‘The Housekeeper’ is the latest book by Suellen Dainty.
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, is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true. Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life. Her 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 Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.
When Anne discovers that her partner and her boss has been cheating on her, she’s quits her job and decides that she wants to do something drastically different in her life.
So, when she sees an advert for celebrity power couple Emma Helmsley and Rob, looking for a housekeeper, she jumps at the chance. The couple are both well known psychologists but Emma moved away from psychology and branched into household management and organisation, writing books about organisation and has a huge following with her daily notes of motivational and inspirational advice, which Anne has actively followed.
As Anne settles into her new role, she loves being embroiled in the chaotic family, where there is never a quiet moments with their comings and goings and flamboyant parties, but as her time with the family continues, Anne discovers that the family isn’t quite as perfect as the she and the outside world are led to believe.
The story is filled with many interesting and complex characters. I found myself having a strong empathy with Anne, she’s alone in the world having lost her mother as a child and was brought up by her granny who sadly passed away, she has a best friend Jude, but her time is taken up with her twins. So when she begins to work for Emma and Rob, she naturally falls into the role of housekeeper, chef and listener, she finds a place in life and within the family, she feels wanted and has a purpose and has finally gotten the family she always wanted.
She finds herself drawing closer to Rob, a charismatic and handsome man that people are drawn to, instinctively she’s attracted to him, but after time she finds him intriguing as he works on the memoirs of Rowan McLeish, a psychiatrist, who had an unique way of helping his patients and as Rob tells Anne about his findings about Rowan, it brings Anne back to a strange time, as snippets of her childhood come back to her.
Emma, is a wonderful character, her career is to offer advice and be a motivational speaker, on how to be organised but her own life and house is absolute chaos, that’s why she employed Anne. To the outside world, she’s perfect but in real life, she’s scatty, insecure and constantly looking for reassurance. She confides in Anne and is a far cry from the professional persona that she claims.
With a delightfully dark cover, ‘The Housekeeper” is a complicated and twisted tale about lies and deceit. Atmospheric from the start, the story is cleverly written with regulars shocks and unexpected surprises that keeps the reader engaged. With a selection of delicious characters that are all far from perfect, the story is about the complexities of life, the desire to fit in and what you see isn’t always what is true.
You can buy The Housekeeper from Amazon