November 26, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

It’s One Of Us By J.T. Ellison Tackles Infertility, Real-Life Unethical Donor Clinics- Review

It’s One Of Us By J.T. Ellison Summary

I think I’m going to start giving summaries more often. I rarely have before, but I think it might be for the best. Here is the summary for J.T. Ellison’s It’s One Of Us.

Everybody lies. Even the ones you think you know best of all . . .

Olivia Bender designs exquisite home interiors that satisfy the most demanding clients. But her own deepest desire can’t be fulfilled by marble counters or the perfect rug. She desperately wants to be a mother. Fertility treatments and IVF keep failing. And just when she feels she’s at her lowest point, the police deliver shocking news to Olivia and her husband, Park.

DNA results show that the prime suspect in a murder investigation is Park’s son. Olivia is relieved, knowing this is a mistake. Despite their desire, the Benders don’t have any children. Then comes the confession. Many years ago, Park donated sperm to a clinic. He has no idea how many times it was sold—or how many children he has sired.

As the murder investigation goes deeper, more terrible truths come to light. With every revelation, Olivia must face the unthinkable. The man she married has fathered a killer. But can she hold that against him when she keeps such dark secrets of her own?

This twisting, emotionally layered thriller explores the lies we tell to keep a marriage together–or break each other apart . . .


Women Authors, Issues, And Psychological Thrillers

J.T. Ellison is pretty extraordinary. I was crying during the author’s note at the end. There is an important point in it. Women authors are to be commended for using this space and genre to explore and process so many women’s issues. Ones that aren’t discussed, are whispered about in the shadows, ones that leave women to emotionally fend for themselves. That is what Ellison did with It’s One Of Us. Ellison took the pain from her own infertility and processed it through her work. I have cats, not kids (and at 45 it’ll stay that way). So, I don’t want to pretend that I can fathom the struggles of infertility. However, I have been impacted by, and understand the fight for women to rule over their own bodies.

Here are three others (of quite a few) that took on these topics with grace, and still delivered on the psychological thriller.


Hank Phillip Ryan’s The First To Lie- Men, Women, Families Messing Around With Choice

The First To Lie By Hank Phillippi Ryan

The Swap by Robyn Harding- I Think The Meme Says It

It's One Of Us

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin- Rape, Reputation, and Class

Not to make light of anything, but I believe Ellison pretty much expressed this exact meme(Minus the Cancer analogy).


It’s One Of Us and “Our Father”

While handling the emotional trauma of infertility, Ellison deftly weaves an issue straight from the headlines. The Netflix documentary Our Father and this article from Time Magazine go in-depth about a doctor that unethically uses his own sperm to have 94 children (at the time the article was published). He lied to women who thought they were being impregnated by their husbands or an anonymous donor. In It’s One Of Us, Ellison doesn’t use a doctor to bring this plot point to life. I won’t say how she did because of spoilers. But together, these two issues bring an emotional depth to the story.

J.T. Ellison

Don’t Forget The Psychological Thriller

J.T. Ellison, in the middle of these high-stakes, emotional inflictions, delivers a psychological thriller that does not end in the way you think or hope. It isn’t cheap, there aren’t any ploys. It is a whiplash-inducing, rollercoaster ride. When you take one donor, a multitude of children (one of which is a killer), you up the ante ten-fold. And of course, that is just the beginning. There are layers of mysteries that compound in their damage, cause a cascading domino effect, and leave readers blindsided.


Final Thoughts About J.T. Ellison’s It’s One Of Us

  1. The structure is pretty phenomenal. And while I can understand (it was for me) a little confusing at first, once you grab on, it sinks its teeth into you. There is the expected point of view; such as the wife, the father, the brother, and the son. But then there are the detectives and … the murderer.
  2. The character development is phenomenal. No matter the issues tackled, or the plot set-up, if the characters aren’t worth the time, neither is the story. They are each complicated, struggling, and raw in their own way. Some may seem to just be struggling, without fault. That is where the psychological thriller really kicks in.
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