REVIEW: Watch Out For Her by Samantha Bailey
Watch Out for Her is a psychological thriller by Canadian author Samantha Bailey. At the heart of it is Holly, a young woman desperate for a family that loves her, and Sarah, who hires Holly to be a nanny to her six-year-old boy so that she can focus on her photography during the days while her husband is at work. Holly is enamoured with Sarah’s family and willing to do anything to become a part of it. When she catches Sarah’s husband in some lies, she confronts him, learns his secret, and sets out to do the unthinkable in order to fix his problems. Sarah finds out what Holly does, but not why, and, horrified by her babysitter’s actions, moves her family across the country to get away from her. The story is then told in a back and forth format, with chapters from Holly’s point of view telling the story leading up to the move, and chapters in Sarah’s point of view telling the story after the move. While I enjoyed the dual points of view going backward and forward in time, I was confused as to why Holly’s was written in third person and Sarah’s in first. I found it a bit jolting to switch from third person to first person, back and forth throughout the novel.
Holly’s character is relatable – her mother died and her father uses her as a lure for male clients, leaving her longing for real family bonds . She wants to please her father and does whatever she has to do to secure backers for his company. Sarah is a little less relatable, over-reacting to the “thing” she discovers Holly did, while very much under-reacting to the fact that her husband has a shed that she is forbidden to enter. I don’t know of any real-life wives who would be okay with that, knowing her husband must be hiding something and not caring.
The strange things taking place after Sarah and her family move from Toronto to Vancouver create great suspense and hold the reader’s interest, but the climax scene was a little cliche in my opinion, and the big reveal a bit too unbelievable. The story itself is enjoyable enough, though the writing seemed often to be the opposite of “show, don’t tell”.
I thank Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the ARC. Watch Out for Her releases April 26, 2022.