Thrills and Chills: Reviewing the Housemaid by Freida McFadden
TITLE: The Housemaid
AUTHOR: Freida McFadden
GENRE: Psychological thriller
PUBLISHER: Grand Central Publishing
PUBLICATION DATE: August 23, 2022
TWs: infidelity, torture, gaslighting, violence
The Housemaid by Freida McFadden is a fast-paced, psychological thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, unable to tell what’s real and what’s not, who is telling the truth and who is lying?
Desperate to find an employer willing to hire an ex-convict, Millie joins the Winchester family as their new nanny. But she quickly realizes that things are never as perfect as they may seem. Juggling the antics of her crazy boss and her extremely attractive husband leads to a series of decisions whose consequences may be too much for her to bear.
“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…
As most psychological thrillers, the characters are never as they seem at face value. But the dual POVs made for an addictive read.
Millie is not as street-smart as I expected for someone who spent 10 years in prison. Along the way, she makes reckless decisions that it’s hard to muster sympathy for her when she faces the consequences of her actions. But to her credit, she does redeem herself in the end.
Nina was a more captivating character and her chapters are what made me stick it through to the end.
This story is very similar to another book, so if you’ve read that one, you will see the major twists coming. Check out the spoiler below to see which book it is. But this was still an entertaining, fast-paced read. The short chapters definitely helped.
Because this plot is one I’ve seen before, the intrigue was lost towards the middle of the book when the twist was revealed. However, the author included other unique plot points that made the story worthwhile.
The ending is abrupt, and most loose ends are tied up as convenient coincidences and unrealistic events. But some moments will make your jaw drop and have you running to the computer to pre-order the sequel.
I do wish we had gotten more on the antagonist’s backstory because this would have added another layer to the book. There was a brief twist in the climax where you get a glimpse of it but I would have enjoyed a bit more.
Millie’s chapters read like a dear diary moment. Her monologues reflected her younger age and were a bit repetitive. However, I enjoyed the formatting of Nina’s chapters, and the title at the beginning of each chapter was witty and well done.
If you are looking for a dramatic and entertaining read with short chapters and enigmatic characters, then The Housemaid by Freida McFadden is the book for you. However, the plot is not a unique one in the world of psychological thrillers, and the ending could use a bit of polishing.
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