Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott is a suspense novel that turns the age-old “woman in trouble” plot on its head.
I loved Abbott’s other bestseller, The Turnout. I learned from my favorite NPR book reviewer Maureen Corrigan that Abbot has a Phd in literature and that she wrote her dissertation on the figure of the macho “tough guy” in the mysteries of writers like Dashiell Hammett. Corrigan says, “Abbott is one smart dame when it comes to sussing out the sexism inherent in those mysteries that so many of us love.”
In so many suspense genres, it’s always the woman who is running in terror. In Abbott’s new book, maybe it’s the men who better get a move on.
The book opens with a 30-something pregnant woman named Jacy driving with her new husband, Jed, deep into the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They’re off to visit Jed’s widowed father, a retired physician.
The family cottage turns out to be grand and old-fashioned and is occupied by a caretaker, Mrs. Brandt, who halfway through the novel mutters to Jacy, “Maybe you should go home.”
There are lots of twists and turns. But, more importantly, this book explores the timely topic of women’s autonomy over their own bodies, especially during pregnancy.
Buckle in and enjoy this summer mystery in the comfort of your own summer cottage–or wherever you like to curl up and read.