Tuesday 21 February 2023

Book ~ "The Housekeeper" (2022) Joy Fielding

From Goodreads ~ Jodi Bishop knows success. She's the breadwinner, a top-notch real estate agent. Her husband, Harrison ... not so much. Once he had big dreams. But now he's a middling writer who resents his wife's success.

Jodi's father, Vic, now in his late seventies and retired, is a very controlling man. His wife, Audrey, was herself no shrinking violet. But things changed when Audrey developed Parkinson's ten years ago and Vic retired to devote himself to her care. But while still reasonably spry and rakishly handsome, Vic is worn down by his wife's deteriorating condition.

Exhausted from trying to balance her career, her family, and her parents’ needs, Jodi starts interviewing housekeepers to help care for Audrey and Vic. She settles on Elyse Woodley, an energetic and attractive widow in her early sixties, who seems perfect for the job. While Vic is initially resistant, he soon warms to Elyse’s sunny personality and engaging ways.

And Jodi is pleased to have an ally, someone she can talk to and occasionally even confide in. Until ...

She shuts Jodi out. And Audrey's condition worsens - rapidly. Who is this woman suddenly wearing her mother’s jewelry? What is she after? And how far will she go to get it?

Jodi is the married mother of two young children. As a real estate agent, she is the main support of her family. Her husband is a novelist who had success with his first book 10 years and and has been working on his second one since. Her parents are elderly ... her mother is bedridden and her father is her caregiver. As busy as Jodi is, her husband still seems to expect her to carry more of the load at home and is resentful when she cares for her parents. Somethings got to give so Jodi hires a housekeeper named Elyse, who seems perfect and it takes some pressure off Jodi. But things start taking a turn ... Elyse is controlling her parents' household, restricting access to them and wearing Jodi's mother's clothing and jewellery and there's nothing Jodi can do about it.

It was an intriguing story of how Elyse was able to take control of everything ... a bit farfetched but I went with it. I liked the writing style. It was written in first person perspective in Jodi's voice. As a head's up, there is swearing. 

I didn't find there were any likeable characters. Everyone, including her parents, husband and older sister, treated Jodi like crap. Despite her age (she's in her late 30s/early 40s) and having a successful career, she's a doormat and kept on taking everything so I had a hard time feeling sorry for her. Her family would insult her and she wouldn't say anything because that's the way they always spoke to her (they made no secret that her older freeloading sister was the favourite). When her husband treated her like crap, she took it because she didn't want to cause friction like she saw between her parents.

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