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Who Is Maud Dixon?

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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...

324 pages, Hardcover

First published March 2, 2021

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About the author

Alexandra Andrews

1 book608 followers
I'm a journalist-turned-copywriter-turned-novelist, with a brief stint as a graphic designer somewhere in there. I've lived in New York City for my entire life, except for the year and a half I spent in Paris writing Who Is Maud Dixon? I now live in Brooklyn with my husband and two children and am (theoretically) working on my second novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,740 reviews
Profile Image for Yun.
509 reviews19.1k followers
December 12, 2021
Wowzers, what the heck did I just read!

Who Is Maud Dixon? That is indeed the question. She is a novelist who has won critical acclaim and commercial success, but no one knows the identity of the person behind the pseudonym. Enter Florence Darrow, an assistant at a publishing company. She's not happy with her slavish job, but feels it's a stepping stone to becoming the famous and revered writer that she is meant to be. Unfortunately, she isn't getting any closer to her goal, until a series of choices upends her life and puts her on a collision course with destiny... and Maud Dixon.

And that's all I'm going to say regarding the plot, because anymore would be spoiling the goodies. In fact, don't read the official book blurb before going in. It pretty much gives away the entire first half of the story, which is crazy. I cannot believe how much information is just divulged, willy-nilly, right there on the book jacket.

(Seriously, publishers, if you're reading this, please stop oversharing in your blurbs and taking away the fun. I think 20% into a book is about the max that should be revealed. Definitely not 50%.)

The story unfolds slowly, and a good part of the fun is not really knowing where it's headed. There's this sense of ominous foreboding that permeates throughout. The feeling of dissonance, that something isn't quite right, hangs over Florence, and it ratchets up over time, little by little. This atmosphere reminds me of the best of classic noir, in the vein of Hitchcock.

Even though it takes a while to get to the denouement, the story still grabbed me from the very first page. The writing is so sharp and sly. And Florence is a cunning lead character. She's self-centered, unapologetic, and desperate to achieve her ambitions. She makes the perfect femme fatale... or is she just a victim in all this?

The fact that this is Alexandra Andrews' debut is astonishing, as it reads like a truly masterful thriller. I cannot wait to see what else she comes up with.
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,069 reviews2,673 followers
April 12, 2021
Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews (Author), Thérèse Plummer (Narrator)

Florence Darrow is a 26 year old piece of work. She might have some talent and brains but it can be hard to tell as she covets what everyone else has while feeling sorry for herself for not having it. She wouldn't mind having what they have without lifting a finger to earn it. She thinks she deserves it all, without question. She gets an idea and runs headlong off to put it into action, with nary a twinge of conscience to guide her way. Any mistakes or catastrophes are someone else's fault, not hers. She does have bouts of self recrimination but they are in the voice of her mother so they aren't really her conscious hinting that she should have qualms about anything. Florence has no friends and is very willing to dump her relationship with her mother, in a heartbeat. Why do I feel like Florence is not a good person? There are so many reasons and Florence has flimsy justifications for all of them. 

At the tail end of Florence blowing up her job as an assistant at a publishing company, a dream job drops into her lap. Maud Dixon, a mysteriously famous writer, wants to hire Florence as her personal assistant. Just like that, out of the blue, and Florence spares no time for personal reflection or questions on how Dixon ever noticed her. Off Florence goes, to become a new person, shedding her old unsuccessful self. Surely living in the presence of this famous, mysterious, writer will imbue Florence with the writing prowess that has been sorely lacking before now. 

I won't say more because this story demands that you go into it blindly. I couldn't help hoping something would knock some real humiliation into Florence, the kind that makes one appraise their selfish path in life and convinces them to grow a heart. This story takes us on a wild ride, with Florence leading the way. 

Published March 2, 2021
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :) .
977 reviews2,664 followers
March 2, 2022

This a debut novel and I was really impressed!!!! The premise was great, the characters were well developed and the description of Morocco was transporting! The novel flowed beautifully and I turned the pages rapidly to see what would happen next! I would call this a suspenseful novel with a thrilling ending!

I am always drawn to books about writing and the publishing industry, so that was the main reason I chose this book.

