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The Housemaid's Secret

Questions, Ending & Explanations

See below for an explanation of the ending and other questions about The Housemaid's Secret by Freida McFadden. If you have other questions that aren't already covered here, feel free to drop a comment!

Where can I find a full plot summary for The Housemaid's Secret?

Right here! You can find a quick recap and a lengthier version of the summary over here.

Can The Housemaid’s Secret be read as a standalone novel? Do I have to read The Housemaid before the housemaids secret?

You can read the Housemaid’s Secret as a standalone novel, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I strongly recommend reading the first book, The Housemaid, first. There’s nothing you need to know from the first novel, but it does provide important context that is helpful and it definitely references events from the first novel. Additionally, I think the first book is the stronger story. I also think that if you finish it and decide you want to read the first one, you’ll end up wishing you didn’t already know how the first book ends.

What happens at the end of The Housemaid’s Secret?

After Millie is framed for Douglas’s death, Millie realizes that the man she met (and that she believes she shot) was not the real Douglas.

It’s revealed that Wendy concocted the plan to get rid of Douglas and frame Millie. She purposely made Millie think that she was being abused, though she wasn’t. The night that Millie “shoots” Douglas, it was really Russell and the gun was filled with blanks. After Millie left the penthouse, Wendy invited the real Douglas over (under the pretense of signing the divorce papers) and she shot him knowing she planned to pin it all on Millie.

Millie ends up reaching out to Enzo for help. Together, they track down the man that Millie thought was Douglas, who is actually Russell, and learn that he is alive and well. They also learn that he has a cabin, which is where they suspect he is staying.

Meanwhile at the cabin, Wendy and Russell are celebrating over wine when Wendy gets a call from Douglas’s lawyer. He says that Douglas actually changed his will a month ago to donate all his assets to charity. Wendy then gets a call from the NYPD to say that her husband installed a security camera in the back entrance of the penthouse last year, and they know that Douglas hasn’t been in there in months. They also know that Millie left the penthouse prior to Douglas arriving there the night he was killed.

Wendy gets off the phone to find the Russell is dead. His throat has been slashed. She sees that Marybeth, his wife, is there. Marybeth forces Wendy to write a confession and suicide note, and then she tells her that she’s spiked her wine with a heart medication so she will overdose and die.

The book ends with Millie meeting with an officer who tells her she’s in the clear and that she should reach out to him, Officer Rodriguez, if she ever needs help with the abuse victims that she works with. Millie thinks about how she was the one who told Marybeth about her husband’s affair and who gave her the heart medication to use on Wendy.

What’s the timeline of The Housemaid’s Secret relative to The Housemaid?

The Housemaid’s Secret takes place roughly four years after the events of the first book. Millie mentions that she became friends with Enzo after her job with the Winchesters ended unexpectedly (“Enzo and I started four years ago as friends, after a job of mine ended extremely unexpectedly”). We also know that Enzo left around two years ago (because one of the last people they helped was Ginger Howell, which was two years ago).

In terms of ages, she was around 27-ish in the first book (she was imprisoned at 16/17 and then spent ten years in prison), and in the Housemaid’s Secret she’s 30 or older (she mentions turning 30 and suddenly being interested in having kids).

How does Marybeth end up with the digoxin medicine?

Millie gives Marybeth Brock’s extra bottle of digoxin. The epilogue explains that Millie met up Marybeth the night that Wendy and Russell were killed. She had a long talk with Marybeth and brings the pills with her, and when she leaves that talk she no longer has it (“I went on my way, minus one bottle of digoxin.”) Marybeth then heads to the cabin to kill Wendy and Russell.

Have more questions? Leave them in a comment below!

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