Beware the Woman is a fictional novel by Meg Abott published in 2023. Jed and Jacy met and got married within months. They’ve been married a short while when they take their first trip to his childhood home. As they get closer to the house, Jed appears to change. Slowly, Jacy gets to learn why and the family secrets that are buried deep. In just nine days, the life that the couple has built is completely upended, and she must survive multiple threats to protect her life and that of her unborn child.
This book is a fictional novel with elements of horror, thriller, and mystery.
Jed’s father, Dr. Ash, seems like the perfect parent, a loving father, and a widower. He lives alone in an isolated location, with only Mr.s Brandt nearby as a caretaker; she lives in a cottage on the property. There is no cell signal on the property, so the only way that Jacy can keep in touch with her mom is via the landline. When she begins to feel trapped, suspicious of Dr. Ash, and worried about her safety and that of her unborn child, she acutely feels that isolation. She needs to find a way to safely escape. But are there any allies that she can count on?
Beware the Woman has a lot of foreshadowing. There is some imagery that I think could have meaning, but I don’t know what. It’s like this book is trying too hard to be smart, like an escape room with one too many locks. I feel like I’m supposed to want to talk about it, to figure it out, but I found that the story dragged on a bit. In the end, I’m too exhausted from some of the repetition to want to go back and figure anything out.
Am I missing something in this book that captivated you? There is certainly suspense, but I found the development slow. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Jed and Jacy are heading to visit Dr. Ash in Jed’s childhood home. Jed hasn’t been back in over a decade and seems to change, getting tenser as they get closer. He and Jacy have some strange conversations, where he seems to be suggesting that they should head back home rather than continuing the drive, but he tells her that she is dreaming.
At Jed’s childhood home, Dr. Ash seems benevolent. Jacy is surprised to realize how close Jed and his father are. Dr. Ash appears very welcoming, and he and Jacy get along very well at first. They spend time together while Jed reconnects with some old friends.
When Jed tells Jacy that he thinks his father deliberately distracted him to cause a fishing injury when he was young, she finds it hard to believe. However, after they go to the local doctor because she was bleeding, and Dr. Ash learns about her prior abortion, he gets distant. Based on some of his comments about women, Jacy becomes afraid and wants to go home. That’s difficult because Dr. Ash, the local doctor, and Jed are all against that idea because of a possible complication with her pregnancy. While her regular doctor says that there is little cause for concern, the local doctor recommends bedrest. Jacy feels that she is always being watched and in danger, and is desperate to escape.
In conversations with her mother, Jacy shares her concerns. Her mother urges her to leave and buys her a ticket. However, once Jacy sets her plan in motion to leave, and contacts her mom about the plane ticket, she finds out that her mom has cancelled the ticket. Dr. Ash had contacted her and explained that Jacy needed rest. He also revealed that Jacy had had an abortion in the past, which upset her mom. She felt betrayed that Jacy never shared that information with her.
The Ending of Evil Eye
Jacy was determined to find a way to escape. She planned to escape when the men left to go hunting for a mountain lion that they thought was nearby. Dr. Ash left Mrs. Brandt, the caretaker in charge of her, but Mrs. Brandt encouraged her to leave, giving her directions to escape and get help.
Jacy did not get far before Dr. Ash saw her and started shooting at her. Jacy ran to Mrs. Brandt’s cottage. To her surprise, she found that. Dr. Ash’s wife was there, on life support. Dr. Ash thought she was in a facility but Mrs. Brandt, who’d been her best friend, kept her close. Mrs. Brandt told Jacy the story of how Dr. Ash had induced her to get Jed out and let her bleed out. She never recovered after that. Mrs. Brandt didn’t want the same thing to happen to Jacy and her baby, and that’s why she was helping her.
When Dr. Ash comes to the cottage, he demands that Jacy come outside, but Mrs Brandt invites him inside instead. He’s shocked to find his wife there and his biggest worry is that Jed should never know.
Mrs. Brandt urged Jacy to leave, giving her the car keys. Before she could get to the car, Dr. Ash shot the tires. Mrs. Brandt threatened him with an air gun, but he shot her before she could do anything with it. When he tried to shoot Jacy, the gun jammed. She got the air gun. and started shooting him, but then Jed shot him with a handgun.
Seeing scattered pieces of the photos that Mrs. Brandt had taken of him over the years every day on his birthday, Jed went into the cottage. Through the window, Jacy watched him meet his mother. But she needed to get help so she took Dr. Ash’s keys from his pocket and ran back to the house to get the car.
When Jacy got to the car, she saw two mountain lion cubs underneath. The men had told her that meant the mother was nearby. She didn’t have enough time to escape before the lioness started to attack. Jacy held a rifle in her arm but didn’t want to shoot. She dropped the rifle with her eyes locked on the lioness, and the lioness left with her cubs instead of attacking.
Just as the lioness leaves, Mrs Brandt’s ex-husband, Hick, shows up in a truck with Mrs. Brandt in the backseat, shouting at her, “Let’s go.” Jed stayed behind with his mother while Dr. Ash remained outside sprawled in the mud. As they rush with Mrs. Brandt to the hospital, Jacy holds Mrs. Brandt’s hand, repeating, “It’s going to be okay”.
On day two, I wrote in my notes for this book “What’s up? I hope it’s not a dead wife”. 😆
Beware the Woman takes its name from the following:
“I always told Jed, beware the woman,” he said, looking at me, shaking his head. “Keep her close, with one eye open. They’re pretty as a picture at first, but when they turn, boy, do they turn.”Night Nine
- What is the obsession with the mountain lion?
- What is with the hidden pasties?
That was when I saw something else, shining. A foil-wrapped pasty. Mrs. Brandt must’ve left it for me, I thought. Maybe it should have felt odd, but it didn’t.
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