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Helen Phillips’ dazzling and disturbing 2019 novel opens on a classic scene: a young mother of two is home alone when she hears the footsteps of an intruder. The frightened woman, a paleobotanist named Molly, gathers her infant son and toddler daughter and hides in the bedroom. But as she quiets her children, Molly starts to question what she’s heard, and whether it may only exist in her head. As Phillips reveals, Molly has been existing in a bubble of anxiety ever since she became a mother, and that bubble is about to burst. In cutting prose, she unravels an expertly paced, genre-blending thriller about the terrors of parenthood and the strength of a mother’s love. —Annabel Gutterman

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