Book Review: The Devil You Know

Freida McFadden strikes again with her follow-up story to the life of Doctor Jane McGill, The Devil You Know. This book is a page turner with a romantic edge and relatable characters that make a fictional story seem real. This is the follow up book to McFadden’s The Devil Wears Scrubs; this sequel focuses more on Jane’s personal life, rather than her time doing long hours of residency in the hospital.

First, I recommend this book to parents, more specifically, parents with older children. Jane has to deal with all the stresses, fun, and control issues that come with her young redheaded bossy daughter, all while her husband is adjusting to a new job working from home and dodging his parental duties here and there.  The small anecdotes throughout the novel between Jane and her husband are sidebars that every parent can relate too.  For example, McFadden uses a touch of realism to show how even something as small as picking up and dropping off your toddler at pre-school has so many elements to take care of and so many areas where things could go wrong.  I really enjoyed reading these anecdotes and seeing them unfold and go hand in hand with Jane’s marital problems.  She is constantly dealing with real life situations that come with kids like, battling over what to wear to school, or having to tell them to not write on the wall, or even stepping on a lego.  Yet, the subtle interludes of humor in these anecdotes makes them one of the novel’s most enjoyable parts.

If you’re looking for a juicy romance novel, Jane’s complicated turmoil of a romance life kept me turning.  One of my favorite elements she used were Jane’s flashbacks:Jane often goes off on a sidebar and tells the reader about the beginning of her relationship with Ben, her husband.  These flashbacks brilliantly contrast the time that Jane and her husband were lively and adventurous, to present day where their lives seem to revolve around their kid and chores.  Anyone who has been in a relationship can relate to these flashbacks and stories of the “old days.”  With the introduction of a previous lover into her life,, Jane starts to wonder if she made the right choice of man.  Going through the book, I learned the extensive background of each character and through their problems and conflicts with Jane start to side with each character.  Since the characters are also so relatable, I often found myself siding with a certain man, then switching, then switching again.  Each lover has their pro’s and con’s and I kept seeing myself agree with the way Jane was feeling about each one at a certain, whether it was anger, empathy, or love, it was easy to fall for someone else because of his charm, but want the steadiness of her husband.  Jane’s struggle between lovers is extremely fun to read and is definitely relatable to people who have been in relationships.  

Although I am not a doctor nor a woman, I often found myself being able to relate to the feelings that Jane was having.  At times, it was hard to remember that the story and the characters.  As I read, I became so invested in her life that I found myself reacting to the patients she sees in her VA hospital in the same way that she does:saying to herself, “Oh, not him again,” or sharing the empathy that Jane feels for another sick patient. Outside of the hospital, Jane’s inner turmoil between current and ex-lover intrigued me and can speak  to a lot of couples going through a rough patch.  The timing was just right that an old flame reappears as relationship problems begin is something I think people of all ages have experienced.  Even my naivety has experienced relationships becoming routine and having to change things up to try to spark it again.  After reading this book, the events that the characters went through and how they cope with different stresses has actually taught me many life lessons, such as peanut butter cannot solve everything.

From the very start I was invested in the characters and the balance between husband, daughter, and ex-lover that Jane must deal with. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn’t seem to put it down, finishing it’s 355 pages in less than 24 hours.  Jane’s life and her interactions with the other characters make it hard to remember at times that this novel is a fiction book, and to me, that mixed in with humor and romance is what makes this book so great.  

You can find The Devil You Know on Amazon.


She’s got a great job at a VA Hospital, an adorable daughter, and a loving husband. Granted, it would be wonderful if her preschooler wouldn’t wake her up at three in the morning, and it would be a miracle if her husband would change the toilet paper roll once every millennium. Still, in most ways, she has the ideal life she’d always imagined.

Then Jane discovers that Dr. Ryan Reilly is the VA’s newest vascular surgeon. Dr. Ryan Reilly, a.k.a. Sexy Surgeon, a.k.a. the biggest jerk she ever loved.

A decade ago, Jane broke up with the Sexy Surgeon to marry the Nice Software Engineer, but as cracks and crevices appear in her marriage, she can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if she’d made a different choice. Or if it isn’t too late to change her mind…

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Nick Provenzano

Nick is a contributor to The Almost Doctor’s Channel and current business student at the University of Pittsburgh. H2P.