Beware the Woman
By: Megan Abbott
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam,
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: 05/30/2023
My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)
By the "master of thinly veiled secrets often kept by women who rage underneath their delicate exteriors" (Kirkus Reviews), Beware the Woman is Megan Abbott at the height of her game.
Honey, I just want you to have everything you ever wanted. That’s what Jacy’s mom always told her. And Jacy felt like she finally did. Newly married and with a baby on the way, Jacy and her new husband, Jed, embark on their first road trip together to visit his father, Dr. Ash, in Michigan’s far-flung Upper Peninsula. The moment they arrive at the cottage snug within the lush woods, Jacy feels bathed in love by the warm and hospitable Dr. Ash, if less so by his house manager, the enigmatic Mrs. Brandt.
But their Edenic first days take a turn when Jacy has a health scare. Swiftly, vacation activities are scrapped, and all eyes are on Jacy’s condition. Suddenly, whispers about Jed’s long-dead mother and complicated family history seem to eerily impinge upon the present, and Jacy begins to feel trapped in the cottage, her every move surveilled, her body under the looking glass. But are her fears founded or is it paranoia, or cabin fever, or—as is suggested to her—a stubborn refusal to take necessary precautions? The dense woods surrounding the cottage are full of dangers, but are the greater ones inside?
In Megan Abbott's latest spine-chilling thriller, BEWARE THE WOMAN, a newly married woman, pregnant, meets her husband's family, which takes a terrifying turn in a sinister game of cat-and-mouse.
"Beware of the man who wants to protect you; he will protect you from everything but himself."—Erica Jong
Jacy is married with a baby on the way. Jed, her husband, decides they will take a road trip to meet his eccentric father, Doctor Ash.
Off they go to Michigan's Iron Mountain, deep into the forest. At first, Jacy is excited about meeting her father-in-law in this secluded cabin in the woods.
Then soon, things take a menacing, sinister turn—no cell phone reception or WiFi. Doctor Ash is acting strange and very protective of the baby. Then there is the house manager, Mrs. Brandt, who is loyal to the family, enigmatic, and creepy. Jed is aso acting wierd.
Dr. Ash is creepy, old school, and controlling, and he appears to be grieving for his lost wife (who died during Jed's birth) 30 years ago. Mrs. Brandt gives Jacy suspicious vibes, as well as their family friend, Mr. Hicks.
Jacy has a health scare and learns about Jed's mother. Their family history is dark and complex. Jacy wants to leave, but they are holding her prisoner.
She is trapped, and her husband is acting strange. She is in danger, as is the baby she is carrying. The experience turns into a terrifying nightmare.
The novel is told over nine days, a slow burn, locked-room creepy mystery, claustrophobic, with feminism, Rosemary's Baby/Get Out vibes, gaslighting, and chauvinism old school. One highly dysfunctional family!
Haunting, unsettling, and disturbing— Abbott sets the mood with a dark foreboding, creepy cabin in the middle of nowhere in the forest and scary characters. When you are pregnant, you are vulnerable, and emotions are running high. You want to maintain control, and here she has no support.
This book is a cross between psychological and horror, and the ending is open-ended— for fans of Joyce Carol Oats and Jennifer McMahon.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars rounded to 4
Pub Date: May 30, 2023
One of LitHub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023
One of CrimeReads’ Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2023
One of Paste Magazine’s Most Anticipated Thrillers of 2023
One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Summer Reads 2023
"Another knockout performance…Abbott is an accomplished storyteller…and this is one of her most compelling and well-constructed novels. A real treat for the author's many fans and for everyone who treasures that sense of Gothic-tinged trouble both within and without. Think Rebecca in the UP. Abbott was once a cult favorite, but those times are long gone. She's a crime-fiction A-lister now."
–Booklist (starred review)
"With this bewitchingly creepy tale, thriller queen Megan Abbott keeps readers questioning whether this family getaway is the stuff of anxiety dreams or Bluebeard nightmares."
"Abbott masterfully uses the pretext of a pregnant woman’s heightened senses…to build a claustrophobic atmosphere of mistrust and insecurity reminiscent of Get Out. You’re sure to get chills. An unsettling, nightmare-inducing morsel from a master of suspense."
"[A] spine-tingling suspense…Manipulating the sense of menace like a virtuoso violinist, Abbott expertly foreshadows the wrenching family secrets that are exposed in a ferocious finale. Sinewy prose and note-perfecting pacing make this a masterful and provocative deep dive into desire, love, and gender politics. Readers will be left breathless.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Beware the Woman is Megan Abbott at her best, which is about as good as it gets. A modern-day Gothic, it is chilling and creepy, feverish and surreal, and compulsively readable."
—Laura Lippman, author of Prom Mom
"Megan Abbott can do no wrong. Stunningly twisty, Beware the Woman so deftly holds some of the most pressing feminist issues of our time in an eerie, ominous grip. Bodily autonomy, reproduction, patriarchal power—this thriller feels terrifyingly of the moment, and perhaps that’s where the truest horror lies."
—Ashley Audrain, author of The Push
"Is there anyone like Megan Abbott? Beware the Woman is the work of a fearless cartographer of the darkest, seediest, most gloriously haunted landscapes of the human heart and psyche."
—Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog
"Beware the Woman proves yet again why Megan Abbott is a literary rock star. Feverish, razor sharp, and pulsing with dread, it's a tale both timeless and terrifyingly of-the-moment."
—Riley Sager, author of The House Across the Lake
About the Author
Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of eleven novels, including New York Times bestseller The Turnout, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Give Me Your Hand, You Will Know Me, The Fever, Dare Me, and The End of Everything. She received her PhD in literature from New York University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Guardian, and The Believer. She's the cocreator and executive producer of USA's adaptation of Dare Me, now on Netlfix, and was a staff writer on HBO's David Simon show The Deuce. Abbott lives in New York City. WEBSITE