I picked up The Housemaid because it was dirt cheap on Amazon – I’m talking £2.50 for a brand-new copy of the paperback. After finishing The Return of the King, I thought I’d pick something up a little lighter that didn’t require quite as much time and effort to read/listen to. Enter The Handmaid.
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However, little did I know that this would be one of the most gripping and enthralling thrillers I’d read for a very long time. I was expecting it to be a fairly weak reading experience but an easy story to consume and though the latter may be true, it most certainly was not a weak thriller.
The story covers the tale of Millie, our protagonist housemaid who starts work at a posh house after recently being released from prison. She’s hoping to keep her past from her new employer and earn enough money to move out of living in her car and start a real life for herself. However, her boss, Nina Winchester is incredibly odd and begins to behave eratically convincing Millie something else must be going on it in this family. But then everything flips on its head!
The Housemaid plot – 4.5/5
I must admit, whenever I start reading a book, I’m always looking and waiting for the moment when it’s going to suddenly get good. However, from the very early pages, this book had the perfect plot and chapter endings to keep me engrossed throughout. It starts off with a lot of intrigue as Nina’s odd personality begins to come out with some wild accusations of Millie and as the reader it really grabs you in.
There is a massive turn in the middle of the book which I honestly didn’t see coming which is a real testament to the way that McFadden has not only written the book but also written these characters. It’s a twist that if any of your interest has waned will draw you right back in again.
People often describe books as “unputdownable” and I rarely use this term as my ADD means I can easily drop an activity and go and do other things. However, The Housemaid is one of those books where I genuinely wanted to read as much of it as possible in one sitting each time I could. And again, I usually struggle to read when anything else is going on but it’s easy writing and my desire to know what was coming next had me engrossed.
The Housmaid characters – 4.25/5
Often in thrillers, the characters suffer with little personality as the plot is the main focus for the author. Often, to be able to pull off the twists and the sweeping chapters and plotline, the main character just has to go through the motions, causing a rather underwhelming character. However, in The Housemaid, Millie is a perfectly likeable main character with genuine motivations and personality traits.
The real star of the show is Nina though. McFadden has portrayed her personality perfectly (meaning more the further you read) as this woman who has become so comfortable in this perfect “housewife” life that she’s begun to become slightly mad.
As a reader, you begin to grow a real dislike for her and other characters who later are introduced too. Those you’re supposed to like, you like and those you are supposed to despise, you despise.
The Housemaid final rating – 4.5/5
I was a huge fan of The Housemaid and everybody I’ve spoken to about it online was also. Not only does it hit all the perfect notes required of a thriller but it has a a genuinely shocking twist that you won’t see coming along with some truly detestable characters. It’s clever and, not avoiding the cliche term at all, truly unputdownable. If you’re looking for a genuinely gripping new read that could very well surprise you with how much you enjoy it, The Housemaid would be right near the top of my recommendations list at the moment.