Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott [Book Review]

Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott, like Rosemary’s Baby, will leave you wondering who to trust! Read my thoughts on the new mystery novel.

Megan Abbott’s Beware the Woman seemed like a riveting mystery that develops slowly but eventually pays off. I hoped to get lost in the novel’s slow-building suspense, but I only gave it two stars out of five in the end – find out why.

What is the Book About?

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, Doctor Ash, in Michigan’s far-flung Upper Peninsula. The moment they arrive in the cozy cottage in the lush woods, Jacy feels bathed in love by the warm and hospitable Doctor 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. At the same time, whispers about Jed’s long-dead mother and complicated family history seem eerily to be impeding upon the present. As the days pass, 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? []

My Thoughts:

For the majority of the narrative, Beware the Woman moves at a deliberately sluggish pace. However, this book might be ideal for those who prefer a very slow and tense build. Personally, I was underwhelmed by the first half of the plot.

However, as the story progressed into the second half, the pace quickened, and I flipped page after page, eager to see how it all ended. As a reader, I was on the edge of my seat, worried for the main character. But, just as I became thoroughly engaged and invested in the plot, the story came to an abrupt and predictable end. It was disappointing at best.

Even though I wouldn’t say I liked the story overall, author Megan Abbott’s talent shines in this work. Her characters are engaging (and often purposefully annoying), and she manages to catch my imagination without resorting to over-the-top descriptions or over-detailed exposition. In the future, I plan to read more of the author’s work, and if the pacing hadn’t been so terrible, Beware the Woman could have been a home run.