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The Housemaid

Recap, Summary & Spoilers



The Quick Recap and Chapter-by-Chapter Summary for The Housemaid by Freida McFadden are below.

Ending & Explanations

See the Ending & Explanations for The Housemaid

Quick(-ish) Recap

The two-paragraph version: Millie is a young, beautiful ex-con who gets a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy couple, Nina and Andrew. Nina is temperamental and increasingly crazy, while Andrew is attractive and kind. Millie eventually sleeps with Andrew, and he kicks Nina out. We then learn that Nina hates Andrew and wanted to be free of him, which is why she hired Millie in the first place as a replacement. During their marriage, Andrew tortured Nina by locking her up in an attic room as "punishment" to correct various behaviors. He had her locked up in a psychiatric facility for 8 months as well. He used threats against her daughter to control her.

In present day, Andrew soon turns on Millie and wants to do the same (locking her up, torturing her) to her, but Millie finds some pepper spray in the attic room and attacks Andrew, locking him in the room and torturing him instead. We then learn that Millie went to jail for accidentally killing and attempted rapist and has a few other violent incidents in her past. Nina knew about it all along. She not only wanted Millie to be a replacement, she was also hoping Millie would kill Andrew. When he dies, Nina offers to take the blame for it, since it's what she wanted all along, she just didn't have it in her to kill him. But when the police detective comes to question her it turns out his daughter was Andrew's ex-fiance who was traumatized by him. The detective concludes the death was an accident. In the Epilogue, Millie interviews for a cleaning job but it becomes clear the woman really just wants Millie to kill her abusive husband. Millie takes the job.

In Part I, Millie is a beautiful, broke young woman who takes a job as a live-in housekeeper for a wealthy couple, Nina and Andrew Winchester. Millie doesn't tell them that she's been in jail for the last ten years, ever since she was 17. They put her up in a small room that was previously a closet so the door locks from the outside. Nina is temperamental and messy, and she has a daughter, Cecelia, 9. Nina often forgets or gets confused about instructions she's given or not given Millie, and Millie gets blamed for it. Nina has also gained weight over the years and everyone around her seems to agree that she's a little crazy. Her medicine cabinet is a mess of pills. Millie hears that Nina previously was admitted to a psychiatric facility after she drugged and attempted to drown Cecelia and then took pills to try to kill herself, too.

Meanwhile, Andrew is handsome, successful and understanding. Millie and Andrew slowly grow closer. When Nina and Andrew go to a fertility doctor and learn that Nina can't have any more children, Andrew is heartbroken. One night when Nina is away, Andrew and Millie sleep together. Before long, they get in a fight and Andrew kicks Nina out. Soon, Andrew fires Enzo, the landscaper. Andrew thinks the guy is an asshole, and Nina was the one who kept him around since he was the "best". Before Enzo leaves, he warns Millie that she is in danger and should leave. Shortly after, Millie gets a phone call telling her to stay away from Andrew. That night, she goes to bed, but wakes up to find that she's locked in her room.

Part II opens with Nina being glad to be free to Andrew. The narrative switches to Nina's point of view as she recounts her history with him and her plan to be free of her sadistic evil husband. Nina was once a English Ph.D. student, but she dropped out when she got pregnant and took a job as a receptionist at the company that Andrew runs. He took an interest in her and after a short courtship they were married. Three months in, he locks her in the closet in the attic for two days as punishment for letting her roots show and looking sloppy. When he lets her out, he explains that he's going to put her back in there if she misbehaves.

Nina soon wakes up groggy and sees her infant daughter Cecelia in the bathtub with the water on. Panicked, Nina realizes she's been drugged and struggled to get to Cecelia. The police show up, having been called by Andrew, and reach the conclusion that Nina drugged Cecelia to try to drown her and then took pills to kill herself. Nina is sent to a psychiatric facility for the next eight months where they convince her that her sadistic experience with Andrew is merely a delusion. Nina eventually believes it and is let out, but Andrew soon locks her in the attic bedroom again.

He continues this "punishment" every other month or so for whatever perceived misbehavior. He threatens to hurt Cecelia or have Cecelia taken away and her re-admitted to psychiatric care if she doesn't comply. He also tells all of her friends that she suffers from delusions, and he lets Nina know that if anything happens to him, his lawyer had been instructed to tell the police that she's been threatening him. This goes on for seven years. Andrew soon starts wanting another baby since Cecelia is getting older, and he knows that when Cecelia becomes more independent it will be easier to control Nina by threatening to hurt another child.

