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Saturday, October 29, 2022

With The Maid, You Can Believe the Hype

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Molly Gray may look like an ordinary 25-year-old woman, but she's not. She possesses an innocent guilelessness and a forthright manner, the combination of which is discombobulating to say the least. People just don't know how to react to her and vice versa. Molly's beloved Gran was the one who helped her navigate the confusing world of social interaction. Now that she's gone, Molly's feeling more at sea than ever. Grieving the devastating loss of the only person who's ever really understood her, she throws herself even more doggedly into her job as a maid at the elegant Regency Grand Hotel. There's nothing she loves more than donning her crisply-ironed uniform, organizing her housekeeping cart just so, and returning untidy rooms to perfection.

When Molly enters the room of Charles Black, a wealthy business tycoon, and his new, much younger wife, she expects to do her usual cleaning, with the bonus of a wee chat with the lovely Giselle, who—to Molly's shock—seems to enjoy these regular convos with her lowly maid. Molly's stunned when she, instead, finds Charles dead in his bed, the victim of a bloody homicide. It's not long before Molly, with her unusual demeanor, becomes the lead suspect in the mogul's murder. She didn't do it, but who did? In order to clear her name, Molly must find the man's real killer. With her keen attention to detail and her intimate knowledge of the Regency Grand, she's the perfect woman for the job, even if some of the hotel's more subtle inner workings have escaped her until now. Can this unconventional Nancy Drew solve the case? Or will Molly be forced to exchange her spotless maid's uniform for a germy prison jumpsuit?

Book hype often has a weird negative effect on me. Instead of enticing me to read a much-lauded tome, it pushes me away from it. This was the case with The Maid, the bestselling debut novel by Canadian author Nita Prose. Although it was touted as a clever, heartwarming, fun mystery—four adjectives I'm very much in favor of—I wasn't sure I really wanted to read it. One too many rave reviews later and I just had to know if the book is all it's cracked up to be. Guess what? It is. The Maid truly is a gem. I adored it. Molly is an appealing heroine, whose antics made me laugh. I love that she's authentically herself while also being much more than she seems. The other characters are colorful (Many even have colors for last names—a homage to Clue, I guess?), although not nearly as memorable as Molly. Her individuality, coupled with Prose's unique narrative style, makes this novel stand out. This is a good thing because The Maid's plot is actually fairly straightforward and generic. I saw all of its twists coming but one. I didn't love the Big Reveal at the end, but it definitely gives the book another layer of depth that will make book clubbers happy by giving them something juicy to discuss. All in all, I loved The Maid. It's entertaining, hopeful, and just all-around enjoyable. In this case at least, you can believe the hype!

(Readalikes: Hmm, I can't really think of anything. You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and violence

To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of The Maid with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.


  1. I totally agree with you about book hype. I often get nervous that I won't like it as much or that my expectations are too high.

    The Maid was a fun read and maybe it worked for you because the hype has died down (and moved on to other books).

  2. I really enjoyed this one too.

  3. Yes, I'm with you on hyped books and nearly always end up reading them several years after publication. However, having read your great review I'll try to read this a bit sooner as it sounds wonderful!

  4. Sounds fun! I guess I’m out of the loop on this one because I wasn’t aware of the hype. Thanks!

  5. I keep going back and forth on this one, but I think you have convinced me!

  6. I hadn't heard of this one before, but it sounds great! Thanks for the review!

  7. I'm so glad to hear you loved this one. I've got it on hold at my library and plan to read it in November. And I'm very excited. Molly sounds like such an interesting character.

  8. I tried to listen to this earlier this year but just couldn't get into it - but suspect it was just a mood issue. I will have to give this another try!

  9. I stayed away from this one for a long, long time because of all the hype. I tend to react the same way you do when it comes to those books that suddenly seem to be everywhere because some publisher is willing to jumpstart them with huge PR budgets. But, coincidentally, I picked up a paperback of this one from the library just a few days ago...sounds as if I need to move it to the top of the stack.


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