We first meet our main protagonist, Florence Darrow, who is living in New York working at a publishing house as an assistant editor. She is a want-to-be writer who hails from a small town in Florida. She thought if she got to New York possibilities would unfurl, but nothing much exciting has happened YET!!

Unexpectedly she is called to meet a famous author, Helen, who is looking for an assistant. She writes under a pseudonym because she likes her privacy. Florence immediately takes to the job and she and Helen seem to hit it off. She also loves this remote house and the beautiful setting.

Helen wants Florence to accompany her on a trip to Morocco while she does research on her new novel. Of course Florence jumps at the chance.

What transpires in a small town in Morocco is a story within a larger story. While Florence relishes the new atmosphere and even makes friends, Helen is often gone for long periods of time. They are staying in an old home that has its charms and there is a cook/maid who takes care of the cooking and cleaning. Florence is enjoying her stay until . . . . . . .the unimaginable happens!!

We next find Florence in the hospital, recovering from an automobile accident. She has no memory of what happened.All she can recall is “Everything got quieter. As if underwater. Sounds were swallowed up by the water. She felt lulled by a swift current, swept away by the waves, pulled back by strong hands . . . .”

The plot just gets more and more twisted until we don’t know who the villain is or if there is a hero in this complex story. To tell you any more of the plot would spoil the read.

This was going to be a solid 4 read until the ending which was complicated and explosive enough to push this up to a 5*. I thoroughly enjoyed this quick moving novel with a WOW ending. I will certainly watch for the next book from this talented new author!!

I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
This novel is set to publish on March 2, 2021
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,109 reviews1,749 followers
March 7, 2021

I liked it. But, I didn't love it.

Florence Darrow is working an entry level job at Forrester books, but she believes she is destined to be a famous writer.

When she is offered an opportunity to become an assistant to "Maud Dixon" pseudonym of the celebrated author, Helen Wilcox, she doesn't hesitate to sign a non-disclosure agreement and relocate for a chance to learn from the best selling novelist.

Just when they are settling into a routine, Helen (Maud) decides they need to take a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set.

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and discovers that hers was the only body recovered, and she is presumed to be Helen Wilcox, she wonders if her path to success will be to assume the work of "Maud Dixon".

Great premise.

But, a few problems with the execution.
It didn't have the tight plotting necessary for me to award 5 stars.

Three examples:

A SLOW start-60 0r so pages till things get going, and an irrelevant friendship with LUCY.

PLAUSIBILITY-Florence runs into a childhood friend, WHITNEY, in Morocco. Really?

NICK-A third character not needed to advance the plot, and the chapters spent with him-unnecessary!

But my BIGGEST issue was Helen's VOICE.

She did NOT have the voice of a 32 year old woman, and came across as MUCH older to me.

Again, it has some entertaining twists.
MANY of my friends have enjoyed this more than I did!

So, if you can OVERLOOK these things, YOU probably will too!
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
620 reviews1,483 followers
March 7, 2021
Who is Maud Dixon?

Her name is a pseudonym, but that’s the only thing her millions of fans know about her after reading her hit debut novel.

Florence Darrow works as an assistant editor and has dreams of becoming a successful author. She doesn’t really have ambition though. That is until she gets a rare opportunity of a lifetime: working as the assistant to the one and only Maud Dixon, elusive novelist. Florence jumps at the chance after interviewing with Maud’s agent, who is the only other person who knows that Maud is actually Helen Wilcox.

Florence moves into Helen’s secluded house with her, excited beyond belief. Sure, Helen can be odd, abrupt, and cold, but they have moments of bonding as well. Helen needs some inspiration, and invites Florence on a trip with her to Morocco, where the novel she’s writing takes place. The trip is going pretty great...until the terrible car crash.

Florence wakes up in a hospital, not sure what happened or what is going on. The only thing clear to her is that Helen is gone. Vanished without a trace. Helen’s I.D. was found in Florence’s purse. Could Florence have stumbled into the opportunity of a lifetime? Can she just step into Helen’s shoes and become her/Maud Dixon?

What a book! I was into it immediately and until the very end. The first half is a bit slow and on the lighter side, but always interesting. I found Florence and Helen fascinating, yet mostly unlikable. I thought I had the majority of the book figured out.