With Enzo's help to arrange passports and new identities, Nina makes an attempt to flee with Cecelia, but Andrew finds out and stops it. Finally, Nina resorts to finding someone young and beautiful to tempt Andrew into taking her place. Nina finds Millie and hires her. Nina tells herself that Millie will be okay and can leave because she doesn't have a child to use to control her like Nina does. Nina knows she needs to make Millie dislike her so that Millie will be willing to sleep with her husband, and Nina creates a situation (the Broadway show) where it can happen. Sure enough, Andrew picks Millie, and Nina is finally free. Enzo, however, reminds Nina that they just can't leave Millie with Andrew because it isn't right.

In Part III, Andrew explains to Millie that she's been locked in the room because she's being punished and he subjects her to mild torture before he lets her out. When he finally does, Millie attacks him with some pepper spray that she found in the room. She then turns the tables on Andrew and locks him inside, forcing him to perform tasks like demanding that he remove his own teeth with pliers, and refusing to let him out. (We learn that Millie went to prison for accidentally killing a guy in boarding school who was attempting to rape a friend of hers.)

It turns out that Nina was the one who hid the pepper spray in the room for her to find. Nina knew about Millie's incarceration -- as well as various other violent incidents in Millie's past. Nina wasn't just hoping Millie would replace her, she was also hoping Millie would kill Andrew.

Enzo convinces Nina that she needs to go save Millie because Millie hasn't left the house in days. When Nina arrives, she finds Millie there with Andrew's dead body. Millie is upset, knowing she'll go to jail, but Nina offers to take the blame since this was always her intention. She hoped Millie would do it because she didn't have it in her. She says she can attribute it to her mental health issues and go back to the psychiatric facility, and they'll say Millie was given the week off and wasn't even there.

When the police arrive, Nina sticks to that story. The detective questions her, then he admits that his daughter knew Andrew. She was his ex-fiance, Kathleen Connors, and he traumatized her. The detective concludes that Andrew's death was an accident. Later, at Andrew's wake, Nina meets Andrew's parents and is surprised to hear that his mother Evelyn is very tough on Andrew, even in death. She approves of what she assumes was Nina teaching Andrew a lesson.

In the Epilogue, Millie is interviewing for a different cleaning job when she notices the woman has a bruise on her. The woman says that Nina recommended her as someone who could help her. Millie understands her perfectly (the woman wants her to murder her abusive husband), and she accepts the job.

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Chapter-by-Chapter Summary


Prologue
Part I
Part II
Part III
Epilogue

Prologue

The book opens with someone being questioned by a cop, Connors, after having found a body in the attic, certain they’ll be arrested. Another cop interrupts the them, telling Connors he should come upstairs and see something.

Part I

THREE MONTHS EARLIER

Chapter 1 – 3

Wilhelmina “Millie” Calloway is interviewed by Nina Winchester for a position as a housekeeper in the upscale, modern Winchester home. Nina describes the job as mostly cleaning, some light cooking and occasional help with their daughter Cecelia. It’s a live-in position with generous pay. Millie’s room would be tiny, located up a small narrow stairwell, but considering how Millie has spent the last month sleeping in the backseat of her car and showering at a rest stop, she readily agrees. Nina guides her through a tour and introduces her to Cecelia, 9.

A week later, Millie is offered the job. Millie accepts — and does not mention that she spent the last ten years in prison.

Millie eagerly arrives the next morning at the Winchester house. Enzo, the gardener/landscaper who only speaks Italian, lets her in through the gates. Before she goes in the house, he says a word, “pericolo” to her. Soon, Nina gets home and greets Millie. Millie is surprised to see that the immaculately clean house she saw last week is now a complete mess, but she’s happy to be needed and ready to work. Nina also hands her a new iPhone, after having seen her outdated flip phone, saying that she needs to be able to reliably communicate with her.

Andrew “Andy” Winchester, a very successful businessman, comes downstairs and briefly seems shocked to see her. But Nina quickly jumps in and introduces her to her husband. After her leaves, Nina asks Millie about the glasses she was wearing during the interview. They were fake, just to make Millie look smarter, but she lies and says that she’s wearing contacts now (and immediately regrets making up that silly lie).

