Cover Image: The Housekeeper

The Housekeeper

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Jodi has a full time job, 2 children, a dependent (annoying) husband, a mother with advanced Parkinson's, and an insufferable sister and father. What she doesn't have, is time to juggle all these things at once so she sets out to hire a in house-keeper to help care for her mother. Enter Elyse- She's perfect for the position.. but if something seems to good to be true, it usually is.

This is my first book by Joy Fielding but it won't be my last. Although the story was a bit predictable, her writing kept me intrigued. For such a dramatic, serious book, there were times I was laughing out loud. Some of the supporting characters were not likeable at first but grew on me (looking at you Tracey). Overall, I enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to checking out more by this author!
Was this review helpful?
This is a true to life story about elderly abuse. As much as we try to to what is best for our parents, we have to be careful who these people are. The plot was predictable but I don't often find that I don't like at least one of the characters. Jodi, the main character, lets her family walk all over her. She has low self esteem and I was hoping the she would stand up for herself, but she didn't. The rest of the characters I wanted to slap some sense into them. I liked the writing style and was curious enough to keep reading to find out what would happen. I received a free advance copy of this book via Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving my review.
Was this review helpful?
First of all, thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

A woman hires a housekeeper to look after her aging parents, only to watch her take over their lives. Are they in danger? What does the housekeeper want? How is she able to manipulate the family to her advantage?

The Housekeeper by Joy Fielding is a fast-paced, twisty thriller. The cast of characters is relatively small, but they’re well-drawn and complex. The writing is easy and descriptive, with a nice sense of humour. I flew through this book.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Joy Fielding, who at one time was one of my favourite authors. Somehow I’ve drifted away from her books, but it’s clearly time I got back to her.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 Stars 

This domestic suspense novel is a good summer diversion.

Jodi Bishop hires a housekeeper to help her aging father Vic and her mother Audrey who is largely bed-ridden because of late-stage Parkinson’s.  Elyse Woodley is the perfect candidate for the position; she is energetic and has such an engaging personality that she even wins over Vic who is initially resistant to the idea of a live-in housekeeper.  She seems too good to be true and that quickly proves to be the case when Audrey’s condition worsens and Elyse starts wearing her jewelry.  

Meanwhile, Jodi’s life is not the happiest; at one point, she describes it as “a churning, cloudy mess.”  She tries to balance her demanding job as a successful real estate agent, her marriage to a self-involved writer struggling for the last decade with his second novel, her home with two young children, and her filial duty to her parents.  Harrison, her husband, is not supportive and her self-absorbed sister Tracy does little to help with Vic and Audrey, so Jodi feels overwhelmed and under-appreciated.  

The plot is not particularly original.  It is quite predictable, especially because there is so much foreshadowing.  Jodi, the narrator, ends virtually every chapter with comments like “Now I realize that it was one of the few honest things [Elyse] ever told me” and “Just another one of the voices I chose to ignore” and “In the end, I have only myself to blame.  I’m the one who let her in.”  I suspected a connection between Elyse and another character as soon as that character is introduced.  There really are no shocking twists or revelations.  

The characters are clearly differentiated but unlikeable.  The men in particular are insufferable.  Vic is emotionally distant, overbearing, and critical.  He even insists that the housekeeper be good looking.  Harrison complains whenever he is asked to take care of his own children; though Jodi is the breadwinner for the family, he argues that she is not spending enough time at home.  He is an expert at gaslighting his wife.  Tracy is so shallow, self-centered, and entitled.  Though she is 45, she has no income and relies on her father to pay her bills and cater to her expensive tastes.  Jodi is such a doormat; she lets people walk all over her.  As the novel progresses, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with her unwillingness to stand up for herself.

What is difficult to understand is why Jodi cares so much for people who seem to care little for her.  Vic mentions her weight and criticizes her in some way every time he speaks to her.  Harrison insists on being supported in his career, but doesn’t support his wife and is constantly pointing out her faults.  Tracy manipulates her sister to help her and then uses her as a scapegoat.  I can guess that her low self-esteem, the result of her upbringing, accounts for much of her behaviour, but she is in her forties and should have acquired some backbone.  

