I have to say, I really didn’t like this book. I feel bad because I wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t. I know that authors put a ton of work into their books, so I’m going to do my best to look at this book critically but also respectfully.
The Housekeeper is about a woman named Anne who has a job as a high profile chef at a popular London restaurant. When she learns her long term boyfriend, the head chef at the restaurant, is cheating on her, she quits her job. Too embarrassed to continue working in the culinary scene, she takes a job as the house cleaner to popular lifestyle blogger Emma and her husband Rob. Eventually she learns that everyone is keeping secrets, but that Rob might be the key to helping her understand her past through helping her find out who her father was.
The Housekeeper was positioned at a “nail biting psychological thriller” and I can’t disagree with that statement enough. Not only was it not nail biting, I wouldn’t even consider it a thriller. It was barely even a mystery. The only outstanding question was who Anne’s father was. She’d never met him and her mother died when she was young, so she never knew. Other than that, nothing happened in the book. The entire first half was Anne leaving her job, starting the new job, and talking about how much she loved the family. There was zero suspense, because there was no aspect of the book that hinged on a big reveal. No murder, no kidnapping, no stalkers…nothing. To be honest, if this hadn’t been a book I’d received from Netgalley, I wouldn’t have finished it, and I rarely don’t finish a book, so that says a lot.
The characters were okay. I liked Anne, but couldn’t stand her “best friend” Jude. She was incredibly negative and unsupportive and constantly criticized Anne for working as a housekeeper. I get wanting the best for your friend, but they didn’t have any conversations that weren’t centered on Jude putting Anne down. Emma seemed off, which made her hard to like. She had no idea what was going on in her children’s lives, and basically pretended to be the perfect homemaker even though she hires someone else to do the cooking and cleaning and is super scatterbrained.
Lastly, the writing felt really hard for me to get through, and I can’t put my finger on why. I normally read really quickly, but here I felt like I was trudging through the book super slowly. The sentence structure was fine, so it wasn’t the grammar, but there was something about the flow and the word choices that just felt off. There were many pages at a time there there’d be no dialogue for 3-5 pages, which felt unnecessary, too. The last 20% of the book was easier to read -there were two “twists” toward the end of the book, but the first was such a small piece of the story and had no bearing on any other event, or even on Anne’s life. It didn’t directly impact her at all. The second was so far toward the end of the book that it felt irrelevant at that point, and felt like it was thrown in to give closure to the story.
This really wasn’t the book for me, so I hope it’s a better fit if you choose to read it. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’d recommend this one. Thank you to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book. It was my pleasure to provide an honest review. The Housekeeper has an expected publication date of February 28, 2017.