The Bottom Line: Filled with jaw-dropping shockers, The Housemaid’s Secret is a must-read.
As housemaid Millie struggles to find gainful employment without being questioned about her murky past, she feels fortunate when the affluent Garrick family hires her to clean their luxurious penthouse and prepare sumptuous meals in their shiny kitchen. It seems like the perfect job for Millie, who plans to keep a low profile until she can earn a degree and become a social worker.
But something seems off. Millie has yet to meet Mrs. Garrick, and she can’t shake the feeling that there’s something strange going on in the guest bedroom. She hears muffled crying and discovers bloodstains on Mrs. Garrick’s pristine white nightgowns. Unable to resist her curiosity, Millie gently pushes open the door. What she finds inside changes everything.
With a newfound determination to protect Mrs. Garrick and keep her own secrets hidden, Millie makes a promise to herself. She’s been in this situation before and knows exactly how to proceed. But as she delves deeper into the Garrick family’s dark secrets, Millie realizes that Douglas Garrick is a man who must be held accountable for his transgressions, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure he pays the price.
Except that nothing Millie experiences is really as it seems.
The Housemaid’s Secret may be a sequel, but author Freida McFadden has cleverly constructed the book with new fans in mind. Millie’s “dark secret” is expertly held from readers (and her love interest) until deep into the story. In addition, a prior love interest is fleshed out with just enough detail to keep readers wanting more. Readers can easily enjoy the novel as a stand-alone.
While Millie is big-hearted, her behavior is also maddening. While most of the choices she makes are ill-advised, her misadventures get her into a lot of hot water, which is a recipe for suspense. Ultimately, whether readers root for Millie or not may depend on how much appetite they have for women who treat men badly (only an absolute saint would put up with what she puts her loyal boyfriend through). With that said, McFadden’s plot is so ingenious that Millie’s likability is almost a non-factor. Highly recommended.