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The Maid's Room

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  373 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, The Maid's Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids - sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.

Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 16th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  373 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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The Maid’s Room is a beautifully written emotional and thought provoking story.

This novel is about modern day maids working in Singapore, cleaning houses and looking after the children of those much wealthier than themselves, while they leave their own children behind in other countries, and send what little money they earn back to their families, so their children who they are missing grow up, can get a better education than they did themselves. Truly heart breaking, yet compelling!

This was ra
I really don’t know what to say that hasn’t been said in other reviews.

This is an outstanding piece of work that although written in fiction format should go down into history for its factual honesty and bringing this to the attention of many people.

I for one didn’t realise this still existed, I feel like an ostrich whose had her head buried in the sand.

I am aware that people come to my country and work sending the majority of their earning back to their families.

These are two women with childre
Louise Beech
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tala, Dolly and Jules are three women I will NEVER forget. They are all on a journey that every reader will identify with, in some form, no matter who they are. This is a stunning book that taught me a great deal about a shocking, modern-day form of slavery. It opened my eyes to something I didn’t even know happened. The best books throughout history are those that shine a light where darkness is, and this one does, and how beautifully. The prose is precise and yet bare, blunt and yet poetic, re ...more
Jan 12, 2018 added it
Book Bite on behalf of the Sunday Times:

~This where she sleeps. A cupboard. A bedroom. A windowless box.~

~Ma'am Amber penned a red bubbled around [her clinic visit] with a huge exclamation mark as if it was something to look forward to. But Dolly will have to take a test there like she always does every six months. And when the employment agency finds out she's pregnant they'll deport her, just like all the others.~

~There are more than 200,000 foreign domestic workers in Si
Tracy Shephard
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Maids Room brings home the reality of hard working underpaid and very often poorly treated women who clean for a living. Set in Singapore, Dolly and Tala are sisters who leave their families, including their children to work for the ex-pats.

Wonderfully descriptive, and grimly realistic, this is a book that is both heart warming and deeply fascinating.

The women, both scared for many reasons, are the subject of a blog, written by ‘MaidHacker’ who give ‘expert’ advice in how to treat your serva
Sue Flanagan
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was such an enjoyable read, it was hard to believe it is about real life, not in the to distant past, and still happening now. These stories/truths do need to be told. This is written in a storey format, and the tale unwinds. The characters are loveable and you want them to succeed and to have better lives. No mother wants to be separated from her children. The woman are to be admired, for making such unselfish discisions.
Saskia Sarginson
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was completely gripped by this novel about a group of domestic workers and their employers in Singapore. Fiona Mitchell writes the maids's stories with compete authenticity; we are in no doubt about the shocking horror of their situations, yet her prose is full of warmth and flashes of humour. In the end, the book is about human courage and the strength that love gives.
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 308

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, The Maid's Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids - sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.

Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is ultimately up
Claire Douglas
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! I loved everything about it and will be thinking about it for a very long time. Full review to follow!
Katherine Sunderland
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This is a book that at times might shock you, at other times it might inform you but it will definitely move you, entertain you and ultimately keep you turning the pages as the lives of these women take over your own. These characters are so well depicted and portrayed so vividly it impossible not to love them, or love to hate them. Mitchell introduces us to a delightful cast of women; some are fearsome, cruel and selfish, others are fearless, kind and generous. The dynamics and relationships be
Suze Lavender
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tala and her younger sister Dolly are working as maids in Singapore. They send most of their money to the Philippines, so their children can go to school. Dolly is looking after a family with two young boys and Tala is cleaning houses. Life as a maid is difficult. Most expats aren't treating their maids very well. They don't have a voice and always fear deportation. Vanda's blog isn't helping either. Vanda is posting preposterous rules for maids and she publicly shames them. Tala fights fire wit ...more
K.E. Coles
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Fantastic book. Beautifully written, moving, informative, horrifying and yet ultimately uplifting. The world of domestic servitude in Singapore is brilliantly brought to life, which was a real eye-opener for me. Everyone should read it. It's magnificent.
Landles Reader
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heart-warming, thought-provoking and funny in places. The perfect choice for a book group debate. I loved it.
Emma Chan-Paxton
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book especially if you have lived in the Far East...
Breakaway Reviewers
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The domestic “maid’s” lot is never going to be a happy one!

The opening lines; “This is where she sleeps. A cupboard. A bedroom. A windowless box.”

“Oh No!” was my first thought. “We’ve read this before in The Help.” My mistake. It is 2017, the maids have left their children at home, either in the Philippines or Indonesia, to work for the “Ma’ams”, tending to their every whim while they live the expats’ life in Singapore.

