Get ready to curl up with a page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Freida McFadden, the bestselling author of multiple psychological thrillers, is back with another gripping tale in her latest novel, The Housemaid.
In this mysterious and suspenseful story, we follow the life of Millie Calloway, a woman with a dark past who lands a job as a housekeeper for the wealthy and enigmatic Nina Winchester. As Millie navigates the treacherous waters of the Winchester household, she soon realizes that there’s more to Nina’s erratic behavior than meets the eye.
With themes of power, abuse, and victimhood at the forefront, McFadden expertly weaves a tale that tells us that things are never like they seem to be.
This list of book club questions for The Housemaid will help you with learning more about what this amazing novel has to offer.
And in case you want to read what the book is about and know my opinion, I have a detailed blog post here – The Housemaid Book Review.
The post might contain affiliate links. For more information, read our disclosure. Also, these questions contain spoilers.
The Housemaid Book Club Questions For Discussion
- The doorknob sticking in the bathroom during Millie’s nighttime visits is terrifying for her. Not only does it lock from the outside and have a window that won’t open, she also isn’t familiar with the new mansion. This vulnerability causes Millie to feel ensnared within an unknown environment. Do you think Nina did the right thing by providing her with a place that only locks from the outside? Was it a sign of her mental health or her insecurities?
- Nina realized that Andrew might have fallen for Millie. To ensure that Millie would remain faithful, Nina gave her a mobile phone as a way to communicate any problems or issues in the mansion and also an attempt to keep track of her activities. Was this a smart move, or Millie had her subtle doubts?
- Nina and Andrew’s dreams of a larger family were crushed when she was diagnosed with fertility issues. This devastating news caused immense disappointment for Andrew, who had especially been looking forward to being a father again after Cecelia wasn’t biologically his daughter. Do you think this caused Andrew to drift away from Nina, or was it something else?
- Andrew shocks both Nina and Millie when he admits his feelings for the latter, instantly altering the atmosphere of the room. With newfound awareness of their mutual attraction, Andrew firmly commands Nina to leave and makes it clear that her mistreatment towards Millie will no longer be tolerated. Do you think this was the right move for Andrew to make? Why or why not?
- Millie and Nina could not be more different. On one hand, we have an independent woman with a criminal record striving to pull herself up by her bootstraps; on the other, there is a wealthy housewife heavily burdened by depression and trauma. How do you think these differences have affected their relationship, both with themselves and with and with Andrew?
- The story masterfully unravels different layers of manipulation, from Nina’s intricate plan involving Millie to Andrew’s sinister control over Nina’s life. The characters often find themselves ensnared in webs of deceit and coercion.
How does McFadden’s portrayal of these intricate manipulations serve as a commentary on the human desire for control, and what does it reveal about the lengths people will go to in order to maintain or regain power in their lives?
- If Millie did not have a pretty face, would she still be treated the same way? How important did her looks play in the development of her character? Would Millie have been brave enough to pursue a relationship with Andrew if Nina’s mistreatment had not pushed her to enjoy life again?
- When Andrew’s memorial service occurs, his grieving mother, Evelyn Winchester, discloses to Nina that she had reprimanded her son (during his childhood) in a manner not too dissimilar from the way he mistreated her. Do you think our childhood and the way we are raised can heavily influence our behavior and actions in adult life?
- The sweet turn of events where Nina was a victim and made a plan with Enzo to get Andrew and Millie together suggests an act of immaculate planning. Did you find any faults in Nina’s plans, as in, was it too good to be true?
- If Andrew was not the CEO of the company, it might have been more difficult for him to keep Nina away. Do you think his power and status were a factor in the way Nina was treated? Also, do you think this is an example of how power corrupts people?
- “The Housemaid” vividly delves into the dark corners of human psychology, especially with regards to abuse, retaliation, and the vicious cycle that can ensue. From Andrew’s sadistic tendencies inherited from his mother’s disciplinary methods to Millie’s history of violent retaliation against those who wronged her, there is a recurring theme of pain begetting pain.
Considering the various acts of vengeance in the novel, how does McFadden explore the thin line between justice and revenge, and the moral implications therein?
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