The Maidens

Anything that’s comped even remotely to The Secret History is an auto-read in my books, but since I really enjoyed The Silent Patient last year, I decided I had to prioritize time to read Alex Michaelides’ new book, The Maidens. Ultimately, it was a solid 4.4 star read for me. A good thriller, a semi-satisfying ending, but several things thrown in that made it a bit…much, at times.

Mariana is a Greek-born group therapist, but of course, she has inherited money, so she doesn’t really HAVE to work. That boons well for her, because she ends up hurrying off to Cambridge a few chapters into the novel to console her niece, Zoe. To back up for a moment, Mariana is still recovering from the grief of losing her husband, Sebastian, on a vacation in Greece, both of her parents are dead, and she has no children, so she is of course eager to hurry and help Zoe, the daughter of her sister who died, along with her husband, in a car crash some years before. Zoe’s friend, Tara, has been brutally murdered and found just off campus–stabbed through, almost ritualistically. Zoe tells Mariana that the night Tara was murdered, she told Zoe she was afraid of a well-known, enigmatic, American professor on campus–Edward Fosca. And so begins Mariana’s entanglement in the case, and as more girls die, Mariana becomes more and more entrenched in campus life–seeing colleagues at crime scenes, trying to conduct group therapy with Edward Fosca’s special group of students, and even making friends, and enemies, with others on campus. Ultimately, of course, Mariana’s own life becomes endangered, and the ending is exactly the kind of bonkers twist, that somehow clicks, you’d expect of this author.

The reason this gets comp’d to Secret History is because of the ouevre of Cambridge, an enigmatic professor, Fosca, and his “small group” of female student known as The Maidens who study Greek tragedy together, show up to funerals in all white, etc. But Mariana, as our narrator, is an outsider of the Maidens, so it’s not as Secret History-esque as you might hope. It’s much more in the vein of The Silent Patient, with a college setting. Mariana’s a therapist with her own problems, there’s dead people lurking in the shadows, a few red herrings about who the culprit might be, and the ultimately the BIG reveal, and the visit to the psych ward at the end that leaves the reader wandering what will happen next.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

*

*
*
*
*
*

To touch, briefly on what didn’t work for me about this–it was Fred, the entire existence of him. I get the use of him as a red herring, but Mariana randomly wondering if she’s in love with him? Him declaring marriage? I’m confused. TBH, I was sure he was a figment of Mariana’s imagination until he got stabbed.

*

*

*
*
*
*

Anyway, a 4.4 star read from me–fans of The Silent Patient will love this one too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s