Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey
4/19/22; 336 pages
Simon & Schuster
Watch Out for Her by Samantha M. Bailey is a recommended domestic psychological thriller.
Sarah and Daniel Goldman have just moved across the country from
Vancouver to her husband Daniel’s hometown of Toronto. The move
was made to get as far away from their nanny, Holly Monroe, as
possible. Holly's stepmother and father set
up the job as babysitter for Holly, a 22 year-old medical student.
The family adored her as did 6-year-old Jacob, until Sarah saw something that made her
change her mind, something bad enough to send her family moving
across the country. When Sarah finds hidden cameras in their new
house, she is sure Holly placed them there to spy on them. Sarah,
who has a difficult time trusting people, had nanny cameras set up
at their home in Vancouver and she actually took pictures of Holly while
watching her at home through a window.
Tension does build incrementally as the details in the plot unfold, creating suspense. Chapters alternate between the point of view of present day Sarah and Holly in the past. Sarah's chapters cover what is happening to torment her and her family now while Holly's cover what happened that led then to move. Readers won't know exactly what Sarah saw that was so awful they had to move until later in the novel. The alternating chapters work in this novel to propel the narrative forward and I did keep reading to the major twist at the end.
Both women are keeping secrets from each other as well as
others. Neither Sarah nor Holly are particularly likable appealing
which does make it a challenge to keep reading at times. They are
both suspicious and prone to doubts, fears, and obsessions. For me this
is an enjoyable but average domestic thriller.
Several things didn't ring true at the start of this novel. The obvious question is what 22 year-old med student would agree to babysit a normal, healthy 6 year-old for the summer? Even if daddy wanted to encourage it because he liked Daniel, it seemed simply inane. And then saying it would be a good addition to a resume is even more absurd. Snap out of it, Holly. Just say no, tell your evil stepmom that she can babysit, and I'm sure you could get a real job. And if daddy Monroe really owned pharmaceutical firm, why would he want his daughter who is supposed to join the family business to be a nanny even if evil stepmom wanted it? This is a totally unbelievable plot point but it is essential for the premise of the novel. There are a couple other details in the plot that will have careful readers rolling their eyes.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.