The Housekeepers by Alex Hay-Summary
Goodreads Summary of The Housekeepers by Alex Hay (review below):
On the night of London’s grandest ball, a bold group of women downstairs launch a daring revenge heist against Mayfair society in this dazzling historical novel about power, gender, and class.
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.
The Housekeepers by Alex Hay- Review
If I mention Ocean’s 11 and use many gifs from it, well, sue me. I loved the Ocean’s movies, which meant Alex Hay’s The Housekeepers had much to live up to. It hit the mark.
Alex Hay strikes that balance between being plot-driven and character-driven. You can’t really say it isn’t plot-driven. It is a Historical Fiction Heist. Moreover, what I just said? Historical Fiction Heist? Let that marinate for a minute. That alone makes the plot of The Housekeepers incredibly unique. However, there is also a large cast of strong female characters (which I will talk about more in a bit) that have real bite and depth to them.
Writing a heist, a proper heist, isn’t easy. There is a lot that has to go into it. From the very start of getting your team together and reconnaissance to flashing back throughout it to bring in reveals and what goes on behind the actual heist. However, that means toeing the line between what information to reveal and what to hold back and then knowing the right time to reveal all. Then, of course, is the actual heist. It should be daring but believable. Additionally, it has to have a tremendous amount of suspense. Alex Hay links each piece of the heist puzzle.
Thank you to Graydon House, HarperCollins, and Harper Audio for inviting me on this book tour and providing an advanced audio arc. The Housekeepers by Alex Hay releases on July 4th.
Alex Hay doesn’t shy away from class structures or the respect of women between women. That isn’t to say there isn’t any respect from men themes addressed, but it was refreshing to explore what respect means between women and classes of women. There was a taught sense of thrill throughout The Housekeepers, not just during the heist. And except for a pacing issue here and there, it kept me engaged. As you will see below, there is a reason for some of the pacing, and it is well worth what you get out of it.
The Housekeepers By Alex Hay- Characters
You can’t say The Housekeepers isn’t character-driven. It absolutely is! That only works with a plot driven by a heist because the characters are so strong. Although a large cast of female characters could be hard to track, Alex Hay doesn’t fall into that trap. He wasn’t afraid to slow the plot down occasionally to truly go in-depth with each character’s back story. Additionally, he keeps revealing character story arcs and changes throughout The Housekeepers.
You can’t say too much about specific character backstories without giving away spoilers. However, each woman had a unique story, purpose, and drive. Not one character is lost in the shuffle. And that takes time to build. It is entirely worth that time. The Housekeepers would feel shallow without the time taken to build each character fully. Alex Hay made the right choice in doing so.
Furthermore, each character has a specific role in the heist, which is crucial. You have your mastermind, side-kick, funder, etc. If you are interested in reading more about the roles of characters in a heist, see this fantastic link. Just adjust for the time period. Obviously, you don’t need a computer hacker at the turn of the 20th century.
The Housekeepers By Alex Hay- Final Thoughts And Audiobook
This is my first time listening to Jasmine Blackborow narrate a book. She does a splendid job bringing each woman to life. With such a large cast, this is not easy. However, Jasmine Blackborow is brilliant.
I’m looking forward to listening to more of her narrations.
All I can say in the end is that if you love Historical Fiction and Heists? The Housekeepers is definitely in your reading wheelhouse. I highly recommend it because it provides a unique spin on different tropes and themes.