Sunday, April 18, 2021

Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews

Title: Who Is Maud Dixon?
Author: Alexandra Andrews
Publisher: Little, Brown And Company
Release Date: March 2, 2021

Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she's destined to become a celebrated writer. 

When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to "Maud Dixon," a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she'll finally have something exciting to write about herself.

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to 'upgrade' into not only Helen's life, but also that of Helen's bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon...

When I started reading Who is Maud Dixon? I was worried I wasn't going to like it. The protagonist, Florence Darrow brought no sympathy from me. She felt cold and dry. Thankfully, I continued reading and I started appreciating Florence's character.

Florance Darrow is a young woman who is working at Forrester Books, a publishing house when the story begins. Florence seems to be an outcast but she doesn't really care. She's an editorial assistant but her plan is to write a novel and hopefully be as successful as Maud Dixon.

Maud Dixon is the pseudonym of the novelist who wrote Mississippi Foxtrot, the highly acclaimed novel of the year. Everyone who is anyone has read it and can't stop talking about it. 

After losing her position, Florence receives a call from Maud Dixon's agent. Florence can't believe her luck. She is to become the assistant to the famous author. Her job will entail handling all of Helen's mail, transcribe her new book, and pay her bills. Without a second thought and after signing an NDA, she leaves NYC and moves to Helen's home in the small town of Cairo. The isolation and peace make Florence feel the beginning of true happiness. 

Soon after, Helen decides that she must go to Morocco to look for inspiration and Florence must come with her. The next thing she knows, she is in Marrakech and what happens next is nothing short of crazy.

Maud Dixon is highly engaging with its disturbing plot. Florence was unlikable for most of the book but it was hard to pull me away from her machinations. 

I love the twists and bends the story carried especially on the Morocco side of things. I found it was the perfect ambiance with its descriptive surroundings and darker tone.

One thing I found profoundly unlikable was the author's constant attack on Florida. I didn't care for it one bit.

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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