The Maid’s Diary, by Loreth Anne White

The Maid’s Diary by Loreth Anne White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In modern mysteries, there seems to be a tendency to switch perspectives, to have two timelines and sometimes there are jumps in time. Now imagine an author who tries to be so modern that they make their book feature several a) timelines, sometimes colliding with each other, b) chapters from alternating points of view (some unexplained for a long time), c) jumps in time, d) features a non-linear narrative, and, what annoys me the most, e) an unreliable narrator.

In the beginning, I was determined to immerse myself in all of it and thought about how fascinating it is that Loreth Anne White commands a broad spectrum of narrative styles. With more time spent “in” the novel, it became too much, though: The constant switching between both narrated time and perspectives became annoying. The jumps in time became increasingly confusing and don’t get me started on the colliding timelines that occur near the end.

There were also a lot of red herrings and wilful obfuscation by the narrator who we have good reason to suspect is actually reliable for most of the book – until the whole perspective shifts. Even those twists, though, weren’t very well executed and, in many cases, not very surprising. I guessed the most important twist long before it occurred and, thus, read what happened with great detachment.

The entire mystery is also very complicated and the lengths to which a certain character goes to achieve their goals is both implausible and highly unrealistic. It’s a slightly more subtle and less violent revenge fantasy than a Charles Bronson film.

It didn’t help either that I didn’t like any single character at all. I rooted for none, despised most and was able to tolerate three characters.

Three stars out of five.

Ceterum censeo Putin esse delendam

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