Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Book Review: The Housemaid (The Housemaid #1) by Freida McFadden

Title: The Housemaid
Series: The Housemaid #1
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: April 26th 2022
Print Length: 338 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
“Welcome to the family,” Nina Winchester says as I shake her elegant, manicured hand. I smile politely, gazing around the marble hallway. Working here is my last chance to start fresh. I can pretend to be whoever I like. But I’ll soon learn that the Winchesters’ secrets are far more dangerous than my own…

Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor.

I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband.

I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late.

But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am.

They don’t know what I’m capable of…

I had been in a book funk for awhile especially when it came to psychological thrillers. I love psychological thrillers, but I am very picky about which ones I'll read. When I came across The Housemaid by Freida McFadden, the synopsis really caught my attention. I decided to give it a read and ended up loving it!

The Housemaid tells the story of Millie, a young woman down on her luck. With a prison background, getting a decent paying job has been hard to find. Millie's been living in her car for awhile after being let go from her most recent job. When a high paying job arises working for the Winchesters, Millie can hardly believe her luck when she's offered the job. All she has to do is keep the house clean, take care of the Winchesters' daughter Cecelia, and cook for them. It's not too bad considering how much she's being paid. Plus, she'll be able to finally sleep in a bed! However, things drastically take a turn for the worst on Millie's first day. Nina Winchester, the wife, is constantly berating Millie and leaving big messes for her. She's gaslighting Millie at every turn. Is there a method to Nina's madness or is Nina really out to get Millie?

I loved the plot of The Housemaid. I was definitely scratching my head trying to figure out what was going on at first. While I have read similar stories to this one, Freida McFadden adds varying elements to keep her story line original. There were plenty of twists and turns throughout. In fact, one twist happens within the first few chapters. Nothing is as it seems when it comes to the story line of this novel. I was sucked into the world McFadden had created. I felt like I was a character hiding in the shadows watching all the drama unfold. While there is a small cliffhanger, I feel like The Housemaid is a book that can be read as a standalone despite it being part of a series. I say this because all my questions and wonderings I had throughout reading The Housemaid were tied up nicely by the end of the book. (Although I would have liked to know a bit more about how Andrew Winchester, the husband, had amassed such a large fortune.)

Every single character main and secondary character in The Housemaid was well written. It was actually quite easy to picture each character in my mind. Each character's personality shown through with each page. I never knew what to expect with Nina. I kept trying to figure out why she was one way while interviewing Millie yet a whole different person from the very first day Millie started her job. I couldn't figure out why she kept gaslighting Millie and why she would hire her only to ridicule and belittle her at every given opportunity. I did like reading about Nina though and to finally get her perspective on why she was the way she was to Millie. Andrew seemed like a nice guy. He was always wanting to protect Millie from Nina's craziness, and I did keep finding myself wanting Andrew and Millie to become a couple as there was so much chemistry between them. I also thought Nina didn't deserve Andrew with how mean she was. Millie seemed like a sweet young woman that had been handed some bad cards throughout her life. I was wishing nothing but the best for Millie throughout the book. It was obvious that she was trying to get her life on track after all the bad she had endured. Enzo, the gardener, was the wild card. I never knew if I should trust him or not. While he seemed oblivious to everything around him, I was always left wondering if he knew more than he let on. One character I would have liked to know more about was Cecelia. She came across as a bit of a brat, and it becomes obvious why she would act that way, but I would have liked to know more about her life growing up in the Winchester residence such as what she would go through while she was away and what not. Saying all that about the characters, I will say that no one in this book is quite as they seem. What you see is not what you get with the people in The Housemaid.

Trigger warnings for The Housemaid include gaslighting, blackmail, profanity, torture, violence, murder, and captivity.

Overall, The Housemaid is a solid story that will leave you guessing which each page read. You won't know which character to trust or what is real. It will be all too easy to stay up late into the night to finish this book because it's just that good! I would definitely recommend The Housemaid by Freida McFadden to those aged 18+ who love being fully immersed in whatever they are reading. This book will suck you right into its pages from the get go. It'll also leave you with a distrust of attic rooms at the top of stairs!

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