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Messy Marriage? Millie Has You Covered: 'The Housemaid' Book Review

by Sharon Sharpe

by Freida McFadden

It’s Gone Girl with an interesting twist…

I must say it’s been quite some time since I’ve read a book cover to cover within a few days and by few, I mean, 72 hours. What an amazing read and best of all, it’s written for the big screen. Sure, as of late more authors are adapting this new way of writing that is simplified for audiences—Lisa with Winter’s Tulips and Zoje with Baby Teeth. It helps to keep audiences engaged, thrilled, and without question, learning.

The Housemaid is the new book on the block that is giving Gone Girl a run for its money. Author Frieda McFadden takes us into the home of The Winchesters—a wealthy family who from the outside looking in is just a family in need of some help with the household chores. Nina Winchester is stylish and at best, a kept woman. She is not asked to work or maintain the household responsibilities as her seemingly wonderful husband, Andrew or “Andy” is so understanding, charming, and diligent that he has no problem being the provider to both her and her daughter, Cecelia.

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Millie is introduced as a primary character with a secondary role. This is not often done in most books, but McFadden takes a chance and succeeds. We meet Millie who has recently been released from jail, residing in her car and is down on her luck as she searches tirelessly for a new job. Incarcerated for ten years of her life, now 27 or 28 years old she is ecstatic to learn she will be serving the Winchesters as their live-in housemaid.

I think this is brilliant writing and oftentimes what we look for in scripts—a protagonist with a problem, presented a solution that comes with some doubt/hesitation, as in “is this too good to be true”, a rising resolution and then the climax explaining why our protagonist had every right to be skeptical in the first place.

But while this plot may sound simple enough, it meticulously sets us up for a series unbeknownst to the main character herself. Millie is not just a housemaid, she is the “replacement”. Readers are taken on this journey through the lens of both Millie and Nina—the housemaid and the wife.

For half of the book we are on the side of the housemaid because of how unfairly she is treated by Nina. At some point we root for her and Andrew to succeed in their deception—thinking Nina to be a malicious and unhinged housewife who should not even be allowed custody of her daughter let alone the love from such an endearing and attentive husband, Andy.

Millie, however, is the wild card. She is what comes out of nowhere to give him a dose of his own medicine and does it effortlessly. Women who find themselves in abusive marriages or relationships will soon find themselves rooting for Millie and looking to her as a haven. Love can be perpetually blinding while lust is a transient feeling. Immediately, the roles are reversed and we see how one woman does what another woman was too frightened and scared too do. This is a thriller with a great message for all women.

Now, according to Deadline, two-time Emmy nominee Rebecca Sonnenshine (The Boys) is set to pen a feature adaptation of The Housemaid for Lionsgate. If you give this story a read you will not regret it. I felt a plethora of emotions—sadness, joy, and anxiety.

At some point, I was not sure who to root for, by no means do we ever condone infidelity but the build-up for this story was done so well that as readers we ended up hating the very person we should be rooting for…but McFadden catches us right on time. She does not allow it to go that far. A three-part thriller with a great twist and amazing characters, do yourself a favor and add this to the summer reading list. You will not regret it.


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