Alexandra Andrews’ debut novel, Who is Maud Dixon?, is one of those novels that is almost impossible to discuss without spoilers, as readers will discover if/as they read other reviews. This review will attempt to give you a flavor of this book without spoiling it. Fortunately, Who is Maud Dixon? is also a book that can be read in one or two sittings, so it will not be long before readers are in on the action and understand why this debut has the buzz that it does.
Florence Darrow works as an underling at a publishing house, but she has dreams – or delusions – of grandeur, wanting to quickly climb the ladder and establish herself as a famous author. She longs for this so badly that her poor decision-making might just cost her everything.
That is until she happens into the job of a lifetime – working as the assistant to Maud Dixon. Maud made a splash with her debut novel and has built up a legendary façade that has the literary world salivating. Most everyone knows Maud Dixon is a pseudonym, but no one know the author’s true identity…until now. Jumping at the chance to work beside a legend, Florence finds working with “Maud” to be inspiring, exhausting, and everything in between.
When she is invited to accompany the author on a trip to Morocco to research the second novel Maud Dixon is very late in delivering, Florence is beyond thrilled. Little does she know that this decision will change the course of her life. The more Florence discovers about this mysterious new work of Maud Dixon’s, the more she begins to see that it may very well be a Roman à clef. And that is only the beginning of the secrets.
Readers familiar with the behind the scenes publishing milieu will recognize many archetypes from that industry. It is always fun to see a novel about books, publishing, authors, and the act of creation; it is like a glimpse at how the sausage gets made. And Alexandra Andrews presents us with an example readers might wish they never knew. That is how authentic and real this plotline feels.
Once begun, there is no way to stop following this twisted journey to its natural conclusion. Who is Maud Dixon? is a fast-paced novel, with each choice Florence makes leading the reader down a forgone path that can only end in ruin. Right? This reads like a book written by a veteran author, skilled at manipulating readers (and characters) in only the best possible sense of that word. From the opening preface, Alexandra hints at what is to come, which lulls readers into a sense of control they really do not possess, allowing her to pull the rug out from under them when it is least expected. Who is Maud Dixon? will find many fans for Alexandra Andrews, all of whom will be waiting anxiously to see what she delivers next.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.