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The Housemaid by Freida McFadden: An Enjoyable Psychological Thriller

Freida McFadden, image courtesy of the author

Amazon bestselling author Freida McFadden tantalizes readers with her domestic thriller, “The Housemaid.” The story begins with Millie, a young and attractive woman, who applies as a housemaid in the Winchester home after several failed job applications.

The Housemaid Summary:

Millie has a past that she hopes stays buried. After living in her car and failing to secure a job, she finally catches a break when she applies as a housemaid in the Winchester home.

The interviewer, Nina Winchester, is the lady of the house. She is dressed in pristine clothes with perfectly styled hair and makeup and embodies the quintessential spoiled wife.

Despite her fabulous appearance, she treats Millie kindly, hoping they’ll become friends if she ever decides to hire Millie. Nina’s husband, Andrew Winchester, owns and designs their home. At the same time, their daughter, Cecelia, goes to a prestigious academy with numerous after-school activities. The housemaid’s job is to take care of the household chores and look after Cecelia.

In short, the job was too good to be true. Yet, against all odds, Nina decides to hire Millie. However, that blissful moment of moving out of her car is short-lived when Millie realizes that she must move into the attic of the Winchester home. Compared to the rest of the house, the space was cramped, with glued-in windows and a door that locks from the outside.

Sirens are ringing in Millie’s head. She knows something is amiss but is desperate to make it work. After living in her car for a while, this minor upgrade to the attic is miles better than her old life.

However, there are other problems she experiences. While Nina was kind to her during the interview, Millie soon finds that her new employer is more than a little “off.” First, she’ll make a mess, then forces Millie to clean it. Next, she’ll demean her, hoping to “put her in her place,”, especially around her privileged friends. After a while, Nina’s moods cool off before she’s back to being the sweet lady of the home.

Cecelia, on the other hand, acts like a spoiled brat. Dressed only in ruffled dresses, she makes unreasonable demands and is untrusting towards Millie.

Fortunately, Andrew is a breath of fresh air. While Nina and Cecelia have their moments, Andrew remains respectful and kind towards Millie. He even volunteers to help her when Nina gets into one of her “moods.”

Millie couldn’t help but wonder how the two ever came together. Considering Andrew’s kind and gentle nature, wouldn’t it make sense if he ended up with a younger and more agreeable woman? What does he see in Nina that makes her worthy of being his wife? Are their marriage really as “picture perfect” as many made it out to be?

Freida McFadden’s “The Housemaid” is a bonafide modern thriller for the ages with wonderfully fleshed-out characters and an intriguing plot.

Overall Verdict:

Every once in a while, you encounter a book that sweeps you off your feet. Freida McFadden’s “The Housemaid” is an example of such a book. While the premise is simple, the story’s execution is excellent.

Millie, who works hard to keep her job in the Winchester home, becomes an unexpected hero when we finally know of her past. Despite her awkward time at her new job, we can’t help but root for her because she’s the typical underdog.

However, the author does an incredible job of defying expectations. As readers, we naturally gravitate toward the underdog. We want to root for them because we see ourselves in them and feel devastated when they can’t get what they want. As the story progresses, we soon find that Millie isn’t as innocent as we painted her to be. After all, there’s a reason she’s so adamant about keeping her past a secret.

Other than Millie, Nina also does a great job of subverting expectations. In most movies and shows, many people would hate the “mean and spoiled” housewife. Nina, a nobody before her marriage to Andrew, also has an exciting background story. While Millie is undoubtedly the main character, Nina steals the show in the latter part of the book, making it a fun read for many. There’s a reason why she is the way she is, and it was exciting when we finally uncovered her past in the book’s later part.

The progression of the story’s focus from Millie to Nina is also well done. While it may be jarring at first to immediately shift from Millie’s point of view to Nina’s in the latter part of the story, readers will soon realize that this sudden shift sets the tone of the climax. As the book reaches its natural conclusion, “The Housewife” leaves an opening for a sequel.

Since this is the series’ first book, new readers can expect this to be the foundation for the author’s later works. However, “The Housemaid” can also be read as a stand-alone since the writer does a great job tying up loose ends with most characters. This book is a must-read if you like a domestic thriller with intriguing female characters.

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