Written in an easy, approachable style with short chapters, the book is a good choice for a light, quick read for the summer.  

Note:  I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the this latest novel from Joy Fielding! I was completely hooked from the get go and couldn’t put it down. The plot moved along well and admittedly, even during the times I was so frustrated with the characters (aka majority of the novel) I just wanted to know what was going to happen next (definitely says something about the effectiveness of Fielding’s writing). 
I would consider The Housekeeper a strong domestic suspense with quite the build-up. Even though I found it easy to see where the plot line would go, there were still a few twists that I was pleasantly surprised by. 
A big thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for a copy of this ARC! 

Strong 4 stars.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this story of elder abuse but it was rather predictable. It’s just a little too easy to guess each twist before it happens. That said, this would make a terrific made-for-tv movie! 3.5 ⭐️
Was this review helpful?
It's been awhile I have read Joy Fielding books,and this was a good book. 
It had all the elements of intrigue,mystery,suspense and thrills which makes her a great writer. 
Her books never disappoint.
Was this review helpful?
I can’t say this book offered many surprises, it is what one would expect yet I wouldn’t call it predictable, This was an excellent thriller that I couldn’t read fast enough and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a perfect easy read with just the right amount of dark, edgy twists one expects from a good thriller.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher.   Joy Fielding writes some good ones. and this one did not fail either.  I read Cul De Sac and I like this trope so it was entertaining.   Fast paced and had me wanting to read more as the book had many twists.   Good work!
Was this review helpful?
I read the synopsis of this one and had to read it!
I wasn't disappointed either, on the contrary!!
I was thrilled. I was duped, because at one point I was convinced I was right but nope. I was so happy with the outcome, it made the story even better than I had hoped.
Fast-paced, thrilling, all of the things you want in a suspenseful story. This is one that will be on my brain and recommended to many!!
There really is nothing like reading a twisted family tale!
Was this review helpful?
I LOVE Joy Fielding novels. This one is no exception. I wasn't sure what would happen when Elyse got her claws into Jodis father. She seemed so sweet at first. Just a helpful worker. But what is Elyse really up to? I was turning the pages as fast as I could to find out! 

I loved the characters. The parents and Jodi's husband are nasty and you're rooting for Jodi and Elyse. But as the novel continues you will soon change your mind. I found the sister to be hilarious and had me laughing out loud in parts. You will be Swept away in the tale! 

Go out and get a copy
Of this new novel! It is a great and easy read and has an ending I didn't see coming. 

Thanks to penguin random house and netgalley for this ARC
Was this review helpful?
Jodi's family feels like it's falling apart and she's drowning trying to save her family and keep up with her aging parents.  Parkinsons has left her mother bed ridden and getting worse by the day so all she can think about is finding someone to help her Dad to take care of her.  Jodi is convinced she found the absolute best person for the job in Elyse.  She had every thing Jodi wanted in a helper and then some.  But something isn't sitting right with it too good to be true? 

