Greek mythology, dark academia at Cambridge, and mysterious murders keep the thrills coming in Alex Michaelides’ The Maidens. Told from two alternating perspectives, the novel’s plot involves a grieving widow, her collegiate ward, and a tremendous amount of coincidence, serendipity, contrivance – or perhaps the goddesses Demeter and Persephone guided the action. The main character, Mariana, leads group therapy sessions for a living, yet she ignores her own mental health and jumps to a great number of ill conceived, even childish and fool-hardy  actions throughout the story which calls into question her reliability as a narrator. Between these short chapters, an unidentified second voice, a decidedly male and ill-intentioned character, gives chilling insights into the actions in the story.

The ending. I’ll be honest. I didn’t care for it, and considering the profession of the individual in question, I find it a bit difficult to believe. True, we’re all flawed people, but with the years of study involved, I would expect more compassion and insight. 

Overall, though, The Maidens offers an interesting diversion with some beautiful bits of writing. In particular, I found an early description of grief breathtaking.