Millie gets settled in the tiny bedroom which also has a mini-fridge. She asks why the lock is on the outside, and Millie explains that it was originally a storage closet. Millie asks for the key, and Nina agrees to locate one for her. There’s a window in the room, but it doesn’t open. Millie also thinks she sees what looks like scratch marks on the door. When she’s alone, Millie translates what Enzo said on her phone and sees that “pericolo” means “danger”.

Chapter 4 – 7

Millie cleans for hours until Cecelia interrupts her, asking for a snack. Millie prepares some peanut butter and crackers and Cecelia freaks out, saying she has a peanut allergy and crying for her mom.

When Nina hears this, she chides Millie for not remembering, though Millie is certain Nina never said anything and wonders why they even have peanut butter in the house. Nina also asks about dinner, which she also didn’t mention to Millie — but Millie just says it’ll be ready at 7. When Andrew gets home, he teases Nina about being a bad cook, which displeases Nina, and he invites Millie to join them for dinner, which Nina clearly does not want. Millie politely declines.

That night, Millie tries to exit her room and briefly panics when the door won’t open, but then she tries again and she tells herself it was just stuck. When she gets downstairs in the morning, the kitchen is a disaster, and Nina is certain that Millie threw out the notes she needs for her PTA (parent-teacher association) meeting. When Andrew comes down, Nina tells him about it and claims that Millie made the mess in the kitchen. Millie is about to defend herself when Nina leaves, but Andrew just says “I know” and offers to help her clean up.

Chapter 8 – 9

Millie goes to the grocery store to replace the stuff that Nina tossed around this morning. Enzo helps her with the groceries, but hurries away when he hears Nina coming. Nina demands to know if someone else was with Millie. Millie says it was just Enzo, but that still makes Nina angry, since she says she doesn’t want him tracking dirt in the house. Nina asks about her glasses again, and finally Millie admits that she lied about needing glasses.

Tonight, Nina has her PTA meeting so dinner is just for Andrew and Cecelia. When Andrew comes down for dinner, he looks handsome enough that Millie thinks about how she went to prison at 17 and hasn’t touched a man ever since — but she tells herself Enzo would be the smarter option since he seems to be unmarried, unlike Andrew. When Nina refuses to eat the steak Millie prepared, Andrew good-naturedly gives Millie a tutorial on what Cecelia is and is not willing to eat.

Chapter 10 – 13

A week into her job, Millie comes downstairs to see Nina with a garbage bag of nice clothes she wants to donate since they’re too small for her. Millie guesses that Nina is around a size 14. She offers them to Millie, who is a size six. Millie tentatively accepts the bag full of pricey clothes. Nina also gives Millie the key to her room and mentions that she and Andrew are trying for another baby.

Shortly after, Nina calls and asks Millie to pick Cecelia up from school — in 15 minutes. Millie rushes there, and she ends up in conversation with two women who mention how Nina is “high strung” or just “nuts”. When Cecelia comes out, she says that her friend Sophia’s mom, Rachel, is taking her to karate instead. Millie discusses it with Rachel, who calls Nina. Nina says that Millie got it mixed up. In a text to Millie, Nina says she has no idea why Millie went to pick Cecelia up.

Later, Millie is cleaning the bathroom when she notices how many medicines are in Nina’s medicine cabinet. Later, she looks one of them up — “haloperidol” is an antipsychotic “used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, delirium, agitation, and acute psychosis” — and there’s dozens more in the cabinet. Millie goes to talk to Enzo, who indicates that he’s worked here for 3 years. When she brings up what be thinks about Nina, he declines to say anything.

Chapter 14

Three weeks into her job, Millie has a meeting with her parole officer, Pam. Pam doesn’t know Millie got fired from her waitressing job from before or that she was living out of her car, but it feels good now to be able to tell her the truth about her work and living situation. Pam congratulates her on doing well, encourages her to make friends and reminds her that’s she’s beautiful so she shouldn’t settle when she starts dating.

It’s late and the first floor is empty after 10 PM, so Millie watches some Family Feud in the living room. Andrew sees her and decides to join her. As they chat, the topic of Cecelia’s peanut allergy comes up, but Andrew laughs and says that it’s not true and that she’s not allergic. They’re interrupted by the presence of Nina, who glares at them. She tells Millie, who is dressed in a tank top and gym shorts, that she needs to wear “appropriate attire” around the house and to stay in the attic after bedtime.

Millie is angry and humiliated after this interaction and slams a glass onto the floor. She immediately realizes it was a dumb thing to do and cleans it up before anyone notices.

