Review | Woman on the Edge, Samantha M. Bailey

46640067._SY475_What if you’re on a subway platform and a total stranger hands you her baby then jumps in front of a train? It’s an incredibly tense concept, and one that hooked me immediately.

Woman on the Edge is a quick and exciting read. The first half was really strong, as the novel introduces us to the cast of characters. The woman who jumped turns out to be Nicole, a powerful CEO of a health and wellness organization who is haunted by the death of a baby in her care twenty years ago. The woman who receives the baby is Morgan, a social worker whose husband defrauded the women’s shelter she founded then died by suicide. Morgan doesn’t remember ever meeting Nicole before, yet Nicole has named her the legal guardian of her baby, Quinn.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Nicole has been the subject of harassment by a red-haired woman for years, and that the harassment has started up again and intensified ever since Quinn was born. A red-haired woman also begins stalking Morgan, at one time almost running her over, and Morgan must solve the mystery behind Nicole’s death in order to protect her own life and the life of Nicole’s child. It’s a gripping thriller, told in alternating chapters between Nicole and Morgan’s points of view, and like Nicole and Morgan, it’s hard to know whom to trust.

Unfortunately, the momentum flags a bit as the story approaches its conclusion. The latter half of the book doesn’t really reveal a lot of surprising information, and the red herrings aren’t quite developed enough for any of the potential villains to really have an impact. The last few chapters are a series of reveals that felt a bit too cursory to really make an impact, and felt a bit more like an info dump than anything.

The big reveal about the villain was also disappointing. Their motivation was explained, but it fell flat given how strong the story had started and how rich Nicole’s backstory had been. The villain’s actions also didn’t quite make sense given the rest of the story; I wish there had been more hints earlier on about what they were up to. Overall, it felt more like a need to tie up loose ends than a natural outcome of events.

Still, the first half is super strong, the hook is killer, and the bits about postpartum depression and mental health are sobering. I also like how real the connection between Morgan and Nicole turns out to be, and how much a minor encounter can result in a genuine connection between two strangers.

+

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

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