You've probably heard of Rosemary's Baby before. The classic 1967 novel by Ira Levin was transformed into the 1968 film by director (let's keep our personal opinions aside for now) Roman Polanski. The movie has 99% on Rotten Tomatoes! The story was also made into a TV miniseries in 2014 with questionable appeal...
I personally haven't seen the movie but I've heard about it and already had a general sense of what the book would be about when a coworker offered to lend me his copy. Personally, I'm glad I didn't know too much beforehand because Rosemary's Baby was a delightfully dark read.
The story begins vanilla enough: Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, recently married, get into the New York City apartment building they've (she's) been longing for: the Bramford. But the Bramford has a dark history of Satanists and cannibals, tee-hee! Even though Hutch, Rosemary's close friend, tries to put her off the building, Rosemary and her husband move in and begin a new life together.
Although not much happens in the first part of the novel, aside from moving in and decorating, meeting the neighbors and encountering a suicide, the matter-of-fact way Levin has of explaining Rosemary and her husband Guy's day-to-day kept me turning page after page. Of course, the action centers around Rosemary, only twenty-four years old and married to up-and-coming actor Guy Woodhouse, who is nine years her senior.
Rosemary initially came off as a naive housewife suffering from too much dependency on her husband. She parted with her religious beliefs and her family ties when she decided to marry Guy. However, as the couple meets their sketchy (and nosy!) neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet, Rosemary's personality becomes clearer. She's not so much naive as gentle-spirited and uprooted from her natural habitat. This made for an endearing main character, who I could sympathize with up to the final page.
When Rosemary finds out she's pregnant, something she had been yearning for, her surroundings turn a shade darker and now people who seemed to be her trusted neighbors and friends look more like enemies.
In the final third of the novel, Rosemary puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and realizes exactly what is going on around her. She becomes a take-charge type of character, who is still limited by her duty to her husband and her obstetrician (who happens to be in on the entire scheme surrounding her baby).
I don't want to reveal any of the action in this review because the both the novel and the classic film have been talked about to death already, but let me just say that Rosemary's Baby was an excellent thriller--not a horror story. The ending, however, left me wanting more because the story takes a sudden sharp turn into the paranormal and opens up so many fantastic doors which we never get to cross because the novel simply ends. The last scene in the novel made my heart go out to Rosemary and truly demonstrated what a gentle soul she is.
Rosemary's Baby receives five Pirates!