I want to start by thanking the good people Ballantine Books for sending me the ARC of this novel. It was great to dive into the novel and become enamored by the story Prose crafted amongst the pages.
I loved this book. Nita Prose does a wonderful job making her protagonist, Molly, come to life on the page. Molly’s character was so utterly unique and versatile that I fell in love with the story within the first few sentences. The character’s voice was just so strong throughout the entire novel that it was hard not to get behind her. Believe me when I say that I don’t say this lightly: The voice of Molly—Molly’s entire character—is probably one of the best created characters I have followed in any novel. There was so much done right in this book, but this part of it—Molly’s part—is the best.
Prose wrote the entire novel in the first person perspective which was a brilliant choice that’s made even better because Prose knew her MC so well. The tone of Molly was deeply engrained in every sentence, even when there was no dialogue; because of this, the reader never loses the immersion in the text. I don’t know about you, but that makes me a happy camper indeed. The other characters we’re introduced to, Rodney, Giselle, Mr. Snow, etc. are all well layered and far from static. Nita Prose introduces her readers to a diverse cast that has us wondering what’s going to happen next.
Outside of the characters, the next best thing about the novel was the plethora of description; this is a mystery novel and when you get a good mystery book in your hands, you’re going to want to solve the “who done it?” question right alongside the MC. To do this, we need good descriptions and, while I’m no genius to the art of mystery writing, Prose does a great job of giving her readers the gems needed to piece the case together thanks to our character Molly being an “upstanding maid” who has a keen eye for detail; she’ll catch even the smallest speck of dirt in a room; however, with all that being said, I will say the story was lacking in certain parts. I promise I won’t spoil anything for you, but because of the unique character of Molly (she has trouble reading normal social cues that others would find easy) the reader catches onto things much faster. This becomes a double-edged sword known as dramatic irony and, while we never know everything, we can make a guess and piece things together to the point we’ll see how things are going to wrap up—and this isn’t in a satisfying “I solved the mystery!” kind of way. Rather, it dulls the storyline. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s a plot twist at the end; I did not know who the killer was so bravo to Prose for that work and the revelation we’re given. It surprised me, though it didn’t leave me as satisfied as I would have wished for, and here’s why.
After all the work leading up to this ending, things came to a close too fast, and I mean way too fast. The romance at the end felt forced. It came out of nowhere and, while it was sweet, I think things would have been just fine if they would have unfolded a different way, such as having hints of it throughout the novel rather than all at the end. It just didn’t feel natural. Then there was everything with the case. I won’t go into details, but I felt like I had slight whiplash by the last three or four chapters because everything was happening all at once. As a reader, I didn’t get that satisfaction of a case being wrapped up.
With all that being said, though, do be sure to give the book a read and make your own decisions on it. The novel was lovely, and Molly’s character was so well written, that in itself is a treat to read. Pre-order your copy on Amazon!