REVIEW: THE HOUSEKEEPER, BY JOY FIELDING

In the end, I have only myself to blame. I’m the one who let her in.

Jodi Bishop knows success. She’s the breadwinner, a top-notch real estate agent. Her husband, Harrison . . . not so much. Once, he had big dreams. But now, he’s a middling writer who resents his wife’s success.

Jodi’s father, Vic, now in his late seventies and retired, is a very controlling man. His wife, Audrey, was herself no shrinking violet. But things changed when Audrey developed Parkinson’s ten years ago and Vic retired to devote himself to her care. But while still reasonably spry and rakishly handsome, Vic is worn down by his wife’s deteriorating condition.

Exhausted from trying to balance her career, her family, and her parents’ needs, Jodi starts interviewing housekeepers to help care for Audrey and Vic. She settles on Elyse Woodley, an energetic and attractive widow in her early sixties, who seems perfect for the job. While Vic is initially resistant, he soon warms to Elyse’s sunny personality and engaging ways.

And Jodi is pleased to have an ally, someone she can talk to and occasionally even confide in. Until . . .

She shuts Jodi out. And Audrey’s condition worsens—rapidly. Who is this woman suddenly wearing her mother’s jewelry? What is she after? And how far will she go to get it?

 

an interior journey thoughts

Almost from the very beginning of The Housekeeper, red flags begin to appear, and we are reminded of that saying: “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

As I rapidly turned the pages, wondering what would happen next, I knew that nothing good would come down this pathway. And along the way, other twists appeared to reveal more and more.

I was breathless by the end but satisfied by how it all unfolded. Despite those who did not survive, of course. A 5 star read for me.

***

REVIEW: THE LAST MRS. PARRISH, BY LIV CONSTANTINE

 

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

My Thoughts: The first half of The Last Mrs. Parrish is told from Amber’s perspective, and while we know that she is manipulative and has a big plan, one that will take her to the life she wants, there are also hints of a life she left behind. A life full of secrets.

Just when it looks like she is right where she wants to be, the story turns around and we see life from the perspective of Daphne, who is not quite the happy woman she appears to be. Her secrets and what she has done to keep them hidden make everything about this story surreal.

Who is the unreliable narrator? What are Amber’s secrets? And how will the two so-called best friends resolve these issues? I couldn’t stop turning the pages, waiting for the final twist that would bring the future that they each deserved. Would justice finally prevail? A tale that had me smiling at the end. 4.5 stars.***

REVIEW: BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP, BY S. J. WATSON

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Every day that Christine Lucas awakens, her mind is blank. Any memories or thoughts from the day before, or any previous days, are wiped clean. Erased. This has been her life for more than twenty years, and the man who wakes up with her is called Ben. He says he is her husband.

Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel is a nightmare. A story that can make the reader increasingly paranoid, as each day seems to bring snippets of a truth, but is it really the truth, or lies masquerading as truth? Why is Ben lying to Christine? Is Dr. Nash, who comes to collect her and calls each day to tell her where to find the journal she is keeping, also lying? Is anything real? Or is she imagining even the things she believes she knows? Are the journal entries even true? Or did she fictionalize everything?

We don’t learn what really happened to Christine until much later, and then many of the pieces are missing. Just when we think we have it all figured out, a massive surprise blindsides us. Even when I suspected more was amiss, I wasn’t sure until almost the end. A horror tale of a life gone wrong, with little hope of anything going right again.

Suspenseful, frightening, and ultimately, a relief…once we begin to understand. Some aspects of the story seemed too pat, in the end, falling together too neatly. But by then, I was just happy for the nightmare to end. 4.0 stars.