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Florida Bar Journal

The Choices She Made

By Felicia Ferguson Book Reviews

The Choices She Made book coverLife presents a never-ending series of choices. Those made in our youth may affect us for years to come. In The Choices She Made (set for release October 18 by End Game Press), Felicia Ferguson weaves a compelling story about a teenager’s life-altering choice affecting not only her life path, but the very existence and well-being of her daughter.

Artfully told as a time-slip between the past and the present, Ferguson’s book presents the unexpected curve life throws at Madeline Williams when she is raped as a teenager. The perpetrator, John David Billings, the son of a wealthy and powerful rancher, would certainly be able to wriggle or buy his way out of any criminal charges and then ruin her father’s business, so Madeline keeps her assault a secret.

A second life curve results from this assault — an unexpected pregnancy. Madeline faces a series of decisions. Will she abort her baby? Will she place the child for adoption? Will she raise the child as a single parent? What will she tell her serious boyfriend, Bobby, who envisions their marriage following graduation? Rising to the occasion, Madeline maturely considers her options, confers with her father who has raised her as a single dad since her mother’s death, and gathers information on the various choices available.

Ultimately, Madeline puts the interest of her child above all else and elects to parent. She lies to Bobby about the circumstances leading to her pregnancy, and he breaks up with her. Intentionally, Madeline conceals the identity of her daughter’s father. Madeline moves away, earns a college degree, obtains a good job, and raises her child as a single parent. But her choices must eventually be addressed head-on.

Life curves are also thrown at adult Madeline. Her daughter, Georgia, now 13, receives a school assignment to create a family tree. The issue of Georgia’s paternity bubbles to the surface in more ways than simply the school assignment. Madeline learns John David will stand trial on charges of raping several women. Will she reveal what he did to her to help stop his continued criminal behavior? Will she tell Georgia her conception resulted from a rape? Have her life choices hurt her daughter?

A climactic courtroom battle plays out where Madeline must once more make life-altering choices. The reader is drawn into the anguishing decisions presented to Madeline. Will she testify in the hope of preventing John David from harming other women at the cost of blowing up her daughter’s world? What consequences will result from her choices made as a teenager?

Ferguson’s artful storytelling draws the reader in and tugs at their heartstrings while engaging their mind to ponder difficult choices. Lawyers will particularly be intrigued by the quandary adult Madeline faces. At what cost is seeing justice is done? The Choices She Made is available for pre-order on

Alice H. Murray of Valparaiso is a member of The Florida Bar.