by Danielle Valentine
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Pub Date 01 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 29 Sep 2023
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark
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 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.
"Delicate Condition is the feminist update to Rosemary's Baby we all needed―a twisty, page-turner with unsettling details and crackling writing that's also a timely critique of sexism in modern medicine." ―Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Never Here
"A timely, terrifying, heartfelt thriller. I devoured it in one sitting." ―Chris Whitaker, bestselling author of We Begin at the End
"A frightening, propulsive read brimming with brutal truths about motherhood, autonomy, and the everyday horror of not being believed. This twisty horror thriller will have you guessing until the staggering end." ―Rachel Harrison, National Bestselling author of Cackle and Such Sharp Teeth
"A propulsive modern update on classic horror with a clever ending that lets no one off the hook." ―Anne Heltzel, author of Just Like Mother
"Heartbreakingly visceral, eerie and intense, reading Delicate Condition is feeling, with every new turn of the page, what it’s like for your body to no longer be your own. A masterful musing on the horrors of pregnancy, loss and what it means to be a woman when the medical world fails you. A spooky, devour-in-one-sitting story that’s guaranteed to have everyone talking." ―Leah Konen, author of You Should Have Told Me
"A visceral rallying cry against the horrors of medical gaslighting, our culture's indifference to birthing people's pain, and the complete terror of creating and sustaining life―Delicate Condition is beautifully written, unbearably tense, and deeply scary. A modern fairy tale that asks what we'd be willing to sacrifice for the thing we want most. Danielle Valentine will sit on my shelf beside Julia Fine, Jessamine Chan, and Rachel Yoder--writers who remind us of the monster inside every mother." ―Katie Gutierrez, bestselling author of More Than You’ll Ever Know
"Both disturbing and unrelentingly captivating, Delicate Condition grabbed me and didn't let go until its final page." ―Darcy Coates, USA Today bestselling author
"What a thrilling, visceral read. So dark, and very fast paced." ―Heather Darwent, author of The Things We Do to Our Friends
"An absolute cracker of a read, one to be read by all women, everywhere. I could not put it down." ―Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me
"Pitch black horror meets smart psychological thriller in this fantastically moreish debut. I devoured it, feeling simultaneously sick and thrilled. And that ending... just perfect." ―SJI Holliday, author of The Deaths of December
"Fabulously original. A deeply unsettling read that plays on women's darkest fears of pregnancy." ―Gemma Rogers, author of The Secret
"Both a scathing indictment of the treatment of women by medical professionals and a breathless thriller, Delicate Condition paints an unyielding and heart-wrenching portrait of pregnancy that reaches like a clawed hand inside your chest. I could not put it down."
"So many reader emotions, I didn't know who to trust; if anyone! Delicate Condition is a thriller, a horror, a mystery and it's lingering in my mind, an aftereffect of a chilling read!" ―J.M. Hewitt, author of The Life She Wants
"Both a scathing indictment of the treatment of women by medical professionals and a breathless thriller, Delicate Condition paints an unyielding and heart-wrenching portrait of pregnancy that reaches like a clawed hand inside your chest. I could not put it down." ―Katrina Monroe, author of Graveyard of Lost Children
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 208 members
DELICATE CONDITION was literally a one-session read as I stayed up late absolutely determined to reach the end, because I knew I could not sleep without knowing!
What a compelling and engrossing story; it practically read itself. If I had read a print copy, I surely would have paper burns from the speed of turning Pages!
In addition to being a chronicle of a woman's progress through infertility, IVF, pregnancy, marital stress, cyberstalking [as victim, not perpetrator], labor, incredible events, tremendous suffering, and character evolution, it also riffs on the historical background of establishment medicine's approach to (and disregard) of female patients [some of the historical background will turn your stomach and infuriate].
Early on I suddenly flashbacked to my various reads of ROSEMARY'S BABY and to the prevalent 80's Paperback Horror trend of stories of pregnancy, childbirth, birth trauma. Yet this story is very modern and very Feminist while remaining rooted in the failures of earlier times.