Chapters 15 – 18

By now, Millie is getting tired of Nina’s constant messes and things like the random food and candy wrappers she finds everywhere. There’s a PTA meeting being held in the backyard today, and Millie is struggling to get everything ready in time. Andrew sees that she’s upset and offers to pick up the hors d’oeuvres for the meeting so she doesn’t have to. During the conversation, Andrew mentions that Cecelia isn’t his biological daughter, but he’s helped raise her since she was a baby.

When the meeting rolls around, Millie finds herself despising all the women there — Nina plus Jillianne (Jilly-anne), Patrice, and Suzanne. Nina is nasty towards Millie, and when Nina steps away the women there criticize Nina’s weight and how her roots are showing all the time. They also mention that Nina was previously in a psychiatric institution, that Andrew and Nina have an “airtight prenup” and that Andrew never adopted Cecelia.

A while later, Nina and Andrew meet with their fertility specialist. Meanwhile Millie watches Cecelia, though Cecelia gets upset over Millie making the wrong sandwich (Cecelia claims she asked for an abalone sandwich, not a bologna sandwich). Nina and Andrew look upset when they get back, and they return just as Cecelia has thrown her sandwich on the ground. Nina chides Millie for the mess being on the ground and gets angry when Millie asks how the appointment went. When Nina leaves, Andrew confides in Millie that apparently Nina can’t get pregnant. To raise Nina’s spirits, Andrew asks Millie to sort out a date and book tickets for a Broadway show, Showdown.

That night, Millie awakes to the sound of Nina and Andrew shouting. Millie hears a crash and goes to check if everything is okay. Nina is upset to see Millie there. There’s also a trail of something that looks like blood on Nina’s nightgown. Nina says she just cut her hand a little and orders Millie to stay up in the attic at night.

Chapters 19 – 21

Nina is in a better mood the next morning. Millie asks about a date for the show, and Nina suggests next Sunday. Andrew comes down and the two are affectionate with each other.

A little later, Enzo brings in a heavy package sent by a “Evelyn Winchester” that the delivery man left outside. Despite what Nina said, Millie invites Enzo inside for a cup of water since Nina’s not home. Millie makes a pass at Enzo, but he recoils and yells at her. Before he leaves, he warns her in broken English to leave and that “it’s dangerous”.

While Millie waits for Cecelia’s tap-dancing class to conclude, she chats with another one of the women there, Amanda. Amanda offers her an Advil for her headache, and she mentions that she knows Nina and that she thinks Nina is crazy. Amanda brings up the “looney bin” and tells her that Nina tried to drug and drown Cecelia in the bathtub and then took a bunch of pills to try to kill herself as well. Luckily, Andrew called the police when he couldn’t reach Nina.

When Andrew comes back he sees the package from Evelyn, his mother. He says it’s probably for Cecelia since Evelyn likes to spoil her because none of Cecelia’s grandparents are alive still. Andrew opens the box, and he looks upset when he sees it’s full of baby stuff like blankets and toys and onsies. Millie thinks that Nina must’ve mentioned to Evelyn that they were trying for a baby. When Andrew confides in Millie about his disappointment over not being to have a child, Millie puts her hand on his momentarily to comfort him, and they both feel something in that moment.

Chapters 22 – 27

Millie starts avoiding Andrew, realizing that her feelings are growing. Today, she confirms with Nina that she has the show tickets and a room booked at the Plaza for their night out. However, Nina tells her that she was expecting it to be next Sunday, not this Sunday, and insists that Millie was the one who made the mistake (though Millie feels certain of what Nina originally said). Nina is furious. Andrew offers to figure out how to get a refund, and Millie leaves in tears.

By the end of the week, Andrew is able to sort out the tickets, and Cecelia is leaving for camp for two weeks. Privately, Andrew tells Millie that he actually couldn’t get a refund, but he didn’t tell Nina that so she wouldn’t take it out of Millie’s paycheck. Since Nina is off driving Cecelia to camp and will be gone for the night, Andrew encourages Millie to use the tickets to take a friend to the show and enjoy the night at the Plaza. When Millie admits that she doesn’t have anyone to go with, Andrew offers to go with her.

Millie looks through Cecelia’s bag of clothes to find something nice for her night out in Manhattan and ends up in a form-fitting cocktail dress. She can tell Andrew likes the outfit when he sees her. They head to the city and the show is amazing. Afterwards, Andrew suggests a French restaurant for dinner. They have wine, and Andrew orders in French for both of them.

