A rising star in a famous laboratory can track her success back to the one person in her life she’d like to forget.
As a teenager, Kit Owens is fine with doing just enough to set herself up for a comfortable life. She never had a compelling reason to push herself until Diane Fleming quietly stepped into her life. The new girl with a troubled past, Diane seems to care only about achieving perfection, and she doesn’t understand why Kit wouldn’t want the same. The two become each other’s motivation to do better, go harder, working toward the common goal of a science scholarship funded by a doctor famous for her research on taboo disorders related to the female sex. Until one night, when Diane shares something with Kit that is terrible enough—“the worst thing anyone’s ever told me”—to erase any bond they have. More than 10 years later, Kit is the hardest working member of Dr. Severin’s lab, angling for a coveted spot on the new premenstrual dysphoric disorder research team. Her lab mates, all men, are convinced she has it in the bag. But then Dr. Severin drops the bomb that she’s poached a stellar researcher from Harvard who will join the team immediately. That person is Diane. Kit has buried the memory of her old friend under years of pipetting, thousands of precisely cut samples, and days bent under a fume hood: “After a bad dream, a Diane dream, I avoid the mirror…certain that if I looked, she might be there.” Who could truly forget Diane? And when she walks through the lab door the next day, “everything begins again.” Abbott (You Will Know Me, 2016, etc.) has made the dark desires and secrets of the female psyche the life force of her novels. Under the surface of Kit and Diane’s research on women plagued by an “unbearable push of feelings, feelings gone out of control…a wretched curse” lives their own shared curse, something strong enough to tip the balance of their carefully regimented, chemical-clean world.
In Abbott’s deft hands, friendship is fused to rivalry, and ambition to fear, with an unsettling level of believability. It will take more than a cold shower to still the blood thumping in your ears when you finish this.