The Housemaid

By Freida McFadden

A rich handsome man – a bitchy wife – a beautiful young housemaid who is on parole.

What’s the worst that could happen?


Wilhelmina (Millie) Calloway is on parole after serving ten years in prison. She has found it difficult to get and keep a job. She is currently living in her car.

When she interviews for the job of housemaid for the Winchester’s she thinks her worries are over.

Nina, Andrew, and their daughter Cecelia live in a gorgeous gated two-story home. Her job is to keep it clean, run errands, cook, and sometimes watch Cecelia.

The home has a master bedroom, Cecelia’s bedroom, a guestroom, and a home theater all on the second floor. Millie is shown to her room in the attic by way of a narrow dark stair way. The room is tiny with a lumpy cot, a light with a pull string, a window that was painted shut, and a door that locks on the outside.

It doesn’t take long for Millie to discover why she was so lucky to get this job. She arrives her first day to a total pigsty. The house was immaculate when she met with Nina for her interview but now it is a mess. Her first day is cleaning the entire house and she admits that when she is through, she is proud of the work she has done. She goes to bed feeling good.

The next morning, she wakes up to Nina yelling in the kitchen. Millie walks into a total mess. Supposedly Nina has lost her notes for her afternoon PTA meeting and she is sure that Millie has thrown them away. In her search of the kitchen, Nina has knocked everything off the counters, dumped all of the food from the refrigerator as well as pouring out all of the milk.

Nina threatens to fire Millie until Andrew walks in and manages to calm his wife down. Millie cleans the kitchen and fixes breakfast for the family.

Nina continues to act kind one minute and yell at Millie the next. Nina is a cruel person and if there were any way out, Millie would leave but because she is on parole, her parole officer could make her go back to prison if she doesn’t have anywhere to live. She lucked out that she got a job before the system found out that she’d been living in her car.

While cleaning, Millie notices Nina’s medicine cabinet and the fact that she is on a lot of medication that appears to be related to mental health.

While waiting to pick up Cecelia, one of Nina’s friends tells Millie that Nina had spent time in an asylum for trying to drown Cecelia and kill herself. This makes Millie feel even less safe in the home.

She has a chance meeting with the gardener, Enzo. He is a gorgeous Italian man who doesn’t speak English. He is so good looking that all of Nina’s friends have hired him to do their yard work also.

Enzo acts like he is trying to warn Millie that she needs to leave. Because of their inability to communicate it takes her a while to translate a word he says on her phone. She learns that it means danger. But their inability to communicate prevents him from telling her why she is in danger. Every time they try to talk, Nina catches them and Enzo acts as if he is afraid of her.

The rest of the book is a slow burn as her life in the home becomes a living hell. Even Cecelia hates her and often causes her to get in trouble for little things like accusing her of trying to feed her peanut butter when she has a nut allergy.

Her only ally is Andrew. She admits she is attracted to him but Andrew obviously loves Nina and Millie is a good person and knows Andrew has no reason to be interested in her.

The story twists and turns in unexpected ways. As a reader you’re not sure who you can trust, and you become concerned for Millie’s safety as Nina spirals deeper into madness. Nina becomes a more dangerous threat once she lets it slip to Andrew that Millie had spent time in prison. Millie fears the news will turn him against her and she will really be all alone.

When Millie wakes up one night to go to the bathroom and discovers that her bedroom door is locked she starts going into panic mode.

The book has a good surprise ending. It was unexpected and it held a hint as to what Millie may be involved in with the next book.


I discovered this book by watching book reviewers on YouTube. Lots of people like it. This was a good read and I think Freida McFadden is an author to follow. I plan to read the next in this series.

It was another book that I stayed up way too late to finish reading. (I really need to stop doing that.) The characters are fully developed. I liked that they all had flaws, including Millie.

At first, I wasn’t sure what was going on, but the story had a good hook and it reeled me in. As the story unfolds, it slowly starts to make sense and with each chapter I couldn’t put it down. I was invested and wanted to know where it would go.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers and good mysteries. It is fast paced. I didn’t find the story predictable. It kept me guessing to the end.

I rated this book four stars. It is something I might read again but the second time as a writer to see exactly how the author did a few things.

Title: The Housemaid

Author: Freida McFadden

Year Published: April 26, 2022

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Rating: Goodreads 4.36

Setting: Winchester Home

About the author:

Freida McFadden is a multi-award winning and nominated author, a practicing physician specializing in brain injury who has written multiple psychological thrillers and medical humor novels.

She lives with her family and a black cat in a centuries old home overlooking the ocean. She says it has a set of stairs that creak and moan and if you scream, no one will hear you. Unless you scream loudly.

Coming Soon:

A tour of Wall of Books – a local bookstore I visit often.

