The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

I’ve been thinking about this book. Whether or not it was my favorite or the problems I had with it may be irrelevant considering I’m still thinking about this story. Almost a week after I’ve finished it, the characters have plagued my mind. In hopes of avoiding any spoilers, the rest of my comments will be somewhat ambiguous.

Mariana Andros, the character we follow throughout the story, is a group therapist in London. Reeling from the grief of her late husband, Sebastian, she’s become somewhat of a shut-in. When her niece calls her from Cambridge after the murder of a friend, Mariana begins facing the walls she’s put up in her life. Determined to protect her niece, Mariana uses her psychological training to solve the case.

While I’m fascinated with the story and surprised by its ending, I do still have a few problems with the book as it is. To start with, the third person narrator was at times distant, like a far-off satellite that hovered over these characters. These moments severed the reader from the story. There were also extremely long and descriptive flashbacks throughout the piece. By the time the scenes were over, I, as a reader, had completely forgotten about what was going on in the present. It made things like plot and side characters difficult to hold onto. I realize that this was at times on purpose, the key to any mystery is a distraction, but it was over-bearing at times.

But my biggest irritation with this piece is the ending. More specifically, the ending of the epilogue, it was abrupt and eliminated the scene I wanted. I wanted that last scene so much and I’m left just rebuilding it in my head over-and-over again. Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t there, because I’m still thinking about The Maidens by Alex Michaelides.

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