Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 6th March 2017
Pages: 320 Pages
When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend—who also happens to be her boss—leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley (England’s answer to Martha Stewart), is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.
Emma’s husband, Rob, is a high profile academic, and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But, as Anne soon discovers, underneath the dust, grime, and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.
Rob is working on a new book about an ominous 1970s cult, a lawless refuge for the mentally ill run by a power-hungry psychologist. There is something about the grainy photographs, the childish lyrics from a cult song, which stir an unexplained fear within Anne and she begins to half-remember a nightmarish childhood.
Anne Morgan is a Chef by trade, but when her relationship with Head Chef Anton ends due to his infidelity, she decides that the catering industry is just not for her. Once super-glued to the kitchen, she now sees herself as housekeeper to famous blogger/author Emma Helmsley and her husband Rob. Deemed the “power couple”, Emma and Rob are like two peas in a pod, they’re caring; passionate, yet messy and haphazard. How can anyone live a life in such chaos? During her time at the Helmsley residence, Anne learns far more about the family than she bargained for, she now holds a head full of secrets.
I think Suellen does a great job by highlighting the fact that people’s lives aren’t always perfect and that everyone has their problems and imperfections. From looking at ‘celebrity’ social media accounts you’d automatically presume that bloggers and authors lead the perfect lifestyle – perhaps they do – but naturally they’re going to experience some unlucky situations every once in a while. Emma and Rob, although peas in a pod, naturally drifted apart because of how busy they where. I felt quite sorry for Emma because although she lead the ‘perfect’ lifestyle, she suffered at the hands of other people and her insecurities. Rob has an ex-wife and daughter who he sees quite regularly. If I was Emma I think I’d naturally hate the situation, you’d have to be civil, but it must be hard to deal with.
The Housekeeper has been portrayed as a psychological drama, but sadly I’m not sure where this comes into play. Drama yes, but psychological not so much. Rob does focus his time on a new book, researching into a cult leader/power-hungry psychologist from the 1970’s – I guess this could be the element of psychological we’re told about.