By: Joy Fielding
Publisher: Ballantine/Random House
Publication Date: 08/16/2022
My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)
A woman hires a housekeeper to care for her aging parents—only to watch as she takes over their lives in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author Samantha M. Bailey calls “an ingenious master of domestic suspense.”
In the end, I have only myself to blame. I’m the one who let her in.
Jodi Bishop knows success. She’s the breadwinner, a top-notch real estate agent. Her husband, Harrison . . . not so much. Once, he had big dreams. But now, he’s a middling writer who resents his wife’s success.
Jodi’s father, Vic, now in his late seventies and retired, is a very controlling man. His wife, Audrey, was herself no shrinking violet. But things changed when Audrey developed Parkinson’s ten years ago and Vic retired to devote himself to her care. But while still reasonably spry and rakishly handsome, Vic is worn down by his wife’s deteriorating condition.
Exhausted from trying to balance her career, her family, and her parents’ needs, Jodi starts interviewing housekeepers to help care for Audrey and Vic. She settles on Elyse Woodley, an energetic and attractive widow in her early sixties, who seems perfect for the job. While Vic is initially resistant, he soon warms to Elyse’s sunny personality and engaging ways.
And Jodi is pleased to have an ally, someone she can talk to and occasionally even confide in. Until . . .
She shuts Jodi out. And Audrey’s condition worsens—rapidly. Who is this woman suddenly wearing her mother’s jewelry? What is she after? And how far will she go to get it?
Joy Fielding is back following Cul-de-sac (2021) with her thirtieth novel, THE HOUSEKEEPER —a sixty-two-year-old femme fatale wreaks havoc on an entire family in this wicked and witty devious game of cat-and-mouse.
With twisty thrills and seduction by the minute, from gaslighting, manipulation, and blackmail to murder. Your head will be spinning as to who will wind up dead next!
In the end, I have only myself to blame. I'm the one who let her in.
Meet Jodi, married to Harrison. Jodi is a real estate agent and a high producer at her father's real estate company. She is the breadwinner and makes the money. She is married to Harrison, an author (writing teacher) who has not produced anything recently. Jodi wants to be an interior designer.
He whines and complains about everything, including taking care of the two kids (Daphne and Sam) and anytime she has a showing. She also thinks he is having an affair (which he is). She needs to dump him. He also complains about her spending too much time caring for her aging parents, particularly her mom with Parkinson's. Her dad cannot be bothered.
Jodi is getting tired of Harrison, and because she thinks he is having an affair, she has a little fling herself with a man she recently showed a condo to. But that will turn out as not a chance meeting. She later discovers this man is an accomplice and will wind up blackmailing her. Very funny at the dinner party with the connection.
In light of this, she finally talks her father into hiring a live-in Housekeeper to take care of her father's household and her mother. The mom put up with abuse from her dad their entire life. Neither are very warm and caring parents. The father is demanding, unfaithful, abusive, and controlling. They also have money and prestige, and their home is worth millions. The father is in his late seventies and does not have the patience to deal with his wife's Parkinson's.
Jodi is the younger of the sisters, and Tracy is the eldest. Tracy is worthless. She is only good at spending money and buying designer clothes. But she is funny. The dad pays all her bills, including her credit cards. She does want to be an inspiring writer but, as of yet, has not produced anything, but that may change if her money goes away.
Enter Elyse Woodley. The new housekeeper. A young looking sixty-two, tall, slender, muscular, short blond hair and an engaging smile and manner. She had personal references (which turned out to be fake) and knew the right thing to say. However, the devil in disguise.
She says she has a son about Jodi's page who lives in California. Is he her son? The jury is out on this one. She appears to be able to cook and entertain and steal things. (that would be jewelry, people, and money).
In the blink of an eye, the spider has made her move. She is sleeping with the father, wearing the mother's jewelry and clothes, and not caring for the mother. Elyse and the dad try and keep Jodi and Tracy away. No one is safe in this house. The gold digger is out for the money, and soon, the girls will be cut out of the will entirely, and she is already pursuing selling the house.
Frantic, Jodi tries everything from going to the police to the attorney. What is wrong with her dad? Can he not see what she is doing, but he is crazy about her, and soon the wife ends up dead, and the father and new housekeeper run off to Niagra Falls and marry with no prenup. Is her dad crazy?
Then the blackmail starts, but at this point, Jodi does not care. Then Evelyn starts drugging her dad with pills in his food, wants to change the will, and starts changing doctors and attorneys. She tries to keep them away, and they cannot get rid of her. Her dad is spellbound.
Later the dad seems to be afraid, hiding, making calls during the night to Jodi. From gaslighting, manipulation, lies, and deceit. Who will wind up dead next?
I loved the ending- two years later! Priceless. Jodi and Tracy are hilarious and by the end you like them both.
Witty, wacky, smart, twisty, comic, and surprising! I laughed out loud and thought this book was hilarious. Joy is a pro when it comes to plotting, domestic suspense with colorful characters both flawed and believable.
A few things- my take First, this is the wrong cover for the book. Does not do the book justice. It needs to be WOW, funny, and dangerous. Secondly, I disagree with the reference from the Library Journal blurb. I have read every Mary Kubica and Ruth Ware book, and for me, this one is a standout comic/satire and reads like a funny Sally Hepworth, Kaira Rouda, Ellen Meister, and Elle Cosimano's Finlay Donovan novels— full of dark humor, flawed characters, mixed with some devilish wicked fun and games with everyday life issues.
Pick this one up and get some laughs! I love Joy's books and must go back and read Cul de sac, which I missed.
Blog Review Posted @
My Rating: 5 Stars ✨✨✨✨✨
Pub Date: Aug 16, 2022
“An exciting roller-coaster ride of family dysfunction, marital dynamics, and gaslighting . . . Fielding’s novel is gripping from the beginning, and Jodi is a fleshed-out, relatable protagonist. The plot builds to a nail-biting climax. . . . Recommended for fans of women-led suspense novels such as Mary Kubica’s The Other Mrs. and Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game.”—Library Journal
About the Author
Photo credit: Malcolm Tweedy
Joy Fielding is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Wrong Places, The Bad Daughter, She’s Not There, Someone Is Watching, Charley’s Web, Heartstopper, Mad River Road, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida. WEBSITE