The towering blocks of flats where this story takes place, are architectural
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Når man læser forfatterens efterskrift, bliver man bekræftet i det man anede; at denne bog er baseret på virkelige hændelser, og er inspireret af forfatterens egne oplevelser, som velstående i Singapore. Bogen er autentisk, relevant, tankevækkende og lettere provokerende. Hovedpersonerne er charmerende, troværdige og ligeligt præsenterede. Jeg kunne godt lide bogen, fordi den tilbyder flere historier i én. Den fortæller begivenheder fra forskellige synsvinkler, og så tilbyder den fiktion, der he ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved The Maid's Room: a moving tribute to underpaid and ill treated maids everywhere - in this case in Singapore. A beautifully written debut by Fiona Mitchell it tells the story of two Filipina sisters, Dolly and Tala, who leave their home and their children to work for expat families. Interwoven are the stories of the women they work for and what the maids do to survive. Not all employers treat the maids badly but those like Jules, a newly arrived ex-pat midwife from the UK, are the excepti ...more
Inderpreet Uppal
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The human nature looks for comfort yet it denies this basic right to the ones who serve them. The Maid’s Room explores the lives of the housekeepers, through the eyes of two maids. It tells the employers point of view and that of the maids. It is a straightforward story but delivers a much-needed message. Maids are human as well, even though it might be forgotten by most employers. The book doesn’t say that all the employers are bad or unkind but it shows what the majority of
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Z przyjemnością informuję, że właśnie przeczytałam jedną z najlepszych powieści obyczajowych, jakie wpadły w moje ręce w tym roku! Książce udało się przenieść mnie do serca gorącego Singapuru, pozwolono mi rzucić okiem na życie zagranicznych pomocy domowych, które zdecydowanie nie jest usłane różami. Powieść pisana jest z punktu widzenia trzech kobiet - dwóch sióstr pochodzących z Filipin, ciężko pracujących w Singapurze, usługujących bogatym ekspatom. Trzecią bohaterką jest Jules, która znajduj ...more
anna b
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The plight of foreign domestic workers in Singapore are well know and unfortunately, policies and regulations do nothing to help or protect them. Many depended on the charity of their long-term employers in order to receive good and flexible working terms informally. The point about minimum wage needs to be clarified - there is no minimum wage system in Singapore for citizens nor foreigners. This book does put Singapore into a rather bad light and I am sure there are countries who are worse in t ...more
Charlotte Underwood
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely and totally loved this beautifully written debut novel by Fiona Mitchell.
Whilst there are similarities of course to The Help (which some reviewers may think is a negative) , what makes The Maid's Room different and truly memorable is when you realise that this novel is set in modern times. It makes you aware that this hugely unacceptable treatment of domestic workers is still very much an issue that many people still have to live with now.
I won't give too much away as to how the st
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
We were told before that when you looked up Filipinos in the dictionary, you'd find domestic helper as the definition. I never saw this though as I've never looked it up. But there's no denying there are so much filipinos working abroad looking for better opportunities even to unfavorable conditions.

The Maid's Room was a quick read but in no way easy nor simple. The scandals and the fights were what made the story intriguing but at the same time it would disturb you to know that it's happening.
Emma May
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very enlightening read on a very hidden subject, so many congratulations to the author for highlighting the plight of domestic helpers in Singapore and thus drawing our attention to the issue of modern day slavery worldwide. I was shocked to learn how passports are confiscated, liberty curtailed and workers made to pose in shop windows as objects for sale. The characters were fleshy and believable, some we grew to love and some we could only hold contempt for. A brilliant debut novel providing ...more
Linda Ryley
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a read. A story told from the maids of Singapore. It sounds harrowing but there is a lot of humour. Themes include social media and its power, abuse, IVF, friendship and many others. A MUST read.
Lindi Reynolds
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding, this book is a masterful feat of engineering. Essentially hard hitting with it’s belief defying hard facts laid bear concerning the plight of domestic helpers in modern day Singapore, The Maids Room by Fiona Mitchell sets out to expose commonly held practices that are sinister at their core, yet she manages to weave a real page turner that is at once humorous, intriguing, touching and abhorrent. This books takes you on a journey of discovery that you could never imagine. The charact ...more
Anna Howard
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully written page turner by the incredibly talented Fiona Mitchell. Through Mitchell's mastery in story-telling you are transported to life in Singapore and invited into the intertwined lives of Dolly, Tala and Jules. Throughout the book you'll be cheering on these characters as various challenges come their way. And you won't be able to put the book down - it kept me up late many a night. Their stories are ones of struggle, resilience, courage and conviction, and the underlying me ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
review to follow xxx
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
Oh wow, this book! Set in modern day Singapore it follows the stories of three women, two of them maids from the Philippines, and shows the reality of daily life for domestic workers in a country where their human rights are often ignored. I was really blown away with this novel that’s both heart breaking at times and so through provoking.

The book begins with a short prologue and then starts with the story of Jules, a British expat who’s moved to Singapore with her husband David. The story immed
Francesca Jakobi
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning read. Fiona Mitchell shines a light on the lives of domestic workers in modern-day Singapore and the pampered ex-pats they serve.
It's shocking and heart-breaking, yes, but done with such a light touch and witty use of language that it never becomes depressing.
A really powerful book, beautifully written and incredibly moving. Tala and Dolly will stay with me for a long time.
Ronnie Turner
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the blistering heat of Singapore sisters Tala and Dolly are Filipina maids, modern-day domestic workers, hired by ex-pats to clean, cook, care for their children and walk their dogs. Dolly is quiet, determined, beautiful. Tala is strong, loud and humorous. These two sisters are quashed by the poor work conditions and even poorer policies and yet they do their bidding happily because it means they can send money home to their family. Dreaming of a better future and not this meagre existence th ...more
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Fiona Mitchell is an award-winning writer and has worked as a journalist for many years. She spent almost three years living in Singapore and now lives in London with her husband and daughter. The Maid's Room is her first novel.