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The Maid

The Maid

by Nita Prose
Published by: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: 2022
Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary
HB&W Rating: 3.75
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Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository


Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. 

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection. 

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late? 

Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart. 

Synopsis source: Goodreads

This title is a Books, WIPs, and Sips Book Club Pick

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That’s the trouble with pain. It’s as contagious as a disease. It spreads from the person who first endured it to those who love them most.

When I first read this synopsis of this book, my immediate thought was that it sounds a little like one of my favorite crime series, the Genevieve Lenard series by Estelle Ryan. Molly sounded like she was neurodivergent, much like the autistic Genevieve, and I am always interested in stories that offer a different perspective.

I really enjoyed this book, but you may or may not feel the same way. There is definitely some cheesy language used throughout. The way Molly speaks is influenced by her Gran, who raised her, so it’s almost as if she is from a different generation than what she was born into. There was also a lot of what you could call kitchen-table wisdom, short, memorable phrases that teach a life lesson, doled out from Gran and often reiterated by Molly. These things lend a saccharine sweetness to the dialogue, but I didn’t mind it and thought that it was just part of what made Molly, Molly. That said, I can see how the cheesiness could turn people off. The only part that started to annoy me was Mr. Preston, who when he spoke to Molly, addressed her as “dear girl,” like, every time.

It became clear that Molly was surrounded by some unsavory characters pretty early on, people who were selfish, petty, and unsympathetic. The book never uses the words “autistic,” “neurodiverget,” or “non-neurotypical,” but it’s obvious throughout that this is the case with Molly. Still the people around her make fun of her, bully her, or take advantage of her for her “otherness.” Why doesn’t the author put a label on it somewhere? I think it is because Molly was likely never diagnosed, so she may not know the words for it herself, and the people around her are either uncaring, immature, assholes, or in a few cases, they genuinely care about Molly and it doesn’t matter to them. I assume that the author assumed (that’s a lot of assuming 😉 ) that everyone this day and age has at least some working knowledge of autism, so the reactions of the other characters appears to be in spite of that, perhaps to further cement the kind of people they are.

I feel compelled to mention that the plot isn’t very complex and the conflict was tidily (pun intended) resolved and kind of unbelievable, though there is a twist at the end. The characters, even Molly, all seem to be drawn like caricatures of the stereotypes they were written to embody. The character development for everyone except Molly is pretty shallow and what you see is what you get.

The undocumented immigrant, Juan Manuel comes off as incredibly naive, but what he lacks in street smarts and resources, he makes up for in his comportment and work ethic. Molly, herself, seems to embody the most common search results when Googling “autism,” but I liked that the author showed her experiencing her emotions, debunking that just because neurodivergents don’t necessarily show their emotions the way neurotypicals do doesn’t mean they don’t feel things. It doesn’t mean that they are unaffected.

The only thing really carrying this story was Molly herself, but that was plenty for me, as I really liked her. For other people, it may not be enough, though. This is not a deep-thinking book. There’s no pulse-pounding thrills, nothing too complex, just plain easy reading with a feel-good ending. Granted, the ending did leave me with a few questions, but things worked out for Molly, and I was happy for her. Had Molly not been as lovable, this book would have just been kind of meh.

I was able to suspend disbelief and look past the shortcomings mentioned above and let myself simply enjoy the story, and Molly made it easy for me to do that. However, given the above, I think this book is going to make for an excellent discussion for our next Books, WIPs, + Sips Book Club!

Join the Discussion!

I hope you’ll join us on Tuesday, May 31st at 7pm CST on Instagram Stories Live. We will be chatting and getting to know this month’s co-host, working on some projects, sipping some bevies, and talking all about The Maid. Allow me to introduce my co-host for the evening, Jill of Jill R Crochet!

Jill R Crochet – Jill

Jill is a 40 year old crocheter who lives in St. Louis with her boyfriend and dog.  She is self-taught and has been crocheting for a little over 10 years and has aspirations of one day learning how to knit. 

Recently, she’s been dabbling in yarn dyeing and has really enjoyed learning new things related to color theory, different yarn fibers and how the dye works with them and overall, just experiencing a new type of creativeness that allows her mind to wander with all the color possibilities.

When she isn’t making, Jill is a huge college basketball fan (Syracuse), loves live music and is a foodie at heart.  She loves living in St. Louis and thinks it’s an undervalued Midwestern city that has a ton to offer with lots of hidden gems.

Find Jill on Instagram and Goodreads

Update 5/31/22: Our replay is live! View it below to get to know Jill and find out everything we discussed!

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