protect their families and their dreams—choices that put them at decided odds against one another. You will root for each one of them and wonder just how far you’d go in the same situation. This riveting debut is a thoughtful exploration of love and family, and a heart-pounding page-turner you’ll find impossible to put down.


Other People’s Children by R.J. Hoffmann is an un-put-downable novel that is an emotional journey of one couple’s attempt to start a family.

Gail and Jon Durbin’s quest for a family has been absolutely heartbreaking following repeat miscarriages. They turn to adoption but so far, they have been unsuccessful. Unbeknownst to Jon, Gail agrees for the adoption coordinator, social worker Paige, to give their “book” to unwed teenage mom to be Carli Brennan. Following an anguishing, longer than usual wait, Paige and Jon are nervous but thrilled that Carli wants to meet them. After another seemingly interminable amount of time, Carli selects them to adopt her baby after she gives birth.

Gail is involved with going to Carli’s appointments and getting to know her so she is a little nervous but mostly confident that they will soon be parents. Before Jon and Gail leave the hospital, Paige worries that Carli’s dominating mother, Marla, is going to be a problem. With a 72 hour wait until Carli signs away her rights to her baby forever, Jon and Gail fall in love with their new baby. How will they react if the adoption does not go through?

As soon as Gail becomes pregnant the first time, she and Jon move to the suburbs in preparation for their expanding family. The repeated miscarriages take their toll on their marriage and they sometimes feel excluded by their new neighbors who all have children. They are also under pressure by the weight of their families’ expectations for them to have a baby. Gail tries to temper her hope for the upcoming adoption but it impossible not envision a future with their soon to be adopted baby.

Jon suggested starting a family but he has not been honest with anyone about his fears about fatherhood. His childhood was less than ideal for several years, and he is afraid of the possibility of history repeating itself. So, Jon is absolutely stunned by how quickly his deepening feelings for the baby begin to overpower some of his anxiety. Jon is broadsided by the possibly that Carli can change her mind about giving up her baby since Gail has been taking care of the adoption process.

With heart-wrenching twists and poignant turns, Other People’s Children is a compelling debut that provides an insightful look inside the heartache of infertility and uncertainty of adoption. The characters are realistically developed and come from different walks of life  with very different socio-economic backgrounds. Carli’s decision to give up her baby is fraught since she knows first-hand what it is like to grow up with financial insecurity and an indifferent, abusive parent. With unexpected decisions by both families, R.J. Hoffmann brings this riveting novel to an edge of the seat, tension-filled conclusion. I very much enjoyed and highly recommend this incredible story.

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Filed under Contemporary, Other People's Children, Rated B+, Review, RJ Hoffmann, Simon & Schuster Inc, Women's Fiction