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?
The book spends much of its time trapped in the drowsy, malevolent bardo of its heroine’s increasingly sinister confinement, every hour a slow drip of impending calamity ... In a genre that can be numbingly formulaic and indifferently composed, she remains a masterful builder of mood, her voluptuous prose heavy with sex and weather. But as Jacy dithers and stalls in the July heat, so does the story, even as it wends toward the feverish, improbable rush of its climax. Woman, beware; these are the signs you were looking for.
Another knockout ... 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.
Spine-tingling ... Abbott expertly foreshadows the wrenching family secrets that are exposed in a ferocious finale. Sinewy prose and note-perfect pacing make this a masterful and provocative deep dive into desire, love, and gender politics. Readers will be left breathless.