Nina soon calls, and Andrew talks to her, though he tells Millie that he doesn’t understand why their relationship is mostly her yelling at him. He says that when he met Cecelia, she was a single mom working two jobs, and she was completely different. Now, she doesn’t work and all she does is complain. And they haven’t had sex since that doctor’s visit. He also says that he was engaged to someone else previously.

After dinner, Andrew is too drunk to drive home, so he suggests just staying at the Plaza for the night. Millie thinks its a terrible idea, but he offers to just pay for two separate rooms so she agrees. But on the taxi ride over he starts kissing her.

They sleep together that night. The sex is good. In the morning, they both agree it shouldn’t happen again, but Millie still feels tempted.

Chapters 28 – 30

On the way back, Millie realizes she forgot to take out the trash to be picked up. Andrew offers to take care of it. When they pull in the garage, Enzo sees the two of them together and gives Millie a dark look. When Andrew sees him, he offers Enzo money to take the trash to the dump. Enzo seems reluctant to get involved in anything, but finally takes the money when Andrew offers him $200. When Enzo leaves, Andrew tells Millie that he thinks Enzo is kind of an asshole, but he does everyone’s yards around here, and Nina says he’s supposed to be the best.

Nina returns in the afternoon after a shopping spree. She mentions that she called the house line at 11 PM last night but no one answered. Millie says she was in her room at that point and probably just didn’t hear it. Then, she texts Andrew to warn him about what Nina said.

One night after Nina and Andrew have sat down for dinner, Nina brings up Millie’s prison stint which she somehow now knows about. Andrew looks shocked. Millie is upset and hurries back to her room. In there, she sees that her Showdown playbill is sitting on the nightstand even though she was certain it had been in her purse. Millie realizes Nina must have been in there and suspects what happened. She worries that she’s made an enemy out of Nina.

Chapters 31 – 33

Nina continues to make Millie’s job increasingly difficult by being even more demanding. Then, when Millie is at the grocery store, she gets detained because someone has alerted them that she is shoplifting. They threaten to prosecute her if it turns out to be true. They check her receipt and everything checks out, but they mention that the person who alerted them called in their tip. Millie suspects this was Nina’s doing.

Millie continues to be bothered by the idea that Andrew thinks she’s a criminal and that she misled him about her past. One night when he’s out on the back porch, she goes to talk with him, but they end up kissing. When she comes back in, she runs into Nina and wonders what Nina saw.

That Sunday, Nina accuses Millie of stealing her clothes. Millie reminds Nina that she gave them to her, but Nina calls her a thief and causes enough ruckus for Andrew to come over. Andrew reminds Nina that he saw her putting these clothes into a bag to be donated. He takes Nina aside and they argue until he tells Nina that she’s not the same person that he fell in love with. He says that he doesn’t love her anymore and admits he has feelings for Millie. When Nina threatens him, he tells her she needs to leave.

Nina hurriedly packs a bag and leaves in tears. Nina hisses at Millie that she “won’t forget this” as she goes.

Chapters 34 – 37

That night, Millie and Andrew sleep together in the guest bedroom, since Millie’s bed is too small and she doesn’t want to sleep in Nina’s bed. The next morning, Millie gets two calls from a blocked number. She assumes it must be Nina and rejects the call. When Andrew spots Enzo outside, the sight of him irritates Andrew, so he fires Enzo. Before Enzo leaves, he grabs Millie’s arm and tells her again, this time in clear plain English with only a hint of Italian accent, that she’s in danger and needs to leave.

Later, Millie gets another call from a blocked number, which she ignores again. Then, in the grocery store she sees Patrice, one of the women from the PTA meeting. Patrice says she’s been trying unsuccessfully to reach Nina and wonders if everything is okay. Millie lies and says yes. Then, Patrice notices Millie’s phone and asks if Nina gave it to her, telling her that Nina’s tracking everything she does on the phone with an app she pre-installed. When Millie gets the next call from a blocked number, she picks up but it’s just a spam call.

That night, Andrew works late. She gets another blocked call, and this time when she answers there’s a distorted voice telling her to “stay away from Andrew Winchester”. Millie starts to move her stuff downstairs into the guest bedroom, but Andrew comes home. Instead they have sex and fall asleep in her cot. When she awakes, he’s not there anymore. Then, she realizes that the door is locked.

