Originally published: 10 June 2021
Author: Alex Michaelides
Published by: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Length: 284 pages
Reading dates: 7-12 June 2021
We all keep secrets. Even from ourselves.
St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.
For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.
As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its own.
Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.
A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will unravel everything…
I loved The Silent Patient when I read it a couple of years ago and was very excited when I heard Alex Michaelides had written a new book. Told from the point of view of Mariana, a group therapist she is mourning her husband Sebastian who recently died in an accident while on holiday in Greece. When her niece Zoe, calls and tells her a young woman has been brutally murdered and she suspects it may be her best friend Tara, Mariana heads straight to Cambridge University. She met Sebastian there when they were both studying so at every turn she has reminders of the love they had and what she has lost.
Mariana decides to stay at Cambridge to look after Zoe and to try and find out more about the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca who seems to have some sort of hold over a group of his students who call themselves The Maidens. All young women from mostly wealthy and privileged backgrounds, it appears Tara was one of this group and Mariana suspects Fosca to be involved in her murder.
The Maidens is a eloquently written thriller. I loved the setting of Cambridge University and the references throughout to Greek mythology, something Greek-born Mariana had grown up with but also seems to link to the murders. As in The Silent Patient, the central character has a background in psychology and it was interesting to see how she used her skills as a psychologist to try and solve the murder as opposed to the usual police methods that are often described in books.
There is also a link to The Silent Patient which I loved (I won’t say any more) but I love it when a book links to another in the same setting – it felt like I was being let in on a little secret!
Cambridge University makes for a beautiful and atmospheric setting and I loved learning about all the traditions that surround it. I thought I’d guessed the plot from quite early on but I wasn’t even close! With short chapters, it is the sort of book you just can’t put down. A thoroughly enjoyable, dark but wonderful captivating thriller, this is a fantastic second book from Michaelides.
Many thanks to Anne for the invite to the tour and to Orion Books for a proof copy. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers taking part in the tour over on Instagram and on their blogs!
The Maidens is my 3rd book from my 20 Books of Summer.
About the author:
Alex Michaelides was born and raised in Cyprus. He has an M.A. in English literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and an M.A. in screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. The Silent Patient was his first novel and was the biggest-selling debut in the world in 2019. It spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and sold in a record-breaking forty-nine countries. Alex lives in London.