Delicate Condition—Danielle Valentine
On the surface, Anna Victoria Alcott seems to have finally achieved it all: a perfect marriage, great friends, and a successful acting career. But deep down is a gaping emptiness taking over Anna’s life that she’s desperate to fill by having a baby. Her and Dex have been trying for years but all attempts have been unsuccessful. But Anna knows this time the IVF will take, that they will finally both get what they’ve always wanted. They have to. She has to.
And just when it seems like she’s finally getting her wish, life decides to rip the star she wished on right out of the sky. A miscarriage—but how when she can still feel something inside her? How, when she still gets weird cravings and experiences all the pregnancy symptoms? Does Anna want this enough to imagine it all, or is there something more sinister at play—like perhaps a Satanic cult that wants her baby to he the spawn of the devil himself?
Well I can safely say that I’m NEVER having kids after reading this book! Valentine turned pregnancy into an absolute nightmare. Think Rosemary’s Baby but if it was Jennifer Check who was pregnant—literal nightmare fuel! I was hooked from the first page. All the blood, the hallucinations, and the conspiracies sucked me straight in like a Reddit rabbit hole that I needed to fall all the way out of. Then there was the bloody hospital scene, the raccoon at the pool, and the teeth/blood/hair fiasco—all of which were fantastically written and played out like a horror movie. This was a definite win for me and should be for all horror lovers everywhere!
I am utterly blown away by the intense feelings I experienced from reading this book! It was frighteningly compelling yet raw and visceral. It gave me the creeps but was so beautifully written. I was completely transfixed! All of Anna's grief and paranoia I felt like it was my own. I felt like I was going insane. It angers me how the physical and mental health of a woman was always downplayed and still is at times. We were just considered "hysterical". The author's note at the end was an added explanation and personal confession detailing this more. It broke my heart. Don't skip it!
I really enjoyed how the author gave no real explanation until the end. There were a few different female POVs intermingled with Anna's throughout the story that touched lightly on the plot, but nothing substantial. It only led me to wonder more and try to piece everything together. Not going to lie! I was going to pass on this until I read somewhere that it was the basis of AHS season 12. So glad that I saw that and gave this book a shot! I highly recommend! You will not be able to put this one down!
Thank you to the author, SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, and NetGalley for allowing me digital access in exchange for my honest review!
Thank you so much to NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review. Honestly, I loved it! It’s probably my favorite book of the year so far. Now, I know this book won’t be for everyone. It is horror, it’s gross, it gets a bit wacky and there are a lot of trigger warnings. Miscarriage, infertility, IVF, pregnancy body horror etc. But, the writing just spoke to me in a big way! I was bawling my eyes out at parts and nodding my head in agreement throughout. The bigger commentary going on about women’s pain being minimized, especially during pregnancy, women not being taken seriously or listened too and instead being called hysterical or maybe even a witch back in the day. There is a big Rosemary’s Baby feel throughout the book and so much suspense. A bit of an unreliable narrator too. The authors note at the end is worth getting the book just for that. It was brilliant! As someone who had unexplained infertility and now perimenopause, I have had my fair share of doctors not taking me seriously and minimizing my symptoms and I got so much out of this book and felt seen! If you’re able to read this please do! It will be out August and I’m giving it 5 stars.
Heart pounding thriller that left me on the edge of my seat. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Definitely one of the best books this year.
This book was truly exceptional! The author perfectly captures the intense fear and discomfort that women often experience within their own bodies. Even when everyone tells you that everything is fine, you know deep down that something is not right. Valentine's writing is a powerful portrayal of feminist horror. She creates relatable characters and highlights the true horror of pregnancy. I highly recommend this book to my friends and anyone seeking a gripping read.
I really enjoyed this....an updated and female positive Rosemary's Baby. Must read the author's note to appreciate this even more!
