I am your maid. I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry. But what do you know about me?
Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice? But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She’s just a maid – but what can she see that others overlook?
Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how everyone deserves to be seen. And how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .
Molly is described by one character as an old soul in a young body and this description is perfect. Quirky, old-fashioned and innocent would also be apt adjectives to apply. As is often the case, what makes Molly such a unique and delightful character to read about, are the very things which are used against her in the plot. It is obvious, almost from page one, that Molly is going to get herself into trouble because she simply doesn't see the world in the same way as everyone else does. Her charming naivety allows more cynical characters to take advantage of her and although it makes for a thrilling and heart-stopping read, it also makes me really sad to think that there are people to whom this kind of thing happens and unlike in fiction, there isn't always a friendly face there, ready to step in and get them out of the mess they've got themselves into.
Some characters are set up from the start as 'the bad guys' while others take time to show their true colours and again, this reflects real life. I really felt for Molly when she discovered that those she thought she could trust, were not only unworthy of her trust, but also had actively been working against her. Her confusion and and hurt really leap out at the reader and the feelings of protectiveness and sympathy that have been building for her, really come to the fore by the middle of the book.
Before I began reading, I'd seen Molly described as being a little bit like Eleanor Oliphant and again, I think the comparison is an apt one. However, the key difference is that Molly seems far more alone than Eleanor ever did. She doesn't see the overtures of friendship which are made to her and her circumstances are such that the people with whom she might be friends, aren't initially able to pursue that potential friendship.
Once the main event has happened, which is about halfway through the book, the pace picks up dramatically and the second half all happens very quickly and everything is resolved at top speed. This suits the nature of the plot particularly well and it almost feels as if you're reading in real time.
This book is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and in spite of its modern American setting, the opulence of the hotel hearks back to the locations of the golden age of crime and with twists and turns galore, it would sit comfortably on the shelf alongside books of that ilk. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am grateful to Harper Collins and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to review this book.