The Push meets The Silent Patient in a gripping thriller that follows a woman convinced a sinister figure is going to great lengths to make sure her pregnancy never happens—while the men in her life refuse to believe a word she says.
Anna Alcott is desperate to be pregnant. But as she tries to balance her increasingly public life with a grueling IVF journey, she starts to suspect that someone is going to great lengths to make sure her pregnancy never happens. Crucial medicines are lost. Appointments get swapped without her knowledge. And even when she finally manages to get pregnant, not even her husband is willing to believe that someone’s playing a twisted game with her.
When the increasingly cryptic threats drive her out of her Brooklyn brownstone and into hiding in the cold, gray ghost town that is the Hamptons in the depths of winter, Anna is almost at the end of her rope.
Then her doctor tells her she’s had a miscarriage—except Anna’s convinced she’s still pregnant, despite everything the grave-faced men around her claim. Could it be that her mind is playing tricks on her? Or is something more sinister at play? As her symptoms become ever more horrifying and the sense of danger ever more present, Anna can’t help but wonder what exactly she’s carrying inside of her…and why no one will listen when she says something is horribly, painfully wrong.
Hi and welcome to my review of Delicate Condition!
First of all: whoa, that was intense! Goodness me, it’s a good thing I read those final 100 or so pages in the morning or I wouldn’t have slept all night!
To me, Delicate Condition felt very much like a Rosemary’s Baby for the 21st century, with the same eeriness, the same mystery, with the same central question: is-this-delusion-or-something-dark-and sinister-at-work?
For me, the thriller and horror aspects stand out, but Delicate Condition also offers an insightful and thought-provoking look at pregnancy and all its challenges, including difficulties to become pregnant in the first place, and the not always appropriate attitude of husbands and friends, as well as healthcare professionals.
Delicate Condition holds its cards incredibly close to its chest. Where would this story take me? I didn’t have the foggiest. And let me tell you, it was EXHILARATING! Of course we know the narrator, Anna, is at least somewhat unreliable, she is having hallucinations after all. But just how unreliable is she? Are we to believe her husband, her doctor, her friends, is she losing the plot? Or is she more in tune with her own body than she even dares to believe herself? Has she become entangled with a Satanic cult, or is she just having a tough pregnancy? Is she pregnant with a who? Or with a what?
Yikes, what a story! It starts on the slower side, but then the tension ramps up and meanwhile, I was kept in the dark, pondering all my questions. If work and life in general had allowed it, I would have binged it in a day. As it stands, I had about 20% left and promised myself I would start my day off by plonking myself in a chair and reading until I knew what was what. Which is exactly what I did, and what a perfect start to the day it was!
Delicate Condition is a suspenseful thriller with quite a bit of body horror involved and I just gobbled it up all the way to its satisfying conclusion. Recommended!
Delicate Condition is out now in digital formats, audio and hardcover.
Massive thanks to Viper Books for the digital proof. All opinions are my own.