You Were Made for This


By Michelle Sacks

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A gripping page-turner for fans of The Woman in the Window and The Perfect Nanny, Michelle Sacks’s You Were Made For This provocatively explores the darkest sides of marriage, motherhood, and friendship.

Doting wife, devoted husband, cherished child. Merry, Sam, and Conor are the perfect family in the perfect place. Merry adores the domestic life: baking, gardening, caring for her infant son. Sam, formerly an academic, is pursuing a new career as a filmmaker. Sometimes they can hardly believe how lucky they are. What perfect new lives they’ve built.

When Merry’s childhood friend Frank visits their Swedish paradise, she immediately becomes part of the family. She bonds with Conor. And with Sam. She befriends the neighbors, and even finds herself embracing the domesticity she’s always seemed to scorn. All their lives, Frank and Merry have been more like sisters than best friends. And that’s why Frank soon sees the things others might miss. Treacherous things, which are almost impossible to believe when looking at this perfect family. But Frank, of all people, knows that the truth is rarely what you want the world to see.


  • "A worthy page-turner...Sacks stuffs her sentences with intrigue and terror, and her prose effortlessly weaves between each of the narrators, giving them a distinct voice that's all-too-easy to be convinced by. She keeps you on the edge of your seat as the tension ratchets up...A gripping, smart, dire family drama."
    David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly
  • "Haunting...Sacks deftly engages the complexities of motherhood, infidelity, and misconduct in this novel. Her storytelling shines most when Merry's alleged closest friend, Frank, arrives for a visit...Sacks explores the ways in which unhealthy relationships can wreak irrevocable damage on those involved--and everyone surrounding."
    Megan McCluskey, TIME Magazine
  • "An engrossing tale that probes the darker corners of motherhood, friendship, and marriage."
    Good Housekeeping
  • "Riveting...Devastating and unpredictable...Michelle Sacks richly explores marriage and parenting and delivers a brilliant, unflinching look at a household under siege from itself."
    Associated Press
  • "Sacks proves herself to be an expert of both language and atmosphere. By turns mesmerizing and horrifying, You Were Made for This confronts the dark truths behind motherhood, marriage and female friendship with disquieting lyricism...Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye meets the set of a David Lynch film in this haunting, psychological portrait that takes the dark domestic thriller into a new, literary realm."
    Alice Martin, Shelf Awareness, starred review
  • "Beguiling and frightening.... Hard to read but also bewitchingly hard to put down-a fitting contradiction in a novel that explores the corruption at the heart of beauty."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "Sacks's first novel expertly portrays the dark side of domesticity and motherhood... Fans of dark and twisted psychological thrillers will be swept up in the appearance of domestic bliss and maternal perfection, only to be left off-kilter and breathless with each costume change."
    Library Journal
  • "Haunting...Though Sacks doesn't give readers anyone to root for, her unblinking look at beautiful people with ugly secrets has the voyeuristic fascination of a Bergman film."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Insightful and skillfully constructed... this will keep readers rapt to the final page."
  • "The horrors of this rural paradise break free into the fresh Nordic air. A brilliant debut: crisp writing, a deliciously dark story."
    Sarah Murdoch, Toronto Star
  • "A sinister, razor's edge of a book. I was, in turn, totally gripped, completely unsettled, and not just a little freaked out by these brutal characters and the damage they did to themselves and each other. Whatever you feel while reading this dark, twisting story, you definitely won't be able to put it down."
    Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hunter
  • "Set in an idyllic Swedish forest straight out of a fairy tale, You Were Made For This is a taut novel of deception, full of heart-wrenching twists and turns. Michelle Sacks shows us that happy families are not always what they seem and explores the dark shadows that lurk within the fairy tale, and in human nature, in this richly compelling debut."
    Jennifer McMahon, New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People
  • "You Were Made for This deftly explores the darkest corners of domestic life through the eyes of three complicated, damaged souls, inextricably connected by obsession, loyalty, jealousy, and unspeakable secrets. The savage beauty of Michelle Sacks's prose nestled within the most chilling of stories will leave you shaken and bereft. It is a stunning accomplishment."
    Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence
  • "You Were Made For This is a thrilling literary fairytale from which you can't escape, not even after you've found your way back to the light of day. The warning is right there in the novel's epigraph: 'You must always go carefully into the dark Swedish woods.' And then in you go, forgetting to leave bread crumbs behind you, until soon you are lost in Sacks' fascinating domestic dreamscape, a dark and deceptive place where old wounds, secrets, and the seeds of violence are cooked up and jarred and stowed in plain sight, yet fill your heart with dread at every turn."
    Tim Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Descent
  • "You Were Made For This plumbs the darkness that can lie at the core of the most intimate of relationships: between husband and wife, lifelong friends, even mother and child. Michelle Sacks has a gift for empathy, and her broken sinners are so tenderly drawn that even at their worst they remain heartbreakingly human. She's also written the most complex and relatable female friendship I've read in years."
    Heather Young, The Strand Critics' Award winner for The Lost Girls

On Sale
May 14, 2019
Page Count
352 pages
Back Bay Books

Michelle Sacks

About the Author

Michelle Sacks is the author of the novel You Were Made for This and the story collection Stone Baby. She was born in South Africa and holds a master’s degree in literature and film from the University of Cape Town. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and for two South African PEN Literary Awards.

Learn more about this author