Part II

(The book now shifts to Nina’s point-of-view.)

Chapter 38

Elsewhere, Nina is comfortably situated in a hotel room and sees that Millie has disabled the tracking app. Nina smiles to herself, pleased to finally be rid of her sadistic, evil husband Andrew.

Nina recalls how she’d gotten pregnant after by a drunken one-night stand. She’d been in grad school doing an English Ph.D, but dropped out. She took a job as a receptionist to pay the bills, and Andrew Winchester was the CEO of the company. For childcare, her neighbor Elena, who works evenings at a bar, is watching Cece while she’s at work, and she watches Elena’s son Teddy while Elena works.

She was still lactating at the time and had been called into Andrew’s office one day to bring some files to her boss Stewart Lynch, who had been meeting with Andrew. To her embarrassment, she’d squirted milk down her shirt. Andrew checks on her as she’s cleaning up and invites her to lunch. They go to a hot dog cart nearby, and he asks her about herself. He also asks to take her to a proper dinner, and he offers to have his mom babysit Cecelia.

Chapter 39 – 41

Andrew had a broken engagement a year before they met to a woman, Kathleen, and was ready to settle down. So, they had a short courtship and married. Nina dyes her hair a lighter shade, since Andrew prefers blonds. Three months into their marriage, he brings up to Nina that her roots are showing. He also asks for her help in locating some papers in a storage closet. When she goes in to look, he locks her in.

She’s locked in for three hours before he lets her out despite her screaming. He tells her not to bother, since everything below the attic is soundproofed. He tells her he did it to teach her the consequences of her actions because she didn’t properly take care of her roots and he can’t have his wife looking like a slob. He then locks her back in for the night.

There’s a bucket in the room, which she assumes is in case she needs to go to the bathroom. There’s also three small bottles of water. She calls out, asking if Cecelia is okay, and Andrew confirms that she’s with his mother. He then tells her he wants her to pull out 100 strands of hair from the root so he knows she’s learned her lesson and then he’ll let her out. He’s back after work to check on her, but he says a few are not fully intact from the root so she has to do it all over again. She does it and he finally lets her out.

Chapter 42 – 45

Nina gets some water and rest, but wakes up feeling groggy. She hears running water and crawls over to the bathroom to see Cecelia in there. Panicked, she struggles to get over to her. Suddenly an officer comes in to check on her. They take her to the hospital assuming that she drugged Cecelia and that she took pills herself.

For the next eight months she’s at Clearview Psychiatric Hospital. The therapist tells her she suffers from delusions and depression, which is why she believes she was held against her will by her husband and attempted the murder-suicide. The anti-psychotic has also caused weight gain.

Even after being discharged, Nina has to keep meeting with Dr. Hewitt. By now, Nina is also convinced she was being delusional. Andy reinforces that view. Dr. Hewitt also thinks she should re-visit the attic to face her delusions. After today’s appointment, they go home, and Evelyn is there. Evelyn gives Andy a hard time for leaving the lights on and he turns red. Nina has noticed how much Andy is desperate for his mother’s approval. Nina takes the blame even though she isn’t sure if it was her or not.

Nina resolves to go up in the attic like she was instructed to do. When she does Andy locks her in the closet again. He tells her it’s because she left the light on. He tells her to turn off the light and sit in the dark since the only bulbs in there are ultra-bright bulbs that are uncomfortable to look at. When he’s ready to let her out, he tells her that she can’t tell anyone the truth and she needs to understand that she’ll be locked back in here if she misbehaves.

Chapter 46 – 47

The years pass by. Seven years into the marriage, Nina has tried many times to convince Andy to let her out of the marriage. But she’s worried that he will use Cecelia against her if she tries to leave and just have her thrown back into the asylum. Instead, Nina has tried to be the perfect wife to avoid time in the closet, but it was never enough.

Nina’s new plan became to simply repel him by gaining weight and being mean. He tried starving her in the closet, but eventually seemed to have given up. She usually ends up in the closet every other month or so. Nina also tried looking for Kathleen to see if they could go to police together about him, but she wasn’t able to track her down with only scant details about her. Cecelia is also scared of having her mother disappear for days at a time, so Cecelia is obedient towards Andy as well. He keeps the jar of peanut butter in the kitchen even though he knows Cecelia is allergic, just as a reminder. She knows that Andy wants another child so that when Cecelia gets a little older and doesn’t need Nina as much, he’ll still have a way to control Nina.

