The Maidens Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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"Between the three of them, author Alex Michaelides and narrators Louise Brealey and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith cast a spell that will have listeners glued to this suspenseful novel every chance they get." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)
"The audiobook is narrated primarily by actor Louise Brealey, who has given life to complex female characters in the audio editions of The Girl on the Train and The Silent Patient, Michaelides’ first novel. Here, she does an excellent job of conveying Mariana’s confusion, courage and determination to solve the mystery at any cost. Actor Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s nuanced performance as the killer reminds us that monsters are made, not born, and that within even the most heinous murderer is a shattered, lonely child." (Booklist, starred audiobook review)
"Listeners will not be disappointed with this suspenseful and intelligent thriller." (Booklist, starred review)
From the number one New York Times best-selling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly).
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.
A Macmillan Audio production from Celadon Books
"Stunning.... The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides's tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson's poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"A deliciously dark, elegant, utterly compulsive read — with a twist that blew my mind. I loved this even more than I loved The Silent Patient and that's saying something!" (Lucy Foley, New York Times best-selling author of The Guest List)
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 19 minutes|
|Narrator||Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Louise Brealey|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 15, 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#700 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#31 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#81 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#148 in Psychological Thrillers (Books)
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Top reviews from the United States
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Mariana Andros is a London psychotherapist who specializes in group therapy. She has recently lost her husband, Sebastian, who has drowned off of the coast of the Greek island where Mariana’s family have a summer villa. Now her niece Zoe is in deep kimchi. Zoe is a student at a fictitious college at Cambridge and her best friend has just been brutally stabbed to death. The victim was a member of the ‘Maidens’, a putative study group surrounding the charismatic but oily Professor Edward Fosca. Fosca teaches Greek tragedy and as the body count increases the victims are found to be in possession of post cards with lines on them from Greek tragedies. However (and this is important) Professor Fosca has alibis for the times at which the murders occur. Mariana sets out to restore her niece’s spirit and psychological well-being by investigating the murders. Her focus falls on Professor Fosca, who seems to be making goo-goo eyes at her (along with all of his female students). She also encounters a mathematics/physics graduate student who is too young for her but immediately wishes to propose marriage, even though they don’t really know one another. She is also being followed by one of her London patients, a needy, troubled, violent soul named Henry. Fortunately she can appeal to an elderly, female, pipe-smoking professor to help her with the translations of the passages on the post cards.
So what do we have here? A ‘university murder story’? Sort of. A psychological thriller? Sort of. A set of love stories? Sort of. A book that holds your attention, has interesting characters, significant themes, a vibrant setting and solid plotting? Unfortunately, no.
I do not want to spoil the plot but I will warn potential readers that they are likely to utter some epithet or cri de coeur aloud if they make it to the book’s end. The revelation does not just come from left field. It comes from a distant left field in a remote county in an adjoining state. And, crucially, the revelation turns on an error in judgment on the part of the protagonist that is so severe that it calls into question any investigatory credentials she might be expected to possess. Since she is the only marginally likeable character in the story, with the exception of the math/physics student (who may be the murderer) and the pipe-smoking woman (who probably isn’t the murderer), this is a serious problem.
The writing has not risen above the workaday prose of The Silent Patient; there are no brilliant one-liners, no insightful reflections on the human condition, and no great evocations of the feeling and ethos of Cambridge. If I hadn’t purchased the novel and didn’t feel an obligation to review readers to actually complete the reading of it, I would not have made it through the first fifty pages.
So why the hype, why the broad readership, why the occasional strong review? I simply don’t know. The crime fiction market is more sparse than it was a generation ago, but there are many, many other eligible choices. I have read at least a dozen regionally-published or self-published novels in the last few months that are of far greater interest. It may just be the marketing. At any rate, caveat emptor. This is a slog with a howler ending that will not leave you hungry for its successor.
I enjoyed reading it. Literally could not put it down and had to read it in one sitting. Cleverly developed characters and plot and an insightful description of our frightfully complicated nature as humans.
