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The Housekeeper: A Novel Paperback – February 28, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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"[The Housekeeper] will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page." (Buzzfeed)
"An addictively dark tale full of psychological drama, long-hidden secrets, and the dangers of fabricating a pristine public façade, The Housekeeper will satisfy any reader’s cravings for family drama." (Redbook)
"From the first page to last, this adrenaline-teasing psychological thriller will keep you distracted (hopefully from your obligatory lover) until the last page is fervently consumed." (PopSugar)
“Suellen Dainty has created such a sense of place and lifestyle here that I genuinely wouldn't have minded if nothing happened. I was as entranced as Anne by the languorous half-lived lives of her employers and their offspring, the ramshackle house with its stained curtains and rickety chairs, the grumpy dog, the slapdash parties and peculiar friends. I wanted Anne’s job, I wanted to fold up their laundry and hear their secrets, let them unburden themselves to me. The fact that there was also a rip-roaring story of shocking betrayal and childhood trauma underpinning the whole thing was just the cherry on top. I loved, loved, loved this book and cannot recommend it highly enough" (Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of The Girls in the Garden)
"In The Housekeeper, Dainty writes with such nuance that I felt completely submerged in the Helmsley's world. I actually loved the characters of Emma and Rob, until of course, I hated them. And even after all is revealed, they act with such infuriating obliviousness, I couldn't help but fly through the pages, anxious for them to receive their just desserts. Gorgeous writing, wonderful characterization, immersive atmosphere and a final twist that I did not see coming! " (Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year)
"Mesmerizing suspense...readers will relate to the very human Anne as she struggles to gain her emotional balance." (Publishers Weekly)
“Completely addicting...Somewhere between chick lit and tense psychological thriller, The Housekeeper is a tantalizing glimpse into the everyday lives of the rich and famous--and the people who work for them.” (Shelf Awareness)
"Highly anticipated...nuanced and nail-biting." (Good Housekeeping)
"A nightmarish domestic drama with a cryptically rattling ending that proves the messiest of secrets never disappear, The Housekeeper is this season's most addictive plot." (SheKnows)
"Suellen Dainty challenges her readers by questioning the canard that a neat house leads to a productive life...As secrets emerge, The Housekeeper imperceptibly shifts into psychological thriller mode. Dainty’s precise details of everyday life enrich a psychological canvas for a story that’s impossible to put down." (Criminal Element)
"Give this to your family-drama aficionados." (Booklist)
“A compelling set up, intriguing characters, expertly handled plot, full of sharp details and insight. I couldn't stop reading it!” (Lottie Moggach, author of Kiss Me First)
"The Housekeeper is a tense, compelling story of memory, madness and family secrets. Dainty’s lush prose drew me into an orderly, domestic world where eerie images of the past lurk beneath charming, polished surfaces. You will fall under this novel’s urgent spell—page by page to its shattering betrayal—and will not be able to pull yourself away." (Karen Brown, author of The Longings of Wayward Girls)
"Suspenseful and intriguing, wise, funny, and shocking. Beautifully written, this is a thriller for an age obsessed with celebrity--and all too ready to give its heart away to glamourous gurus." (Elisabeth Gifford, author of The Sea House)
"Smart, compelling and a little bit different." (Red Magazine (UK))
"An ominous sense of foreboding chasing you to turn pages throughout, there’s plenty here to enjoy." (Heat (UK))
"Full of recognisable well-drawn characters and there's a feeling of Gothic doom." (Grazia (UK))
"This tale of betrayal is a poignant take on the millennial obsession with celebrity. Beautifully written with intriguing characters." (The Lady (UK))
About the Author
Suellen Dainty is the author of the novel After Everything. An Australian, she is a former writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian and worked for the ABC before moving to London more than 25 years ago to work for Sky News, where she was a producer and director of the original series of The Book Show. She has studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford and Bath Spa University. She lives in London. Find out more at SuellenDainty.com.
Top customer reviews
Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life in a hectic world. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic, and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime, and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide. And Anne’s own disturbing past soon threatens to unhinge everything…
My Thoughts: In the beginning, The Housekeeper: A Novel seemed to be a book about one young woman’s love gone wrong, and how she found a way to start over as a domestic helper for a famous blogger and her psychologist husband.
But soon we are swept up into a gradual process of enmeshment, as the Helmsley family come to expect more and more from Anne, while making it seem as though they are doing her a favor by making her feel like family. But Anne does not notice the subtle expectations, since she admires Emma and Rob and the life they have created, and being a part of it all feels so good.
When Anne has some memory flashes, it seems natural that she would ask her boss, the psychologist, for his opinions. What will happen next? Will the horrors of her childhood change everything about the life she has recreated?
I was blown away by how the story played out, and could not stop reading it. I was furious with Emma and Rob, and how they played on Anne’s need for family. They seemingly brought her into the cozy circle that was developing between them, when, in fact, they were using her to carry out the façade of the perfect family/professional couple. She did a good job of glossing over their imperfections by keeping their lives running smoothly, and what they gave her in return was betrayal.
Skillfully wrought, the story aroused emotions, kept me engaged, and left me with much more to think about. In the end, there was a sense of closure that I didn’t see coming, and it felt good. A 5 star read for me.
That said, this is a well written story about a family and a woman who would like a family. The author does a beautiful job of portraying each character as flawed and perfect, in other words, real. The need to belong and accepted provides the undercurrent as the story flows toward the conflict. Very believable. I loved it. (It reminds me of some of Joanna Trollope's books minus the romance.)