Andy also has a pattern of finding out when Nina has made a new friend and cluing them in on her mental health history, so she has no one to turn to. The landscaper Enzo doesn’t speak English, so Nina confides in him even though he can’t understand what she’s saying.

One day, when Nina has been locked in for 20 hours, Enzo comes inside, determined to let her out. He asks where the key is and Nina realizes that he understands English. She asks him to please leave her alone, since she fears getting sent back to the asylum or having him hurt Cecelia somehow. Andrew’s also informed her that in the event of his death, his lawyer would forward a letter to the police about the threats she’d made against him. Enzo says that he wants to try to find a way to help her.

Chapter 48

Later, Enzo, who is a very attractive man, admits that he pretends not to speak English since it’s just easier, and the housewives on the street leave him alone this way. Enzo says he is from Sicily and his sister was in an abusive relationship with a powerful man, and the man eventually killed her. Enzo resolved to kill that man, but didn’t go that far. Instead, the man still lives and it’s not safe for him to return to Sicily.

Enzo manages to arrange for passports, birth certificates, plane tickets for her and Cecelia. She’ll also need cash. He has some money, but it’s not enough, so Nina needs to find a way to get some more. However, few days later, Nina comes home to find all these items laid out on a table with the cash that she has. It’s clear he knows exactly what’s going on, and he sends her to the closet. Nina makes a break for it and starts driving. Enzo had arranged for the items to be kept in two different safe deposit boxes and it looks like Andy only found one of them. He didn’t find the second one with just cash in it.

She finds Enzo and tells him what happened and that she can’t leave. She knows that if she tried to go pick up Cecelia from school he would have already called them to let them know not to let her near Cecelia. Instead, Enzo tells her he has a plan to kill Andrew, but Nina knows they’ll just end up in jail. Instead, she has a different plan.

Chapter 49

Enzo’s plan involves finding someone young and beautiful, which Nina finds in Millie. Nina runs a background check and knows that Millie has a criminal record, so Nina feels confident that Millie will be desperate. Enzo doesn’t like the plan, feeling like they’d be sacrificing someone else. However, Nina tells him that Millie will be okay because she has no children and can leave. Andrew is able to control Nina by threatening her with hurting or taking Cecelia away.

Nina know Andy won’t like someone living in their home. He doesn’t like having other around. He also won’t like having her in the closet, but Nina wants him to see Millie as an enticing replacement.

She starts pretending to have migraines to have an excuse to bring someone into the house to help. Also, his mother has recently relocated so they no longer have someone to help with Cecelia, so the timing works out well. When he protests having her in the closet, Nina says that they need to keep the spare bedroom free in case his mother visits. Nina says he can just fire her if it’s not working out.

Nina knew Millie needed to be attracted to Andrew, but she also needed to dislike Nina enough to sleep with her husband. Nina also had to create the opportunity for this to happen. She purposely did crazy things to frustrate and anger Millie, and then she created the situation with the Broadway ticket. Meanwhile, Nina also got an IUD put in so she wouldn’t get pregnant.

Chapter 50

In present day, at the hotel room, Nina plans on picking up Cecelia from camp tomorrow and then they’ll both be free. Enzo shows up to check on her. Suddenly, Enzo is kissing her, and Nina finds herself responding in kind, and they have sex. Nina reminds him that she’s leaving tomorrow, but Enzo says that they can’t just leave Millie with Andrew because it’s “not right”.

Part III

(Part III switches back and forth between points of views.)

Chapter 51 – 52 (Millie)

Millie soon realizes that Andrew has purposely locked her in the closet room when he tells her he has the key but is keeping her in there as punishment. He says it’s because she took some books of the shelf and left it out instead of putting it back. He orders her to place three very heavy books on her stomach for three hours straight before he’ll let her out. Millie says she need to use the bathroom, but Andrew tells her there’s a bucket in there she can use instead.

Millie screams at him and protests, but finally just does it in an attempt to get out of the room. Andrew tells her that she took the books off a minute too early and orders her to start over from the beginning. Millie protests some more, but eventually does it. Andrew lets her out and offers her a glass of water. It occurs to her that the water could be drugged, but Millie is too thirsty to think about it and drinks the water. When he shows her the app she’s using to monitor on his phone, Millie thinks about the pepper spray she found in the bucket in the room.