When I first read the synopsis, I wanted to read this, but I also wondered if it was going to be cheesy. Saying a book is like “The Push” and “The Silent Patient” is a very bold statement to make. In this case, it’s also a very true statement! Add a little bit of “Nightbitch” and “Motherthing”, and we get this crazy, yet somehow beautiful, story…
Anna and her husband, Dex, have been trying to have a baby, but so far, it hasn’t happened for them. Anna is an actress best known for a role from a couple decades ago, but her most recent film appearance has her looking at being an Oscar nominee. With her recently-regained fame, she wants to remain private about her struggles with conceiving.
We start the book with Anna undergoing IVF treatment, in the hopes of having a baby - and keeping her husband. His first marriage was ended because his wife didn’t want children, but Anna really does want this child and is worried that, coming up on 40, she’s quickly running out of time.
Finally, an implantation catches. Anna is pregnant, and ecstatic. Unfortunately, she has a miscarriage and loses the baby in the first trimester. It’s a few weeks later, in a bourbon-fueled state, that she feels something. This is her first pregnancy to make it far enough to feel movement, but she’s pretty sure that she’s feeling kicking.
After it happens again, and again, she KNOWS she is still pregnant - but nobody believes her. Her doctors say it’s impossible; they’ve done ultrasounds to confirm the loss. Even Anna knows that she FELT her body release the child, but it’s still inside of her. Well, at least *something* is…
Whatever is growing inside of her doesn’t feel…right. Anna has a lot of pain, but also weird cravings (and I’m not talking pickles and peanut butter). She’s feeling things she’s never read about in any pregnancy book (is it supposed to feel like something wants to claw their way out of you?) but time after time, her doctors and husband dismiss her. If she’s not feeling and seeing what she thinks she is, then she must be losing her mind.
I don’t want to say what aspect of horror this is for spoiler purposes, but it’s not a horror sub-genre that I usually go for. With this book, I absolutely loved it. This book starts as a thriller, then crescendos into horror as the book goes on. It has really cool little stories from centuries ago interspersed, of women who have also been affected by Anna’s maladies, and that just added to the suspense.
This was a four star book all the way, then the beginning of the ending made that a 4.5. Then the actual ending has me rounding up to five. This is page-turningly suspenseful, thrilling, horrifying and at times, darkly comedic. This book also has very thoughtful dialogue about miscarriages, pregnancy, childbirth, and the way women have been, and still are, treated by the medical profession. The author expounds on this more in the epilogue, and it adds an extra touching note. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys the genres…especially mothers who might be a little feral.
(Thank you to SOURCEBOOK Landmark, Danielle Valentine, and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my review. This book is slated to be released on August 1, 2023.)
I’ve been a fan of Danielle Valentine for years. As a teenager I read “The Merciless” series written under her pen name Danielle Vega, and fell in love with her writing style and characters.
I’m so happy to report that all of those feelings remain with her first adult novel “Delicate Condition”.
The novel follows Anna Alcott, a famous child star who hadn’t had much luck in the entertainment business until her directorial debut puts her back on the map over twenty years later. Anna has it all. The career, the money, and her charming husband, Dex. What she doesn’t have, is a child. After failed attempts at IVF and her forties around the corner, Anna’s perfect life seems to ride on one final piece missing- a baby. Just when Anna thinks it wont happen, she becomes pregnant. But not long after the happy news, She begins to experience things she can’t explain, and her pregnancy journey is quickly turned into a terrifying nightmare.
I can’t say much more without spoiling the story. What I can tell you is that Danielle Valentine has taken every aspect of her YA writing and has weaved together a phenomenal adult novel. The characters are incredibly believable and the suspense and horror are bone chilling. The pace is done perfectly and flows seamlessly with a complex cast of characters and timelines. It is as much horrific as it is heartfelt,
A massive thank you to NetGalley, Danielle Valentine, and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for allowing me access to the digital arc for my honest review!
Anna and Dex only want a baby. After going through years of IVF, they finally get a positive test. Anna is over the moon thrilled. She begins noticing strange things around her and someone lurking in the shadows. She's an actress who's got some traction lately, it can't have anything to do with the child growing inside her. Until one day she feels extreme pain, she is miscarrying. The emotional and physical pain are too much for Anna. She hides away from the world and loses herself. Then, she feels something stir inside her. Could it be? Could the doctors be wrong? Is her baby still alive? When Anna starts hallucinating, she's no longer sure who to trust and what in this world is safe. Will she make it out alive?