And then the second half started, and I realized I was only right about some things...not all. There are some wonderful twists and moments that caught me off guard. The story gets darker, with increasing complexity. I can’t help but use one of my favorite words: unputdownable.

It’s hard to believe this is the debut novel of Alexandra Andrews, because it is expertly written and plotted. I couldn’t wait to read more every time I had to step away. The writing is so smooth. Nothing clunky or jarring in it, and that made it easy to power-read. I thought I found some plot holes, but nope. Everything was expertly explained by the end. This is an enticing and captivating thriller, and I highly recommend it.

4.5 stars. Available now from Little, Brown and Company.

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Holly  B (busy month catching up).
799 reviews1,807 followers
March 20, 2021
This book!!!

It totally entertained from start to finish!

It is a debut novel and I was over the top engaged, the character development is impressive and I couldn't help but ditch all my errands and just sit outside and flip the pages while I was immersed in what was building up.

It had some Hitchcock like moments (yes, I had to smile), a Moroccan setting, a manipulative and layered plot. I wasn't sure who I was rooting for until the end.

If you love books about books, conniving characters, and a bit of a wild, and exotic journey.... I highly recommend!!

So much fun, so much to ponder, and I won't forget the name Maud Dixon for quite some time!!

On Sale Now / As of March 2, 2021
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,133 reviews39.3k followers
July 18, 2021
Well, I did my best to enjoy my reading and writing a powerful, positive review about this novel because the idea of impersonating an author in a Highsmith-ian mystery picked my interest from the beginning and each book written about dark sides of publishing industry are too close to be winners for me!

Florence is ambitious character who wants to climb career ladders and hang out with rich elites of literature circle. Her moral compass already loses its direction. As she works at the beginner level job at Forrester books, getting criticized by her mother, only having one real friend, it’s normal for her to find a way out to have better lifestyle.

Maud Dixon is rising star of the bestselling authors and nobody knows the true identity of the author. But Florence not only learns the real name of the author, she also has a chance to work her assistant! Atta girl!

She learns so many writing and life lessons thanks to her brilliant teacher and out of nowhere she finds herself in Morocco for focusing on book research which is spontaneously entertaining idea!

But as Florence wakes up at the hospital after traumatic car accident as the only one survived from, she gets confused because everybody calls her with the real name of the author. Does it give her right to replace the famous author? Well, I think it’s fair! She is the only survivor of the accident, isn’t she?

This book started slow burn and there were so many unnecessary plots which dragged us to reach to the main plot.

There are so many unrealistic incidents and too many coincidental elements pushed too far to raise the tension and create more mystery around which was a little overrated for me!

At the end: it was not earth shattering, jaw dropping, smart reading I was expecting but it was still good. I wish i didn’t waste too much time to start reading the main story and there won’t be so much plot holes which would help me to give more stars! But this time I preferred to stay at la suisse territory!
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
377 reviews548 followers
June 16, 2021
"Who is Maud Dixon?" by Alexandra Andrews is a crazy, wild ride type of book!

Florence Darrow wants to be a famous author. So when she becomes the assistant to the brilliant, mysterious novelist known as Maud Dixon, she believes the stars are finally aligning!

Maud Dixon is the pseudonym for author Helen Wilcox. Florence quickly discovers Helen is demanding, abrupt, opinionated on every topic and more than a little intimidating. Heck, she can be downright rude! Regardless, Florence is enamored by Helen. Fascinated by her!

Helen invites Florence to travel with her to Morocco for research on Maud's next book. Florence is elated! It's like a dream to work and learn alongside Helen. Now on to Morocco with Helen? How did she get so lucky? Will this experience and the new setting inspire Florence to begin writing a novel of her own?

Oh, my goodness how this story carried me away! Although it was a slow start, Part one was about getting to know Florence and Helen and the character development was worth it. Part Two came along with its twisty changes that held me and kept me reading. Yep, it catapulted me right through the roof!

I adore quirky characters and both Florence and Helen fit that description perfectly. I giggled at their early exchanges and some of the things that came out of Helen's mouth were unbelievable!

