Andrea reviews THE HOUSEKEEPER by Joy Fielding, Ballantine Books, 2022, 351 pages. I have been reading this particular author from Florida since I was a teenager. I refuse to tell you how long ago that’s been, but you can look up the publication date of SEE JANE RUN if you are really that curious. Ms. Fielding has written some fabulous books in her tenure and some not so fabulous novels. I suppose that is every writer, though. I am glad to report her latest novel of mystery/suspense did not disappoint.
It begins with real estate agent, Jodi Bishop looking for a live in caregiver for her elderly parents. Juggling a husband, young children, and a career, Jodi cannot take care of her aging parents as well as she used to. Her mother has Parkinson’s, and her father is not in great shape, either. Enter Elyse Woodley. She seems like a dream, at first, taking extra good care of the incapacitated Audrey and the stubborn Vic. Jodi seems like she has a true ally in Elyse. The pressure is off of Jodi to be a dutiful daughter. At least for a little while.
Suddenly Jodi notices Elyse’s wearing Audrey’s expensive jewelry, and why are pieces of Audrey’s couture hanging in Elyse’s closet? When Jodi and her sister, Tracy, question Elyse, it seems she has answer for everything. It gets even worse when Audrey dies after falling down the stairs. Vic and Elyse soon remarry and start shutting the daughters out of their affairs. Becoming more and more suspicious, the daughters want answers from detectives, attorneys, and the local police.
Elyse Woodley is not Jodi’s dream housekeeper/ally, in fact, she turns into a real nightmare. Readers will be appalled how manipulative and abusive Elyse will turn out to be before it all comes crashing down. What is they say when something is too good to be true?