Mariana Andros is a dedicated group therapist and widow. When her Cambridge student niece Zoe, calls and tells her, her friend is missing, Mariana's instinct is to go to her. Arriving at St. Christopher's College she consoles Zoe after Tara's body is discovered but something isn't right. In addition to helping find the murdered the college backdrop reawakens Mariana's memories of her beloved husband Sebastian; from the time they spent together as students at the college. When she meets the charismatic professor, Edward Fosca, she is sure he is guilty of murder as the evidence stacks up against him. Only, why would he kill his students?
The beginning was slow however, the pace and my interest soon picked up as the narrative settles into a steady rhythm. Thanks to the short chapters it's easy to digest the clues; mostly red herrings as they crop up. Intertwined are references to Greek Tragedies and Alfred Tennyson to add weight to the exposed evidence. The author's writing is clear and succinct, again making it easy for the reader to keep abreast of the proceedings. Therefore, I did manage to pick up on a clue, silently patting myself on the back before getting blind-sided with the reveal of the killer's identity.
With the cameo appearance of two characters from The Silent Patient, I do wonder if a third novel by the author may tie these two narratives together… if so, I'll be the first in the clue to read it!
***arc received courtesy of Orion Publishing via NetGalley***
The Maidens is an easy read, told in 5 parts, through short chapters.
Mariana is a grieving widow and group therapist who gets contacted by her niece Zoe, from Cambridge University. A murder of one of Zoe's friends has prompted Zoe to reach out to her aunt to come to Cambridge and assist if possible in finding the perpetrator.
The problem for me was that I had no confidence in Mariana and found her character somewhat ridiculous. She immediately and without good reason becomes determined to find a charismatic Professor, Edward Fosca, guilty.
The murder is followed by a second body of a young woman being found. Both women were part of The Maidens, a group formed by the professor of his favourite and most gifted students. This makes Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spiral out of control. The big reveal for me was good but not that unexpected. 4 stars
Top reviews from other countries
Having missed out on Alex Michaelide's debut novel, "The Silent Patient", which received overwhelmingly positive feedback, I was keen to make sure that I got my hands on a copy of his follow-up. Having read the accompanying synopsis my anticipation was only heightened further: A murder mystery set in the world of academia within the appealing environs of Cambridge University. In addition to murder, the plot was said to combine psychology and Greek mythology, as legendary tales from the time of ancient Greece seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to events taking place now. My appetite was suitably whetted ... but unfortunately it wasn't to be too long before severe disappointment set in.
Frustratingly, some sections are nicely written and quite prosaic. This, in combination with an appealing backdrop and an engaging premise, could and should have been a recipe for a successful story. Unfortunately, there are just too many elements that simply don't pass muster: The characterisation is simplistic and lacks any depth. Descriptive language tends towards the melodramatic. The dialogue is often stilted, clunky and unnatural. Some of the mechanics used to move the plot forward are convenient to the point of being inane and reminiscent of the kind of thing you might expect to find in a children's adventure story. The frequent references to Greek mythology are, no doubt, intended to give an impression of worthiness and of being profound, but it is little more than a veneer. Ultimately "The Maidens" is a run of the mill mystery hiding behind an intellectual façade.
In his notes the author states that this novel is his fond homage to the classic female crime writers: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Margaret Millar, Margery Allingham, Josephine Tey, P.D. James and Ruth Rendell. A nice gesture perhaps, but those ladies really deserved something better than this.
I mean. Mariana is an intelligent woman. The way she goes for a Cambridge lecturer she's never met, based on hearsay - one comment made by the dead girl to Mariana's niece before she was murdered - is bizarre to say the least. Then we have Mariana agreeing to meet up with this lecturer in private several times and also meet up with a stranger/stalker she met on a train. The whole thing is just weird. She even attacks one of the above in public - it's completely laughable.
Mr Michaelides' writing is morose. There's no light and shade to it whatsoever. So it wasn't even fun reading up until the stupidest denouement in the entire bookshop. Oh, I can't be bothered to write any more. It doesn't deserve another minute of my life.