What I didn't like were the Ex-pat characters. I didn't see their significance to the story. And, the gatherings that went along with these characters were superfluous!

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Thérèse Plummer which is always a great experience. She became the characters of both Florence and Helen through her voicing skills. Her voice inflections added drama and excitement. And, her voicing of the other characters was believable.

I loved how this story ends. It was the best outcome in my opinion. I recommend this book to those who love to read an edge-of-your-seat experience. That's exactly how this one felt to me! And, what a fun ride it was!

4.5 stars rounded up!
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,209 reviews26k followers
March 22, 2021
This book was a wild ride that I started and finished within 24 hours. A huge piece of advice: don’t read the description and go into this knowing nothing. I can’t believe how much the description reveals about the book!! I didn’t read it before reading this book and I feel like if I would have I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much because the description gives away so many shocking reveals.

In this story we follow a woman named Florence who is in her mid-twenties and working in the publishing scene in New York! She gets the opportunity to work as an assistant to the mysterious author Maud Dixon, who writes under a pseudonym and nobody knows who they are...

That’s literally all you need to know going in! I was surprised by this book over and over again, there was one twist at the end that I thought was pretty obvious, but there were a few surprises at the end that I didn’t see coming and I really appreciated that! I really surprised this is a debut novel and I’ll definitely be checking out any future books this author comes out with. I love books that follow writers, I love thrillers where you can trust anyone (including the main character) it’s a fun time all around.

One thing that bothered me though that’s not reaaaaally a big deal but it still bugged me is that

Oh well, I still had a really great time with this book and I flew through it so fast!!! 🤯
Profile Image for Liz.
1,964 reviews2,413 followers
January 16, 2021
I’m always worried when books are compared to best sellers or famous authors. In this case it’s recommended for folks who enjoyed The Silent Patient and Patricia Highsmith’s works. Will it live up to the comparison?
Florence fancies herself a writer but isn’t actually writing. She’s one of those young people who sort of floats through life, working a job she doesn’t like, having sex with a married man. She takes a job as the assistant to a writer, hoping to learn from her. But then she sees an opportunity and snatches it. And one thing leads to another. I love the premise of this book. But did we really need the entire first half of the book to set up this premise? The book’s description manages to do it in several short paragraphs. Now, by comparison, the second half of the book is like a tornado. Andrews whips things up and I had no idea where they would come down. It’s got a great ending. Tightened up, this could make a great movie.
I appreciated the two main characters here. Both Helen and Florence are fully developed. Not likeable, mind you, but fascinating.
My thanks to netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,195 reviews1,243 followers
February 26, 2021
The words you speak become the house you live in.

And words are at the core of Who Is Maud Dixon? Words tossed about, words spoken in secrecy, and words sprawling upon the pages of a best selling novel.

Alexandra Andrews gifts us with the character of Florence Darrow. Florence hails from Gainesville, Florida and wears it like a second skin. Even at twenty-six, she is nothing but naive with hardly a drop of any experiential background to speak of. Her mother, Vera, constantly checks in on her only child much to Florence's frustration. Florence is the poster child for common sense not being very common.

Florence finally makes a break for it and lands in Manhattan. She's become an editorial assistant for Forrester Books. "Assistant" in the publishing world often entails runs for coffee and delivering copies to the right people. But our girl finally gets an unexpected opportunity when a position opens up to work with best-seller author, Maud Dixon. Maud Dixon is her pen name and she keeps her real identity locked up tight.

Maud meets Florence at a train station outside of Cairo, New York. Florence has been sworn to secrecy and no one must know her location.....not even her pesty momma. Maud and Florence arrive at a quaint stone house with a guesthouse in the rear. Maud reveals her real name is Helen Wilcox. Soon she and Florence are bonding with Florence doing clerical work for her. But someone in the publishing world presses Florence for info on Maud's new book. Will she take the bait?

Out of the blue, Maud/Helen proposes that she and Florence must take an unplanned trip to Morocco for research on her new book. Within days the two find themselves transported to the winding streets of Marrakech and Semat. Florence from Florida is leading a whirlwind life.

