Author Alex Michaelides incorporates mythological characters from ancient Greece creating a gothic feel to his psychological thrillers. His first was The Silent Patient, a wildly popular book which, if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It has made The Maidens a highly anticipated book for its many fans.
The heroine of his latest book is Mariana Andros, a group therapist in London. She is trying to recover from the recent loss of her husband Sebastian. The couple met when they were both students at Cambridge, where her niece Zoe now attends. Mariana drops everything and rushes to Cambridge when Zoe calls and tells her that Tara, a close friend, has been brutally murdered. From the beginning, Mariana is convinced that Greek Tragedy professor Edward Fosca is the murderer. Edward is a charismatic man who spends a lot of time working with a devoted, bordering on obsessed, group of female students, all wealthy and beautiful, called The Maidens, which Tara was a member. (The Greek mythological relevance is explained.) Mariana is very protective of Zoe and wants to help prove that Edward is their man – or figure out who is. The police want nothing to do with her so she decides to work behind the scenes to figure out what is going on.
The Maidens was a good, entertaining book. Perhaps not as good as The Silent Patient, but I recommend reading it. Mariana is presented as a smart, educated women who nevertheless makes some ill-advised decisions in her quest for answers. But her love and devotion to her niece explains some of her foolishness. Overall, I enjoyed the story and how it all came together. The parallel to Greek tragedy was well done. There was a good dose of creepiness which I felt was effective and chilling.
What made Michaelides’ first book so popular was the ending, which I don’t like to discuss in reviews. But if you plan to read books by this author, it has to be mentioned. This book is filled with lots of red herrings and you’ll keep wondering if you’ll be truly shocked at the end. I’ll just say that it was a satisfying ending. After I was done, I thought back to some of the characters from The Silent Patient who were either mentioned or had a cameo appearance in this book. Then a big smile came to my face and it made me like the book even more. The Maidens works as a standalone but what a terrific wink to the readers of The Silent Patient.
Many thanks to Celadon Books / Macmillan, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read The Maidens in advance of its publication.
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Mystery / Thriller.
Publication Date: June 15, 2021.
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