2022 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: The Maid by Nita Prose

Title: The Maid

Author: Nita Prose

Published: January 20th 2022

Publisher: HarperCollins – GB

Pages: 352

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 5 stars

I am your maid.
I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry.
But what do you know about me?

Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice?

But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She’s just a maid – but what can she see that others overlook?

Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .

Review:

‘I am your maid. I know so much about you. But when it comes down to it: what is it that you know about me?’

A Harper fiction 2022 event publication, The Maid is the debut novel from Canadian author Nita Prose. After working a number of years in the publishing industry as the vice president and editorial director of Simon & Schuster in Toronto, Prose credits this background in helping her pen her first novel. The Maid is a phenomenal publication that is equal parts captivating, unusual and uplifting. I was stunned by the level of affection that I developed for this one!

The Maid is the extraordinary story of a gentle and inconspicuous maid, who treasures her job at the famed Regency Grand Hotel. Taking meticulous pride and care in her daily tasks at this hotel establishment, Molly is the model employee. Molly’s carefully ordered world is disrupted when she discovers one of the hotel’s regular guests dead in the room she is about to clean. Molly then becomes embroiled in a murder case, which will sends her off kilter, disturbing her well managed routines and placing her in an uncomfortable bind. However, this search for the truth may be a blessing in disguise, as it will bring this invisible maid out of her comfort zone, forcing her to connect with the outside world. Can Molly clean up the mess that has occurred at her beloved workplace?

2022 is already shaping up to be a successful reading year, thanks to two debut novels I read this month that are five star reads. The Maid is the second five star rating I have issued this year. Those who know my reading and reviewing habits will be aware that I don’t issue out five star reads very often, so The Maid was obviously a novel that I admired. I’ve had this novel sat on my outstanding review pile for a few moths now. In fact, The Maid was the first 2022 review book publication that I received. At the time I was quite shocked by how early I received this book before publication and with such a huge outstanding review pile of 2021 books to get through, I put this one on the backburner. However, after seeing a number of my close reading friends rate The Maid so highly, I was ready to give it a whirl myself. I’m so glad I have my reading mates here to encourage me as The Maid turned up to be a gold star read.

I must start this review with dear Molly, the socially awkward lead character of Nita Prose’s first novel. Not since The Cactus or Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine have I come across such an unforgettable, confusing, offbeat, loveable and genuine heroine. The teacher in me did try and diagnose Molly. I also had some further lingering questions about her upbringing. Molly’s behaviour traits were equal parts odd and kind. She was definitely missing some key social cues and unfortunately this meant that poor Molly was taken advantage of and treated unfairly. I wish a number of these figures in the book could have displayed more empathy, understanding and acceptance of Molly, but this is the real world. So well done to the author for putting the spotlight on a main character who is not your average Joe Bloggs. On the flip side of this characterisation of Molly, we have a number of side characters who display goodness, protection and support for the leading lady, which restored my faith in humanity. I loved these cast members and Prose did a great job of providing us with a good balance of heroes and villains in this tale.

The Maid is a book that deftly combines a blend of quirky comedy, mystery and contemporary drama. There are some important exchanges, themes and ideas in this book that I valued very much. The Maid also offers a sensitive glimpse into grief and loss related specifically to a grandparent. In terms of the mystery side of things, I enjoyed playing a detective role with Molly and the crew of this tale. Prose takes us on quite an eventful journey, which includes a number of twists, turns and shocking admissions. I desperately wanted those who condemned Molly to be proven wrong in a big way and I was waiting for karma to catch up with them. The Maid is a remarkable story that reminds us about not judging people, looking beyond appearances, displaying compassion for others, not taking advantage of those we deem as feeble or simple minded and being more respectful of those who are hidden everyday people, such as Molly the maid.

Prose closes The Maid off with a big poignant bang, taking the central mystery in an unexpected direction. This final act of narrative greatness acts as another reminder of how much entertainment value The Maid possesses. I wasn’t surprised to learn that film rights have already been acquired for this one. I know I’ll be the first in the queue to get a ticket to see Molly in full cinema mode. Nita’s Prose’s debut novel is a book that is thoroughly deserving of all the praise that has been attached to this sui generis tale, it was magnificent!

The Maid by Nita Prose was published on 20th January 2021 by HarperCollins – GB. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Maid, Nita Prose visit here.

*Thanks extended to HarperCollins Books Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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