Hush little baby, don’t say a word…
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK!
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…Mama’s going to show you the horrors she’s endured.
Anna Alcott is desperate to have a family. But as she tries to balance her increasingly public life as an indie actress with a grueling IVF journey, she starts to suspect that someone is going to great lengths to make sure that never happens. Crucial medicines are lost. Appointments get swapped without her knowledge. Cryptic warnings have her jumping at shadows. And despite everything she’s gone through to make this pregnancy a reality, not even her husband is willing to believe that someone is playing twisted games with her.
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. She can feel the baby moving inside her, can see the strain it’s taking on her weakening body. Vague warnings become direct threats as someone stalks her through the bleak ghost town of the snowy Hamptons. As her symptoms and sense of danger grow ever more horrifying, 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.
Dreams of motherhood turn to nightmares in this unflinching adult debut from the pseudonymous Valentine (YA author Danielle Vega, the Merciless series). Anna Alcott, 39, is preparing to wind down her moderately successful acting career as she and her husband begin a third, last-ditch round of IVF. Then her latest movie unexpectedly hits big, and Anna finds herself campaigning for an Oscar while juggling a torturous medical regimen. When Anna nearly misses her egg retrieval surgery due to a calendar app typo, she blames her hectic schedule. Then the details of her embryo transfer appointment change even as she's looking at her calendar, and she begins to fear that someone is stalking her. Anna succeeds in getting pregnant, but after her Brooklyn apartment is broken into while she's napping, she and her husband decamp to snowy, deserted Southampton, Long Island. Her stalker continues tormenting her, however, leaving messages and voodoo dolls in Anna's path. As she develops harrowing symptoms including hair loss and hallucinations that her husband and obstetrician dismiss, she fears for both her baby's safety and her own sanity. The book's length and madcap denouement diminish the visceral urgency of the first-person narrative, but Valentine successfully mines pregnancy's horrors for dramatic effect while condemning condescension toward, and ignorance of, women's struggles with fertility and childbearing. It adds up to a fiercely feminist millennial heir to Rosemary's Baby. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners.