Book club questions for The Maidens by Alex Michaelides examines this Greek Mythology-inspired murder mystery. There will be spoilers so for more context about the book, check out my spoiler-free review first.
Great story—until the end. I read this novel in one day and I kept thinking how much I enjoyed it up until a certain point. When I got to the final twists, my impression of the story immediately changed. I’m now going to get into my thoughts about why it didn’t work for me so here’s a reminder that it’s all spoilers from here on out!
I knew the murderer was Zoe about halfway through the book. She continued to lie and mislead Mariana. And they kept emphasizing the murderer was a man so it seemed that a twist would be it’s actually Zoe. In my opinion, Fosca was way too obvious. I can tell the author also tried to mislead with Fred and his potentially murky intentions but I knew it was Zoe.
But I did not foresee the affair with Sebastian at all. And ugh!! So disturbing. There was a moment where Zoe seemed super angry that Sebastian was not there so I had a pause but it didn’t resonate enough with me to think that they actually had an affair.
I get that the author wanted to have a huge twist with Zoe. And maybe it was hard to actually find her motivation behind the killings so he threw in the Sebastian angle. But agh. Yeah, not a fan. I also did not feel the epilogue gave much closure to this story. Let me know what you all thought about it!
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.
Book Club Questions for The Maidens
- What was your impressions of Mariana? How did the tragedies in her life shape who she is and how she approached relationships? Why was hosting group therapy sessions the right outlet for her?
- There’s a huge emphasis on Greek Mythology and particularly Persephone. Why were many of the characters so focused on Persephone?
- Mariana blamed the death of Sebastian on Persephone. Why was it easier for her to blame the death on the supernatural as opposed to the randomness of the accident?
- Mariana’s niece Zoe calls her in a panic when her friend goes missing who we later find out is murdered. Mariana suspects that the Greek Tragedy professor Fosca is behind the murders. Did you think Fosca had something to do with it or did you believe he was innocent?
- What would you have done if you were in Mariana’s situation?
- What did you make of the secret society of female students known as The Maidens? Was it an act of power control for Fosca?
- Did you have any suspicions about Zoe being involved with the murders or were you surprised at that twist?
- What about the big twist that Zoe and Sebastian had an affair? What are your thoughts on this disturbing revelation?
- We find out that the letters from the killer’s point of view were from Sebastian writing to Zoe. Why do you think this was included?
- There’s some mentioning on how one’s childhood directly impacts how they are as an adult. So a child full of trauma may lash out as an adult. Was that a reasoning behind Sebastian and Zoe’s actions?
- While Zoe murdered the women, Sebastian was the mastermind behind it all. Is Zoe a victim, complicit or a mixture of both?
- What role did Fred serve in this story?
- If you read The Silent Patient, did you notice the appearance of Theo?
- What happens next for Mariana? Is she going to try to maintain a relationship with Zoe? Will she stay in contact with Fred?
Hope you enjoyed book club questions for The Maidens! Here are some more recommendations along with links to book club questions.
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.
An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge–there’s something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.
Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .
The Hunting Wives by May Cobb
Sophie O’Neill left behind an envy-inspiring career and the stressful, competitive life of big-city Chicago to settle down with her husband and young son in a small Texas town. It seems like the perfect life with a beautiful home in an idyllic rural community. But Sophie soon realizes that life is now too quiet, and she’s feeling bored and restless.
Then she meets Margot Banks, an alluring socialite who is part of an elite clique secretly known as the Hunting Wives. Sophie finds herself completely drawn to Margot and swept into her mysterious world of late-night target practice and dangerous partying. As Sophie’s curiosity gives way to full-blown obsession, she slips farther away from the safety of her family and deeper into this nest of vipers.
When the body of a teenage girl is discovered in the woods where the Hunting Wives meet, Sophie finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and her life spiraling out of control.