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A riveting debut novel about a couple whose dream of adopting a baby is shattered when the teenage mother reclaims her child.

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. But 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 escaping her mother’s home. When she discovers she’s pregnant, she agrees to give her baby to the Durbins. But Carli’s mother, Marla, has other plans for her grandbaby.

When Gail and Jon take baby Maya home, the love they feel for her is beyond their wildest dreams. But several days later, Carli reclaims her daughter. And when she does, the Durbins’ devastation is so complete, they make the drastic decision to keep Maya at any cost.

An engrossing tale about love and family as well as a suspenseful page-turner, Other People’s Children takes you on a wild ride to explore what really makes a family…and what lengths you’d be willing to go to protect yours.

Photograph © Amy McConnell

RJ Hoffmann was born and raised in St. Louis and received an MFA in fiction from Columbia College Chicago. Hoffmann’s writing has appeared in Barely South Review, The Sun, Harpur Palate, The Roanoke Review, Booth, and Lunch Ticket. He is the winner of The Madison Review’s 2018 Chris O’Malley Prize for Fiction, a finalist for The Missouri Review’s 2019 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors Prize, and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Elmhurst, Illinois, with his wife and two children.