If I'm being honest, the story line is a touch predictable.  Only one twist truly shocked me.  But with that said, it didn't take away from my enjoyment at all.  I was invested all the way through to the last page.  This is one of those stories where every single characters frustrates me in their own way.  I recommend for anything looking for a quick and easy psyche-thriller.
Was this review helpful?
Joy Fielding has always been one of my favorite writers since reading See Jane Run. So I was so excited to get the chance to read her newest novel. 
In this mystery thriller the main character Jodi is a middle aged wife with two children. She’s the breadwinner in the family as her husband has been writing his second book for 10 years after the great success of his first novel. Jodi while busy also is very involved and concerned with her parents wellbeing as her mom is slowing dying with Parkinson’s disease and is getting too hard to care for by Jodi’s dad. So she decides to help out by hiring a housekeeper for her parents with no help from her selfish, self-absorbed sister. She finally hires Elyse and she can’t believe her good fortune in finding someone so accommodating pleasant and hard-working. However is she everything that she seems to be is she really this nice kind and helpful? Or is there something more sinister going on? I found the writing very engaging and relatable. I can definitely see something like this happening and how concerning it would be. The story keep me wanting to read to find out what happens next. However it was a little bit predictable at times. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the advance copy!
Was this review helpful?
Fielding is a very successful Canadian author of many thrillers.  Her previous books include "Cul-de-sac", "She's Not There" and "See Jane Run".  This new release is another psychological thriller and the plot revolves around Jodi, who hires a housekeeper to help her dad care for her mom, who suffers from Parkinson disease.  Elyse, the housekeeper, seems like a godsend at first, but Jodi soon wonders if she made a huge mistake in hiring her. This is a fun read, and while the story is not wholly original, the new twists and turns make is a very entertaining story and a great recommendation for fans of the genre. I really enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
Jodi is our main character and narrator of THE HOUSEKEEPER; she wears many hats: wife, mom, main breadwinner as a real estate agent, and daughter. Harrison, her husband, is an author working on his latest novel which has been in the works for the last 10 years and resents Jodi's success. Jodi's father, Vic is retired and in his late 70s caring for his wife, Audrey, with advanced Parkinson's. As the strain of caring for Audrey begins to weigh on Jodi and Vic, Jodi searches for and interviews many women in search of a housekeeper/caretaker for Audrey. Enter Elyse Woodley - an energetic, attractive, and charming woman with glowing references from her previous housekeeper positions. Elyse is hired to be the housekeeper for Vic and Audrey, but as time progresses Jodi finds herself being shutout from her parent's home and as Audrey's condition rapidly declines, she begins to wonder if Elyse is who she really says she is. 

THE HOUSEKEEPER has an interesting premise, but I found the story to be plus ou moins predictable. We know from the synopsis that something is suspicious about Elyse. She's the perfect candidate - until she isn't. But what's her end game? Overall, I was underwhelmed by the plot with only a couple twists that truly took me by surprise. There's an underlying sense of dread or suspense as you read, but every twist is delivered too cleanly with very little fall out. There is also a heavy focus on Jodi and Harrison's marriage that I could have done without. I did not find it added much to the storyline. 

I did not care very much for any of the characters, Jodi least of all. She is shown to be a woman who tries to do it all - be a good wife, a good mother, a good daughter, and a good employee - which is quite relatable. I found that in doing so, she became the person who everyone walked all over, knowing that she would bend over backwards to cater to their needs rather than her own. 

This novel is definitely a slow-burn character-driven domestic drama, with a focus on dysfunctional family dynamics. Joy's writing style is clean and easy to read, allowing for a nice flow to the story. Despite having been a predictable read, Joy keeps the reader engaged as they read along to find out who comes out on top and what the real motivations of each character is. 

<i>I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Doubleday Canada, of this advanced digital copy for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for an honest review! All opinions shared are my own.</i>
Was this review helpful?
3.5 Stars    I enjoy books by Joy Fielding, a Canadian best-selling writer of domestic suspense. She writes in an engaging manner, and her books are easy, quick reads involving domestic drama and mystery. This is a  fast-paced, entertaining, character-based psychological thriller. The story is based on twisted family dynamics with unpleasant, flawed characters. Even the most appealing, Jodi, who narrates this compelling tale, has some annoying personality traits. 

 Jodi has always been searching for approval and is subject to harsh, undeserved criticism from her parents, who clearly preferred her sister Tracy. Nevertheless, she visits her aging parents regularly, a duty avoided by her sister. Tracy is supported by her parents in a lavish style.

