The readers of the novel The Housemaid left the readers confused as to what exactly happened in the last few chapters of it. Well, if you love reading psychological novels, you will love reading The Housemaid, which is written by Freida McFadden. The author writes in a singular voice with extravagant and offbeat scenarios throughout the novel.
The book changes scenarios faster than the readers are able to read, thus keeping the readers engaged and excited to know what happens in the end. The Housemaid received a great response from the readers as it kept them readers at the edge and excited to know what happens to Millie, the protagonist of the novel. The psychological thriller is a specialty of Freida McFadden, and she did justice with her novel The Housemaid.
The Housemaid has elements of gaslighting while it lightly touches the theme of abuse, desperation, and manipulation. The Housemaid was made available to readers in 2022. The novel had psychological elements gently wrapped around it, and that was the element that intrigued the reader. The Housemaid has a total of 338 pages, as it perfectly expresses the jealousy and greed one has through its pages.
The novel’s center character and plot revolves around Millie, a woman on parole taking up a nominal job as a maid in the Winchester mansion, and as we turn the pages, we get to know both the employ and the employee are hiding secrets of their own.
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The novel’s prologue introduces the readers to a maid worried about getting arrested after a body is discovered in the house she used to work in. As the reader continues to read the novel, they get to know the story behind this incident. The readers have introduced to Wilhelmina “Millie,” the lead character of the novel, who is interviewing for a job for the rich middle-aged woman known by the name of Nina.
Millie interviews for the position of live-in housekeeper and gets hired for the job despite being on parole and having a criminal record. Nina gives Millie a tiny room in the attic that can only be locked from the outside. Millie asks for the keys to the room that Nina provides her with, alongside giving her a new phone. Enzo, a landscaper, warns Millie of the underlying dangers of working in the mansion, and after a few more pages, Millie finally meets Andrew, Nina’s husband, and their daughter Cecelia, who is nine years old.
Millie begins her job and starts to clean the filthy house and cook for the family. As the family sits to enjoy dinner, Nina becomes irritated after Andrew compliments Millie’s cooking. At night Millie needs to use the bathroom, but the door knob sticks, thus leading to Millie panicking. Nina has unpredictable hot and cold behavior towards Millie, where sometimes she would be warm to Millie by giving her old clothes and insisting that she calls her Nina, while other times she would accuse Millie of things she didn’t do.
Nina keeps making messes for Millie to clean. Cecelia, on the other hand, is a spoiled brat, and the only person to appreciate Millie’s hard work is Andrew. Cecelia’s nanny informs Millie about Nina suffering from mental illness. Millie also learns Nina had to spend time in a psychiatric hospital after she tried to end her daughter’s life. As the readers move forward, they get to know that Andrew and Nina are trying to conceive a child, as the couple separately confides in Millie.
Andrew is excited to become a father for the first time, as Cecelia isn’t biologically his. It is revealed that Nina cannot carry a child naturally, as determined by a fertility specialist, and the couple is heartbroken. The same night Nina rages at Andrew and accuses him of being happy with a younger woman.
To console a heartbroken Nina, Andrew asks Millie to book tickets to the Broadway show, but Nina cleverly avoids going to it. In turn, Andrew takes Millie to the show, where the two enjoy each other’s company and end up having sex.
The duo decided that they could never have sex again and to hide the information of their one-night stand from Nina. Millie soon comes to a realization that Nina knows about her and Andrew, and Nina makes her life unbearable until Andrew asks her to move out. Once Nina is out of the house, Millie prepares to enter the main house, and the couple begins to sleep together.
Andrew also fires Enzo as he informs Millie that he wants to give them a real shot at being a couple. On her grocery run, Millie accidentally encounters Nina’s friend, who informs her about Nina having a tracking app installed on Millie’s phone.
Did Nina And Millie Escape Andrew?
As the readers read further, they get to know Nina’s perspective, and it gets revealed Nina had to drop out of college after she became pregnant from a one-night stand. She starts working for a company where she meets Andrew, the CEO of the said company. As Andrew, a charming man, asks her out, she becomes infatuated with him. After the courtship period is over, the couple gets married, and Andrew reveals his true color. Andrew is a sadist who often locks Nina in the attic, where he tortures her for minor faults.
In one event, Andrew drugs Nina and Cecelia, after which he puts the baby in the bathtub to make it look like Nina did it. This ends with Nina being admitted to a psychiatric ward, thus ensuring no one would believe her if she admits to the abuse. Nina confides in Enzo, who decides to help Nina escape as he has lost his sister to her husband’s abuse. Nina hires Millie after investigating her and getting to know that Millie has a history of retaliating against people who have done her wrong.
It gets revealed Nina planned all along to replace herself with Millie, and she deliberately makes Millie hate her to make her appear like a victim. Now, the first time Andrew tries to abuse Millie, it doesn’t end well for him. The moment he returns, and tells Millie to balance heavy books on her stomach after she forgets to replace the books. Andrew keeps making her repeat the exercise after she fails the first time.
The moment Andrew opens the door to the attic, Millie pepper sprays him and steals his phone as she walks out, locking him in the attic. She begins to torture Andrew in a similar manner. At the same time, Enzo keeps an eye on the house and becomes worried for Millie as she hasn’t left the house for a long time. Nina returns after Enzo calls her to rescue Millie at an empty house.
Nina goes to the attic to rescue Millie, only to discover Andrew’s decomposing body. Millie confesses to locking him in the attic, and Nina asks her to leave as she doesn’t want Millie to suffer the consequences of her choice. As the detective interrogates Nina, it gets revealed his daughter was also engaged to Andrew at one point in time, but she escaped in time.
The revelation is made that the police didn’t take Nina’s claim seriously as the Winchesters had the power over them. The detective rules Andrew’s death as an accident. The main villain of the novel is revealed at the end, and as it turns out, it is none other than Evelyn Winchester, Andrew’s mother.
Evelyn used to punish Andrew in a similar way Andrew tortured Nina when he was a child. Evelyn praises Nina for stepping up and disciplining Andrew with death. The novel ends with Nina and her daughter moving to California, while Millie lives a happy life with the money Nina keeps sending her after Andrew’s death. The twist comes in the end when Millie is giving an interview to a woman Nina recommended her to, and Millie realizes the woman is getting abused. Thus she reassures her of an escape.