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Fiction Psychological


A Novel

by (author) Jessica Westhead

HarperCollins Canada
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Psychological, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Jan 2021
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Feb 2020
    List Price

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A riveting novel about a mother’s all-consuming worry for her child over forty-eight hours at a remote cottage with old friends and a mysterious neighbour, for fans of Little Fires Everywhere and Truly Madly Guilty

Ruth is the fiercely protective mother of almost-four-year-old Fern. Together they visit a remote family cottage belonging to Stef, the woman who has been Ruth’s best friend—and Ruth's husband’s best friend—for years. Stef is everything Ruth is not—confident, loud, carefree—and someone Ruth cannot seem to escape. While Fern runs wild with Stef’s older twins and dockside drinks flow freely among the adults, they’re joined by Stef’s neighbour Marvin, a man whose frantic pursuit of fun is only matched by his side comments about his absent wife. As day moves into night and darkness settles over the woods, the edges between these friends and a stranger sharpen until a lingering suspicion becomes an undeniable threat.

About the author

Brittany Smith is a Toronto-based writer of long and short fiction. Her work has appeared in the Humber Literary Review, Broken Pencil, and in the journals Pithead Chapel and Echolocation. Most days you can find Britt working as a writing coach at Firefly Creative Writing.
Lana Pesch’s debut story collection, Moving Parts, was published in 2015 and shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Awards. She has written and produced plays for stage, radio and film and her writing has appeared in Little Bird Stories: Volumes I and II and Taddle Creek, Geist, and ELLE Canada. She was longlisted for the 2014 CBC Short Story Prize and won the Random House of Canada Creative Writing Award at the University of Toronto in 2012. Lana was born in Saskatchewan, studied in Montreal, and is an alumnus of the Banff Wired Writing Studio. She lives in Toronto and is a freelance writer, editor, and producer.
A graduate from the Masters in Creative Writing program at the University of Wales, Mary B. Valencia has published in Descant, Existere, the Globe and Mail,, NOW Magazine, and with Gomer Press in the UK. She received the 2012 EVENT creative nonfiction prize and was first runner-up in the 2010 PRISM international fiction contest. Her writing is now appearing at comedy venues across Toronto as part of her stand-up persona routine Mary Bee.

Jessica Westhead's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Jessica Westhead is one of the finest prose writers in this country.”

Zoe Whittall, bestselling author of <em>The Best Kind of People</em>

Worry does a masterful job of building tension, and the reader is constantly torn between eager anticipation and dread of finding out what is happening next.”

Ottawa Review of Books

“Westhead is a concise wordsmith; Worry is a quick and engrossing read…”

Quill & Quire

“An eerie, twist-filled story. With striking precision, Westhead dissects parenting and relationships in the age of anxiety. A riveting read.”  

Katrina Onstad, acclaimed author of <em>Everybody Has Everything</em> 

“I read Worry in one sleepless, unbroken gulp. Jessica Westhead renders parenthood as a riveting high-wire act, and imbues a seemingly ordinary lakeside vacation with suspense and menace that lingers long after reading. . . An irresistible novel from its first pages to its devastating end.”

Kim Fu, author of <em>The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore</em>

“In Worry, Westhead demonstrates that leaping is precisely what she knows how to do, and her novel delivers with the most assured and powerful landing.”

Pickle Me This

“In Worry, Jessica Westhead deftly plumbs the anxiety that can arise from attachment. This compelling novel explores not only the tensions between dependence and freedom, but also the tricky, shifting nature of love itself.”

Meg Wolitzer, bestselling author of <em>The Interestings</em>


No Source

“Jessica Westhead packs a lifetime of maternal anxiety into this propulsive thriller, which unfolds over the course of 48 hours in a secluded cottage…Westhead is a master of misdirection—you’ll want to devour Worry in a single, heart-thudding night.”

Apple Books

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