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on 21 September 2006
Having seen the movie, and enjoyed it, I gave the book a go. Despite being written 40 years ago now, it still has the feel of a contemporary book. Because of the claustrophic setting of the building, in which a lot of the action takes place,the real world doesn't impinge much.

Ira Levin writes in a nice, easy to read style, which makes you want to read more and more every time you finish a chapter. I won't give much away about the plot, just to say that the year 1966, in which it is set, is very relevant, and the book will make you wonder if the mundane things around you are quite as mundane as they seem!!

Well written, great storyline, good characters (although I found Rosemary to be a little too dumb at times), and a book that will make you think a little. Worth picking up.
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on 9 May 2010
An under-rated masterpiece.
This novel has everything...excellent strongly-written characters, a thrilling unusual plot, the New York in the sixties vibe.
It is one of those books that is very rewarding to re-read because you begin to understand what was really going on when, for example, Hutch loses a glove, a seemingly trivial loss but with very evil undertones as it turns out. There are lots of little incidents that you will want to re-examine, knowing what you know at the end of the story.
The plot unfolds at a satisfying pace, the characters develop with the events.
A flawless, highly entertaining story.
I always intended to write to Ira Levin to express my admiration for the novel, but sadly I left it too late.
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2011
This was for most of its duration an excellent, tense thriller, with a growing sense of creepy horror. I had never seen the famous film adaptation, so didn't know if the seemingly obvious solution would turn out to be true, or if Rosemary would be revealed to be insane. However, I found the last sixth to be rather less good and was unsure if this was supposed to be reality or a dream. The very ending was very abrupt.
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on 23 March 2012
I have often seen Rosemary's Baby mentioned as a comparison in reviews so I was curious to read this classic book.

Published and set in the mid sixties, fashionable young couple Rosemary and actor husband Guy are delighted to be moving into the exclusive Victorian New York apartment block, the Bramford. A wise and trusted friend warns them that the Bramford has somewhat of a sinister past - child murders, satanic rituals, a dead baby found in the cellar and a high occurrence of suicides. The couple brush this off but within weeks, they return to their new home to find that somebody has thrown themselves to their death from an apartment window for what seems like no apparent reason. Plus their eccentric, elderly neighbours are taking a rather unhealthy and suffocating interest in them and Guy once wary, now seems to be embracing their friendship. And Rosemary wants to start a family at this place......I will say no more.

Creepy, chilling with lots of suspense, the pages practically turn themselves although I was disappointed with the ending which I thought came to an abrupt halt whilst the story was still flowing. Most definitely worth reviving though.
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on 26 September 2011
I have never read Ira Levin, nor been a fan of the "horror" genre, but hearing a review of this book on the radio, I was sufficiently interested to buy a copy. It is a sensational read - horrifying, tense and sinister but written in such a style that you simply cannot put it down. All the horror is implied with no graphic references but shocking to the point that I gasped out loud several times to my husband's irritation. I passed it on to him and he echoes my vie. Since then we have gone on to read 3 other Levin novels, each of which has been more captivating than the previous. He is a fantastic author and if you have never read one of his books, this is a cracking one as a starter for 10.
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on 4 October 2013
I'm currently on an Ira Levin mission and this was my second after A Kiss Before Dying, The Stepford Wives is next. The writing style is unmistakable, with good character development and long descriptive passages, which are on the verge of being too long and slowing down the plot. The storyline is ingenious in the extreme, take care not to miss the tiniest, apparently inconsequential event, because it will come back later in the story with huge significance. As the plot develops the creepiness rises, but I use that term deliberately in preference to horror; it is a horror story, but it's not horrific. Like other reviews, I found the ending slightly unexpected, but I won't say disappointing, the tension in the last third of the book keeps on rising. This is not a long book, but much as I liked it, long enough. I certainly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it, but don't quite rate is as one of my all time favourites.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 February 2014
Ira Levin's 'Rosemary's Baby' is an intriguing combination of a seemingly normal well to do couple in 1965/1966 New York during a pregnancy, and the paranormal horror elements that are related to where they live. While the paranormal is mostly only surmised and not seen, the author skillfully creates a tension that persists pretty much from start to finish and which makes the book such a riveting read.

Rosemary is a typical aspiring (house)wife, married to Guy, a slightly older actor of limited success (but great potential) and the book starts with their moving to famous a Victorian era apartment block - 'the Bramford' - in NY. While they are initially over the moon at their good luck in securing a flat in such a prestigious a location, soon seeds of unease are being spread by well meaning friends, and by odd events.

In the meantime they befriend their neighbours - an elderly couple, which initially seems dull but quickly draws Guy in, meaning an intense relationship develops. From there onwards the tension grows steadily, as one is never completely sure if the odd occurences happening are real or a figment of Rosemary's imagination. The horror comes from the reader being quite easily capable of imagining Rosemary's constant struggle between what is real and what is not.

Without producing any spoilers (for the handful who have not read the book or seen the movie - Rosemary's Baby [1968] [DVD]) a final resolution does happen, even if the ending has been considered abrupt by some. At the same time this produces a cliffhanger, allowing the reader's imagination to run wild with the possibilities. A sequel (Son Of Rosemary) has been produced around 30 years later but appears to not match up to the author's usual quality standards (the reviewers strongly recommend avoiding it altogether).

Overall the book is a great combination of the mundane - an excited 'mother to be' preparing for the joyous event in the 1960, a young urban couple trying to move up in the world... - and the horrible and as such I find it excellent. Just like in some of the author's other books (The Stepford Wives for instance) you get enough food for thought, as well as excellent, well flowing writing, making it a real winner.
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on 27 August 2011
I bought this book even though I had previously seen the film and consequently knew the story. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it under these circumstances but wanted to give it a go because I've liked other books by Ira Levin. My worries were unfounded because I was gripped from the very first page. The book is an utterly compelling story of betrayal and paranoia and I could not put it down. This was probably the best 99p I have ever spent!
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on 13 April 2016
Loved this book. I knew the concept and story from the publicity that Roman Polanski's film received, but I was still captivated. I wouldn't class this as a horror story per se, you know something bad is happening but its all done behind closed doors, where you as the reader aren't privy. Its one hundred times better than the film in my opinion.
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You probably know the story already, maybe due to the film. Rosemary and Guy move into an apartment building in New York, nosy neighbours constantly knocking on their door or inviting them round for tea, and soon their futures start looking up. Guy no longer struggles to find acting jobs, Rosemary becomes pregnant, but is all as it seems?

It's typical Levin in that the atmosphere is oppressive and creepy from the outset, the prose is sparse, and the ending is somewhat abrupt and a little blurred, but it's a heck of a ride getting there. Great fun, and a bit of a horror classic.
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