The Housemaid (The Housemaid #1), by Freida McFadden

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Meh! I was so looking forward to reading “The Housemaid” by Freida McFadden – a supposedly psychological thriller involving a mysterious housemaid, an eccentric rich couple and a huge mansion. What could possibly go wrong?!

And at first, things were looking good: Ex-convict Millie gets hired by Nina whose sole occupation seems to be being wife-to-Andrew. During the first part of the book Nina comes across as one part weird, three parts excessively psychologically cruel and two parts unhinged.

Mille, who has supposedly recently been released after 10 years (!) in jail is in dire circumstances, living in her car until she becomes Nina’s live-in maid/victim. Still, instead of being pretty much broken she unrealistically comes across as a pretty happy person…

Cecilia, Nina’s child from a one-night-stand, is inconsistently portrayed as petulant and entitled in the first part but makes a miraculous and totally unbelievable “recovery” later on.

Part one consists completely of Millie’s point of view and consists of short, punchy chapters that definitely achieved their goal of keeping me pretty much glued to my Kindle. Just one more chapter – till deep into the night!

After about a quarter of the book I thought this was an exciting, suspenseful, easy and light read, well on the way to a five-star review.

Sadly, though, when one character mentioned “danger” I immediately saw a major twist coming… Ok, true, much of part one was already a bit on the wild side and somewhat over the top but still enjoyable.

Along came part two which is mostly from Nina’s point of view. Here’s where the cookie started crumbling: With the twist revealed here already anticipated, I wasn’t exactly surprised by the story.

In part three, I also wasn’t surprised to see a somewhat bizarre and grotesque revenge fantasy evolve. Things became even more shallow and lurid. Where the story was going became pretty much obvious and even more predictable than before.

Yes, just like McFadden intended, I sympathised with Millie’s course of action but considering her fears, I had a rather hard time believing she would really be doing what she did. It was still worth my reading time although the book started feeling really, really flimsy.

What finally and definitely cost this novel the fourth star I might still have awarded was the final scene with Nina’s mother-in-law (intrinsically, it made sense but it just wasn’t from this world anymore…) and the epilogue (cringeworthy to the highest degree or simpler in German: “Fremdschämen”; borrow that one, English language!). Both these scenes were both so deeply nuts and entirely predictable at the same time that I’m going to avoid this author for the foreseeable future…

If you want to read a quick throw-away thriller devoid of real substance, this might still work for you.

Three out of five stars – at least this mad revenge fantasy of a novel was somewhat entertaining.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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