Chapter 53 (Nina)

From her research, Nina knows that Millie was arrested when she was in boarding school. She’d come across a large football player sexually assaulting her friend at a party, so she attacked him with a paperweight and accidentally killed him. She pled guilty to manslaughter to avoid even worse charges and was sentenced 10 years. Even before that, there were a string of violent incidents she’d gotten in trouble for as a kid.

Nina thinks about how Millie wasn’t just hired to replace her. She hired Millie to kill Andrew, even if Millie doesn’t realize it yet, which is why she hid the pepper spray for Millie to find.

Chapter 54 (Millie)

Millie and Andrew are still in the attic room with him showing her his phone when she pepper sprays Andrew and he screams. Millie then exits and locks him in. Quickly, she turns off the lock screen on his still-unlocked phone. She tells him she wants him to place the three books on himself for three hours and then he can leave, except she wants him to place it on his genitals. Andrew gasps in pain but he does it.

When he finishes, doubling over in pain, Millie tells Andrew that he misheard her and she wanted him to do it for five hours so now he needs to start over. She also declines his request for water.

Chapter 55 (Nina)

Nina goes to camp to pick up Cecelia. Nina suggests that they go to Disneyland and Cecelia looks relieved when Nina says that Andrew isn’t coming. Her relief is interrupted when Enzo calls her about Millie. Nina reassures him that she’ll warn Millie once she’s divorce, but Enzo tells her that he’s been monitoring the situation and Millie hasn’t left the house in three days. Enzo wants her to go with him to rescue Millie because he knows the trouble that would come to him if he was in the house alone without Nina (who has permission to be in the house).

Chapter 56 (Millie)

In the morning, Millie checks and sees that Andrew did, in fact, do what he was told. She tells him she will let him out as promised, but she first wants him to yank out one of his teeth with pliers. He tries to fight back, but she watches as he eventually does it.

Chapter 57 – 59 (Nina)

Nina agrees to go check on Millie under the condition that Enzo stay with Cecelia and protect her no matter what. She heads back to the house and runs into Suzanne, who has heard the rumors that Andrew left Nina, but Nina brushes her off. When Nina gets inside, it’s quiet and she sees there’s someone in the attic room. She hurries to unlock the door.

Millie is in the room and Andrew’s body is on the floor. Millie says he’s been dead for five days. She cries, realizing she’s going to go back to prison, but Nina says that’s not going to happen. She says they’re going to say that Millie had the week off and wasn’t here. Nina says that she’ll take the blame and attribute it to her mental issues. She’ll go back to the psychiatric hospital if she needs to. Nina admits that she was hoping Millie would kill him. As they talk, Nina realizes that the real reason she never did it was because she didn’t have it in her, and Millie did.

Chapter 60 (Nina)

Nina calls the police, and they come and check out the upstairs (the scene from the prologue). As she waits for the detective, Nina calls Enzo. She’s worried she’s going to be arrested. Enzo says he’ll testify about how he treated her, but Nina thinks to herself that Enzo will likely be painted as her secret lover.

When the detectives return, they mention that there is severe bruising on his body. They also inquire about Nina’s story that he must’ve gotten locked in there accidentally and she thought he was on a business trip. She also confirms that he’d asked her to move out last week so they weren’t really speaking.

Then, the detective mentions that his daughter, Kathleen, knows Andy, and that they were previously engaged. The detective knows that his daughter was traumatized by the relationship, and he knows that Nina has previously accused Andrew of locking her up in the attic. Detective Connors concludes that he’ll tell the coroner that the attic is a hazard and it seems like Andrew accidentally got locked inside.

Chapter 61 (Nina)

At Andy’s wake, Andy’s parents, Evelyn and Robert, walk in and Nina freezes. The Winchesters are powerful people. Robert offers Nina his condolences, but Evelyn does not. Instead, she mentions that she heard from the police that Andrew had four teeth missing. Nina is unsure what to say, but Evelyn continues to say that as a kid Andy was not great about brushing his teeth and she had to pull one of his baby teeth out with pliers to teach him a lesson. Evelyn applauds Nina for teaching him a lesson.

Epilogue (Millie)

In the Epilogue, Millie she interviews for another cleaning job, this time with Lisa Killeffer, and has plans to meet up with Enzo afterwards. Lisa reached out to her from a website where Millie had listed herself as offering cleaning and nannying services.

Lisa mentions that Nina recommended her. Then, Millie notices a dark brise on Lisa’s body. Millie accepts the job.

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Bookshelf -- A literary set collection game