Reviewed by me and on this week’s The Short List-recent books under ten dollars

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid has garnered so much praise both before and after publication. It is a book that is definitely worth reading. Those who enjoy The Thursday Murder Club and Ruth Galloway mysteries are certain to love this novel with it quirky, idiosyncratic and (morally) good protagonist.

Molly sees the world in her own way. She appears to be “on the spectrum,” though I hate to use that term and do not want to make Molly anything other than the unique woman that she is. Molly has trouble reading social cues and people’s facial expressions. This can lead to her being naively trusting. Molly speaks with a beautifully old fashioned syntax and sometimes makes rhymes as, for example, “a tissue for your issue.”

Molly lives with her grandmother who works as a domestic. Molly is herself a maid, working at the Grand Hotel. It is a job that suits her orderly personality and Molly takes great pride in her work. (She will hopefully leave readers with more respect for those who toil in hotels for the benefit of the guests).

Molly becomes involved in a series of events that leave her in over her head. There were times when I wanted to yell “stop” to Molly when she trusted some of the hotel staff and guests but, of course, could not do so. The fact that I wanted to is a tribute to the author’s ability to create characters for whom readers will care.

Who will protect Molly? Will she get out of this mess? Will she or the hotel ever be the same? Read this charming, heartfelt novel to find out. To use one of Molly’s favorite words, it is “delightful.”

I sincerely hope that the author’s next book is published soon. I give this first novel of hers five stars.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

greenwich park by katherine faulkner

Greenwich Park is the London neighborhood that readers get to know well over the course of this domestic thriller. This is the first novel by Katherine Faulkner but I feel that she has done her research on how to write this type of popular book.

Readers get to know a number of women in this story that is told in alternating voices. That, of course, does not tell readers who is truthful or what exactly will happen. There are:

Helen-She finally seems to be having a successful pregnancy after heartache. Her husband seems to work late an awful lot of nights. Keep an eye out for his computer.

Serena: She is also pregnant with a baby due not so long after Helen’s. She is married to one of Helen’s brothers. What is the meaning of the note that is secreted in a cupboard and that has the initial W?

Katie: She is a reporter covering a rape case in which the accused are public school boys. She is involved with Helen’s other brother, Charlie.

These characters all know and interact with one another. Into this mix comes Rachel.

Rachel attaches herself to Helen in an ante-natal group and soon insidiously makes her way into Helen’s life. Who is her baby’s father? Rachel is portrayed as manipulative, presumptuous and able to insinuate her way into other’s lives. Why does she want to be with this group?

Helen, Serena and their respective partners all went to Cambridge together. What happened when they were there? How will that resonate in the present day? Readers know from the first chapter’s first sentence that someone is in jail but who is it and why? Pick up the novel to find out.

I enjoyed this book. I was taken in by its sense of menace, often finding myself wanting to warn the characters. I thought I knew what would happen. Will you feel this way? Will you be right?

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.

Author: joycesmysteryandfictionbookreviews

I love to read, recommend books and open the world of reading to others. I tutor to ensure that the next generation of readers will know the joys of a good book because their reading skills have improved. I am an avid reader, especially of mysteries and fiction. I believe that two of the world's greatest inventions were the public library and eyeglasses!

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