Bravo to the author in making this story one that brought out the Nancy Drew gene in Jan and I. However, our “Nancy Drew” gene was lacking this time as we hadn’t a clue to the surprising twist that occurred at the end. A definite recommended read for this one. What an intriguing story the author has woven!
Mixed reviews along with a terrible cover, kept my expectations low, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mariana, a psychologist, is still in mourning over her husband’s untimely death. She’s truly all alone in the world, having also lost her parents and sister. Zoe, the niece she took in after her sister’s death, is all she has left.
When Zoe calls with news her friend’s murder, Mariana travels to Cambridge, where Zoe is a student. A professional colleague of Mariana’s draws her into the investigation, and it doesn’t take long for all suspicions to be focused on Professor Fosca, the creepy but magnetic professor who is beloved by his students and has a secret society comprised of seven girls, the “maidens”. Mariana is convinced of his guilt and will stop at nothing to prove it.
I enjoyed the mystery but what the author pulled off so well was the atmosphere of Cambridge, as well as Mariana’s character with her troubled past and struggles with grief. I enjoyed the nod to a Greek tragedy, but it wasn’t overdone and there’s no need to be well versed in Greek mythology (I’m not!).
Red herrings abound, and I turned my suspicious eye on nearly every character at different parts of the story. Even if the reveal wasn’t a complete surprise there was still a twist that took me completely by surprise This was a fun book to play armchair detective with Marialyce, my friend and reading buddy. I dare say we weren’t very good at it with this one, but it was fun speculating!
· I received both the digital e-book as well as the audiobook via NetGalley. I ended up preferring the audio, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith And Louise Brealey .
I loved this book. I so enjoyed the feeling of being “in the dark” for the bulk of the story and while Alex Michaelides gave some very causal winks to the Greek mythology, you didn’t need to be a mythology scholar to see the analogies.
I do seem to be on a bit of a Greek mythology binge after having read Ariadne and Olympus Texas. I loved the way these authors were able to make the book seem reflective of the ancients, but was so current.
In The Maidens, we meet varied characters, with I the setting of Cambridge, a place that itself carries an abundance of legend and lore. The characters were all directly tied to this institution and the way the author describes the locations, one could imagine being present.
However, all of that aside, I so enjoyed being led down the path to believing Edward Fosca was close to be the devil incarnate holding sway over many beautiful, rich, talented women that you just HAD to believe he was the dastardly murderer. Mariana, step mother to the student Zoe is convinced that Dr Fosca is “the one” wantonly stabbing young girls twenty-two times and killing them.
Mariana becomes totally involved as her adopted daughter; Zoe, a student at Cambridge, and could be Fosca’s next victim. After losing her beloved husband, Sebastian, Mariana is at odds with herself, slightly off kilter, and missing him with such an intense longing. This situation has thrown her into turmoil and she wishes Sebastian was there as a helpmate but alas he is gone but never forgotten.
Hunting, investigating, becoming deeply involved, Mariana is onto Fosca, or so she thinks. The mystery continues as another young woman is murdered and Mariana is hot on the trail. Is Fosca the one who is weaving this rite of murder or is there something else going on? As Fosca continues with his Secret rites, we witness the total power he exerts of his “maidens”. The maidens have been enslaved by him and they treat him as a god, which is what he expects. Charismatic, charming, suave, and handsome he is the ideal male, but is he?
It is the males in this story that seem to hold sway, just like in ancient mythology, the men were the powerful gods and rulers while women were their subservient.
How this all churns out is a mystical, magical arena of good versus evil, of sane versus deranged, and of deceit making a life thought to be lived irrelevant.