The Housekeepers by Alex Hay

The Housekeepers by Alex Hay
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group UK
Genre: Historical, Action/Adventure
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Mrs. King is no ordinary housekeeper. Born into a world of con artists and thieves, she’s made herself respectable, running the grandest home in Mayfair. The place is packed with treasures, a glittering symbol of wealth and power, but dark secrets lurk in the shadows.

When Mrs. King is suddenly dismissed from her position, she recruits an eclectic group of women to join her in revenge: A black market queen out to settle her scores. An actress desperate for a magnificent part. A seamstress dreaming of a better life. And Mrs. King’s predecessor, with her own desire for vengeance.

Their plan? On the night of the house’s highly anticipated costume ball—set to be the most illustrious of the year—they will rob it of its every possession, right under the noses of the distinguished guests and their elusive heiress host. But there’s one thing Mrs. King wants even more than money: the truth. And she’ll run any risk to get it…

After all, one should never underestimate the women downstairs.

Mrs. King has worked in the most illustrious home in Mayfair since she was a teenager. Now the housekeeper, having worked her way up throughout her whole life, she is suddenly dismissed with no character and no references. Determined to take her revenge, she knows exactly who to turn to – other working women who have been similarly treated poorly. So on the night of the biggest ball for the season, these women are planning their own grand event, the biggest heist of the century.

I am always a sucker for a really good heist novel and the fact this book was set in the middle of 1905 and has a cast predominantly of women – and “downstairs” working women at that – only made me more eager to give this book a try. And I was really happy with the story as a whole. The characters were believable and multi-layered, the plot was logical and for the most part quite believable too. This is the author’s debut novel and the story stood very well by itself and I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything from previous installments. I was really happy with the story.

The first half or so is the preparation phase really. The cast had to all get together and for such an enormous task there was obviously a lot to set up and prepare – so getting to see the workings of all this was really good. I also felt the pace of this part of the story was really well handled. The author didn’t skim by it which I was pleased about since this is clearly a massive part of the plot and the story itself. But I didn’t feel like this part dragged too slowly either. Much like any heist movie the setting up of the parts, the organizing and planning beforehand is of almost equal importance to the actual “go night” itself. Without proper planning and structure put in place the main event simply won’t happen. So, reading through all that really helped sell the book and event to me. Equally – the actual heist night was about the latter half of the book along with the repercussions, so I felt this was really well handled as well.

With interesting, complicated characters who all have their own reasons and agenda’s along with a lovely plot of the heist itself this was an interesting and many layered story that I really enjoyed and can strongly recommend.

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