Book Review: The Maidens

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Title: The Maidens
Author: Alex Michaelides
Publication Date: 2021
Publishing House: Macmillian Audio

A lot of retelling of Greek myths or books inspired by Greek myths and plays end up on my to read list. This book is one that I had come across several times and I came across it again at the library and decided to read it. I did listen to this as an audiobook.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. 

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. 

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

TW: Trauma, death of a loved one, and murder.

I have weird feelings about this book. It is an enjoyable read overall but it does start slow. Mariana has experienced a fairly recent personal loss and the events in this book are the things that wake her from the depressed stupor that she has been in. It might have been the narrator in the audiobook version I listened too but this book felt like a step back in time and like walking through a fog, where only a small space around you was visible.

All of the characters in this book feel as if they are living in their own world. Mariana has devoted herself to her group therapy sessions in the wake of her loss. Fosca is secure in his position as a much admired professor. Zoe and the other students act as if despite the tragedy around them that they do not need to help in their own ways to aid the investigation. I did not trust anyone in this book, not even Mariana because I felt her judgement was clouded.

I suggest this book for those that like mystery novels, those who enjoy Greek Mythos, and those that are interested in book from an uncommon narrator. Have you read this book? Do you like reading books with mentions of Greek tragedies? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading.

Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!

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