Clémence Michallon | The Quiet Tenant

The Book: 

The Quiet Tenant by Clémence Michallon
Published June 20, 2023 by Knopf Publishing Group
Date read: August 5, 2023

The Characters: 

Catherine and Ruth

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

Aidan Thomas is a hard-working family man and a somewhat beloved figure in the small upstate New York town where he lives. He’s the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone. But Aidan has a dark secret he’s been keeping from everyone in town and those closest to him. He’s a kidnapper and serial killer. Aidan has murdered eight women and there’s a ninth he has earmarked for death: Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed, fearing for her life.

When Aidan’s wife dies, he and his thirteen-year-old daughter Cecilia are forced to move. Aidan has no choice but to bring Rachel along, introducing her to Cecilia as a “family friend” who needs a place to stay. Aidan is betting on Rachel, after five years of captivity, being too brainwashed and fearful to attempt to escape. But Rachel is a fighter and survivor, and recognizes Cecilia might just be the lifeline she has waited for all these years. As Rachel tests the boundaries of her new living situation, she begins to form a tenuous connection with Cecilia. And when Emily, a local restaurant owner, develops a crush on the handsome widower, she finds herself drawn into Rachel and Cecilia’s orbit, coming dangerously close to discovering Aidan’s secret.

Told through the perspectives of Rachel, Cecilia, and Emily, The Quiet Tenant explores the psychological impact of Aidan’s crimes on the women in his life—and the bonds between those women that give them the strength to fight back. Both a searing thriller and an astute study of trauma, survival, and the dynamics of power, The Quiet Tenant is an electrifying debut thriller by a major talent.

How did The Quiet Tenant end?

Click here for book spoilers for <em><em>The Quiet Tenant</em></em>
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Quiet Tenant, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

Emily was crazy and obsessed with Aiden. “Rachel” befriended Cecelia. Eventually Aiden began to let Rachel loose in the house when he was away, to keep an eye on Cecelia. She was too brainwashed to leave, but she came up with a plan. She searched the house and found evidence of his former murders, as well as a gun. Emily threw Aiden a party in his own lawn, so the whole town came over one night. Rachel used the distraction to get Cecelia out of the house and run away. Emily helped Aiden catch up to them in her car, but at the last second she distracted him long enough for Rachel to get to the police station.

The Ending:

Rachel’s real name was May Mitchell. She told the police officer who she was and was rescued.

Spoiler Thoughts:

I was left with a whole bunch of questions. Why did Aiden keep Rachel alive? Why bring her to the new house? If Cecelia was getting up every night to go look at her mom’s things in the basement, how did she never see Aiden going into Rachel’s room? How did she never hear Aiden doing things to Rachel, or wonder why he was in her room all the time? I get that Rachel wanted to save Cecelia, but why not just kill Aiden. Wouldn’t that have saved Cecelia too? Why did Cecelia run with Rachel at the end? I feel like an epilogue from Cecelia a year later could have cleared a lot up.

The Review: 

I saw high praise on Bookstagram for this book, but it did not live up to the hype for me. I loved the premise, but I was left with too many questions at the end to love the whole book. The middle dragged a lot, and I hated Emily so much. I was rooting for her to die, she was so irritating. I think an epilogue from a certain character could have helped a lot, but a lot felt unfinished and unclear at the end. Expand the spoilers for more specific thoughts!


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