  Jodi's husband is regularly finding fault with her, and she is hurt by his lack of appreciation. She has an exhausting real estate position and two children to care for. Her husband often isolates himself in the den, trying to complete a book he has been writing for ten years or absenting himself to teach classes for aspiring authors. Jodi is the sole source of household income, but her husband resents the time she spends at her real estate job. Jody is always apologizing for unfair criticism from her husband and father, failing to stand up to their constant fault-finding.

 Jodi's father is a spry, dapper man approaching eighty years of age. He quit a lucrative position to care for Jodi's mother, who has Parkinson's disease, and her condition is deteriorating. Jodi realizes that her cranky, controlling father is approaching the stage where caregiving and house maintenance is becoming too much for him. Jodi hires Elyse, an attractive, outwardly pleasant, obliging sixty-two-year-old woman. She seems perfect for the job and goes beyond her required duties, offering to care for the children, working weekends, and quickly charms Jodi's children and her father. 

 We know from the beginning that Jodi has strong regrets about hiring Elyse and concedes it was a huge mistake. Soon she notices that the housekeeper is wearing her mother's expensive jewellery and fashions. She is not surprised that her father makes excuses and takes Elyse's side when confronted about helping herself to the mother's possessions. After her mother's tragic death, Elyse and her besotted father soon marry. A tangled web of lies, scheming, and deceit becomes apparent.

 Jodi and her sister join forces to try to stop some alarming developments in their father's home. They can find no help from lawyers or police with merely their suspicions and without concrete proof. Jodi is concerned her father may be in mortal danger, and Tracy is worried that her inheritance will be lost to her.

 Added to the story of a dysfunctional family, this book addresses some very real and significant social problems, such as elder abuse and defrauding senior citizens of their wealth and property. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Canada/Doubleday Canada for the ARC of this compelling thriller.
Was this review helpful?
The Housekeeper was my first novel by Joy Fielding but it certainly won't be my last. This thriller had me on the edge of my seat and was a book I quite literally couldn't put down - I finished it in a day.

Jodi and Tracy are two middle aged sisters who need someone to help their father look after their mother who lives with Parkinson's. Enter - Elyse Woodley. The seemingly perfect housekeeper who is making everyone's lives easier and better, until she isn't. 
Told from Jodi's perspective, we see how things slowly start to decline and how the questions and lack of answers start to pile up. 
This novel keeps you guessing right along with Jodi and Tracy, asking the same questions as the story unfolds. With twists and turns until the last chapter, this novel did not disappoint.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Joy Fielding certainly knows how to tell a story that keeps the pages turning and the lights on.

The Housekeeper is no exception.

Jodi hires a housekeeper to look after her ailing Mum thus helping out her Dad.

Jodi will also benefit having more time with her family.

Elyse is hired and Jodi thinks to herself she is too good to be true.

Jodi was not wrong .

The pages fly by as Elyse inserts herself into the family and gradually freezes everyone out except her Dad.

The Housekeeper is a fast paced read with twists and turns and a perfect ending.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada, Doubleday Canada for thrilling read.
Was this review helpful?
Very predictable domestic suspense of a woman who insinuates herself into the lives of a wealthy elderly man with a sick wife. Jodi, the main character and from whose POV the story is told, is one of the daughters who becomes suspicious of the woman who becomes the family housekeeper. Jodi is very naive and allows herself to be treated poorly by everyone in her life. I found her to be very annoying - even when she is being treated badly, she always turns the other cheek - and that pretty much set the tone of the novel for me. The secondary characters were 100% flawed and there was no character development.  They were very one dimensional. The plot was okay with no real twists or turns and the ending was predictable. I did find the writing style very easy to read. I have enjoyed this author’s previous novels but this one just didn’t work for me. 2.5 stars.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada and Netgalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, an old premise told in a new way.  I found Jodi quite frustrating in the way she let herself be so marginalized by everyone but I suppose it’s believable if she had spent a lifetime seeking love and approval and always being overlooked. Enjoyable read otherwise, hard to put down. I always enjoy Joy Fielding’s books. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the copy.
Was this review helpful?