Please subscribe and share with other book lovers. Check out my older posts. You can suggest my blog to other book lovers. A direct link is Let me know of a book you read that I might like. If I read and review it, I’ll give you a shout out for your suggestion.

Happy Reading,


This Book Was So Good, I Finished It in a Day

The premise of this book is – what happens when a reviewer gives a one-star review and suspects that the author might be stalking her?

I can’t speak for all book reviewers, but I feel like I must give an honest review of each book. I also don’t want to discourage or malign an author. So far, I have never given a one-star review.

I have given a two-star review once but never a one-star review. To be honest, I didn’t feel good about the two-star review either. If I struggle to finish a book, it will go on my DNF shelf on Goodreads. It might be something I am just not in the mood to read right now or it might be something I never want to see again.

Thankfully we don’t all have the same tastes, and I may not like something that someone else loves, that is fine.

If I did give a bad review, I would hope that I could do it in a constructive way that was not personal.

If it sounds like I might be a little paranoid about giving a bad review, you might be right and it’s all because of reading this book.


Emma Carpenter is house sitting in a lake home on an isolated beach in Washington state with her dog, hiding out. She spends her days reading cheap e-books. Either .99 cent or free because that is all her budget will allow. We don’t know why she is hiding out. When she isn’t reading, she is communicating with her only neighbor who lives a quarter of a mile away.

They communicate with white boards and nautical telescopes. They play a lot of hangman. Deek the old neighbor guy always wins. Deek is curious about Emma and invites her to meet in person and have some tea. She declines.

We know that Emma is depressed, and she keeps a backpack handy, filled with rocks. She also dreams about walking out into the waves with that backpack on and drowning herself.

If things weren’t bad enough. Deek recommends a book to Emma called Murder Mountain. She reads it and it is the worst book she has ever read. Now Emma has never written a book review before but because she is not in a good place, she writes a scathing review.

Shortly after she receives a response from the author who orders her to take the review down. She refuses. He responds with a few scathing remarks as well. She deletes their conversation and figures that’s the end of that.

If that was the only thing she had to worry about, she would be okay but lately she has been finding it hard to sleep. She has woken up a couple times in the past few nights and she swears she saw someone standing in her bedroom, watching her.

She sometimes hears the second bathroom toilet flush when she knows she is the only one there. And the owner’s teenage son’s room is just creepy.

When the motion detector lights start going off at night and Deek’s ring camera catches a man with a devil mask Emma starts feeling less safe. Deek contacts Jules, the home’s owner and Jules lets Emma know that she ordered a stun gun to be delivered.

Eventually we find out what is going on but that last quarter of the book had so many twists that I kept thinking I had it figured out but then something totally unexpected happened again and again.

I read this book in one day so you can guess that I was up late. I literally had heart palpitations so bad, I had to put it down and finish it in the morning. It was like that feeling you get when you are on a roller coaster going down that first big hill. You can’t wait to go down it, but you wonder if you will survive. Since I wear an Apple watch, trust me, I checked my heart rate, and I had reason to be concerned.


This is one of two books I’ve read so far this year, that I have said were my favorite books and to be honest it is still a toss-up, but I think this one may be inching into first place. I literally could not put this book down until I had finished it and then I felt bad it was over. This is one that I will read again. I gave this book five stars.

If you are looking for escape and you love a little mystery, suspense and tension, you really should read this book. I had never heard of this author, but I am so glad that I have now. Look forward to his backlist. He will probably become an automatic buy for me now.

Title: The Last Word

Author: Taylor Adams

Published: April 25, 2023

Category: Mystery Thriller

Pages: 340

Rating: Goodreads rated 3.97 stars

Setting: Washington Coast

About the Author:

I don’t have a lot of information about Taylor Adams. Here is the bio on the back of this book:

Taylor Adams is the author of several acclaimed thrillers including Hairpin Bridge and No Exit. No Exit has been published in thirty-two languages and was recently released as a Hulu Original film. Adams lives in Washington State.

I watched a couple of YouTube video interviews. He is married with a child, and he writes full-time. Also, he used his own dog, Laika’s name as Emma Carpenter’s dog. He originally planned to use it as a place holder until he could decide on a name but then changed his mind and decided to keep his dog in the book.

Coming Soon:

I have read so many good books this month and I have so many more to read. My next review will be Rose Cottage – by Mary Stewart.

I attended another AVID (Authors Visiting in Des Moines) book event this week. The author was Emily St John Mandel. Her most recent book is Sea of Tranquility. It is not a genre I generally read (metaphysical speculative fiction) but I did purchase it and will review later. Barack Obama included the novel on his list of favorite books of 2022. Those events are always fun. They usually draw a few hundred people. They are held at the downtown library and this week the weather was warm. The authors usually talk about their writing routines and sometimes about what inspires them. I always leave anxious to get back to my own projects.

I hope you find time this week to read and write and I look forward to sharing more information soon.


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