By Alex Michaelides
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
Which starts like this:
Edward Fosca was a murderer.
This was a fact. This wasn’t something Mariana knew just on an intellectual level, as an idea. Her body knew it. She felt it in her bones, along her blood, and deep within every cell.
Edward Fosca was guilty.The Maidens
I’ve been sitting here staring at this screen trying to describe this novel to you. I keep typing and deleting. It’s definitely a psychological thriller. It’s got a vein of Greek mythology running through it. The setting is fantastic – a fictional college in Cambridge, with an arrogant professor and his group of devoted Maidens. And it’s also a story of a lonely woman navigating through her sea of grief. And this was the piece that spoke the most to me.
Mariana’s grief journey drives this story from beginning to end.
Mariana lost her husband, the love of her life, a year ago. She’s stuck in the past, unable to move forward. Her grief drives her while coloring her perspective and decision making. Her character feels raw and real as we watch her navigate between the present and the past as she tries to learn more about The Maidens and stop a killer.
I enjoyed the twists and turns, wondering who was telling the truth and who Mariana could trust. The book is written with short chapters, which – at least for me – makes for fast and page-turning reading. The Greek myth of Persephone is woven throughout the story – for both Mariana and the murders. I loved the Cambridge setting – Mr. Michaelides’ writing made me feel like I was walking through the campus with Mariana. Definitely recommend you pick this one up.
A brief note: I haven’t read Mr. Michaelides’ first book The Silent Patient. I’ve seen some comments that people suggest you read it before this book. I’m not sure why, The Maidens seemed to me to be a standalone novel. I will say that if I missed anything related to The Silent Patient, it did not dampen my enjoyment of the story.
Many, many thanks to Celadon Books for providing me with an advance copy of this book. I enjoyed it very much.