This book takes on several pregnancy stigmas as well as dealing heavily with miscarriage. Be warned. It was a wild ride. I read through it in less than a day. Fantastic novel. A great read for people who love psychological suspense. Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy.
!!!Trigger warning!!! Body horror!
Extremely raw, on some places I needed to close my eyes and take a breath.
Anna takes us to her IVF journey, we take a glimpse of her hopes and dreams to see them crashing to pieces.
Add a little bit of stalker theme and you have a delicious read.
Anna Alcott had a loving husband and a fast developing career as an actress but she only wants one thing: a baby. After years of IVF, she’s finally pregnant but then suffers a devastating miscarriage. The only thing is, she feels the baby moving still and has strange symptoms.
I am a huge fan of fiction that speaks to pregnancy and women’s issues. I loved that this was also a suspense and even a bit of a horror story (yes, do not read if you have a weak stomach). This was quite the genre mash up. It also has contemporary notes, as it really speaks to the lack of consideration women can experience in the medical field when it comes to infertility, pain management, and childbirth. I could not put this one down and I highly suggest making it your summer read!
“The things that made you lucky could also be the things that made you suffer.”
Delicate Condition comes out 8/1.
💀🌸 BOOK REVIEW💀🌸
Delicate Condition by Danielle Valentine follows an actress, Anna Alcott, who has struggled to conceive for the past two years. She’s tried IVF several times to no avail. Then the unexpected happens. The IVF works. But there’s a sinister force stalking Anna, leaving creepy dolls and weird messages. As if that wasn’t enough, a trip to the ER ends in a miscarriage according to the doctor. So why does Anna still feel her baby moving?
This is mother horror at its finest! I was genuinely spooked at times. Especially when figures appeared in hallways and would just stand in the shadows.
This book is not for everyone and does get a bit gory at times so beware.
I flew through this book and loved every second.
Catch this book on shelves on August 1st. This book is also rumored to be the basis of AHS season 12.
Special thanks to @netgalley for a copy of the ARC
It starts out relatable and creepy and then it gets more and more terrifying. I believe this will be one of those books that becomes part of our culture, like Rosemary's baby.
My last pregnancy felt like this for sure. So I definately felt it entirely.
I will be thinking about this for weeks. Maybe months,
Thank you Netgalley and Danielle Valentine for the opportunity to read the eARC of Delicate Condition!
I was very excited to start this book, the premise sounded to good to miss. I was instantly hooked by Anna's pregnancy journey, nothing is more interesting than going down the rabbit hole having to rely on an unreliable narrator...
I was surprised many times throughout this novel and the building tension made this a book that was very difficult to put down!
I will post my review on Netgalley, Amazon and Goodreads.
“Delicate Condition” is Danielle Valentine’s first novel geared towards adults. This book follows actress Anna Alcott through her IVF journey. Anna has been a mostly obscure actress until her newest movie becomes a hit. Now she must deal with the increased publicity on top of her fertility struggles. When Anna finally manages to get pregnant, she comes close to having a miscarriage. She knows that something is wrong when she starts experiencing increasingly bizarre symptoms, but it seems no one around her is listening, especially not her husband Dex. It appears Anna is being cursed, but by who….or what?
I absolutely loved this book. I finished it in about two days. I loved the depth of personality the characters had. This novel also discusses how hard pregnancy can be for women throughout history, not just today. There’s a lot of gender discrimination when it comes to medical care between men and women, and this story was able to emphasize that in a creative way. Plus, the horror combined with the supernatural element made this story unique. I haven’t read anything quite like it.
I have also heard that the newest season of American Horror Story (coming this September) will be based on this book. I think this is going to be a wonderful adaptation, and I can see it being very successful based on the storyline, and the work the show has done in the past.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the DRC copy of this novel. “Delicate Condition” by Danielle Valentine will be published on August 1st, 2023, and the newest season of American Horror Story will air this September. I would highly recommend you snag the book before then!