But things are happening too quickly for Florence. She's trying to get a handle on who Maud/Helen really is. And just as we are trying to figure out the same thing, there's a terrible accident. Florence wakes up in a hospital room and the doctors and staff are calling her Miss Wilcox. What in the world happened to Maud/Helen?

And crafty little thoughts enter into Florence's traumatized mind. Can she pull off stepping into the role of the anonymous Maud/Helen? This wonky girl from Florida has taken on a monstrous Manhattan persona. Can she pull it off?

Alexandra Andrews must have dined on donuts with devious frosting while she wrote this one. It's lined with people behaving badly. And badly keeps this storyline rolling in hazardous ways until the very end. Andrews elbows her way into the minds of her readers with nonstop sharp-pointed situations. I'll leave it there, dear readers. Mustn't give away too much here with too many words.
You'll be remembering this one for quite some time.....

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Little, Brown and Company and to Alexandra Andrews for the opportunity.
Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,913 reviews1,445 followers
March 14, 2021

Who indeed? She’s the latest bestselling literary sensation, Maud Dixon is a pseudonym which provokes lively discussions on the authors identity - does the book have a female or male ‘voice’? Florence Darrow loses her job as an editorial assistant at Forrester Books and out of the blue gets a call from Mauds agent offering work as Mauds assistant. The anonymous author proves to be Helen Wilcox. The storyline takes us from New York City to Cairo, NY and finally to Morocco.

Well folks, we have a new exciting and talented author whose books I suspect we’ll be clamouring for in the future! This is a clever plot that features two VERY intriguing central characters. Helen is , er, interesting? She’s extremely impatient, tolerates no fools, calls a spade a shovel, is down to earth and with absolutely no flimflam (maybe) and I’ll say no more!!! Florence seems naive, has obsessive and jealousy traits and an overwhelming desire to escape her Port Orange roots and to become a successful writer. Initially you think she’s a push over but oh boy does she find her inner steel and resolve. Some of the events in Morocco are a bit like the clash of the titans with Moroccan officials looking on in utter confusion. The novel is well written with the storyline flowing smoothly, the plot is very twisty and convoluted in some great settings. I did figure some of it out but not all, as just as you settle in to watch what you expect to unfold the author fools you - again!! The events in Morocco are fast paced and you have to keep up with the speed. There are times when it’s quite humorous and at others it’s shocking.

Overall, a terrific book and I’m so pleased to have read it. I suggest you don’t read the blurb for this, just dive in blind (hopefully not into an algae ridden pool as in Morocco!), settle back, no interruptions, shut the world out and enjoy!! I can’t wait to read what the fertile imagination of Alexandra Andrews comes up with next!

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Headline, Tinder Press for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Michelle .
863 reviews1,225 followers
March 31, 2021
I am so happy to say that this was a winner for me and I am truly astounded that this is a debut novel. Alexandra Andrews has a very bright future ahead of her.

I'm not going to re-hash the plot but I will say that I loved both Florence and Helen. I know that might sound weird considering the story but they both had me giggling from time to time. At the beginning of the novel I read this passage and I just knew...

“Are you sure this is extra chickpeas?” Agatha gestured skeptically with her fork to the bowl Florence had just picked up from the Sweetgreen down the block. “Um, yep.” She had, in fact, forgotten to ask for extra chickpeas. “Clara is not happy about this,” Agatha said. “Clara needs her chickpeas. Clara’s going to force her mommy to mainline hummus when she gets home.” Florence nodded and smiled. Then, when Agatha seemed to be waiting for more, she asked, “Sorry, who’s Clara?” “Did I forget to tell you? Josh and I finally settled on a name.” “Clara? That’s pretty.” Agatha smiled. “I think that was Hitler’s mother’s name,” Florence added.

....that I was going to adore this book. That right there is just my kind of humor and it's sprinkled throughout the book making me a happy, smiling, fool of a reader. I loved the Moroccan setting, I loved the mystery behind what was happening, and I loved that this was a story about two woman writers. Well thought out, well written, and well done to you, Ms. Andrews! 5 stars!
Profile Image for JanB .
1,129 reviews2,289 followers
March 15, 2021
Florence is adrift, not enjoying her life and envying the lives of others. She is a ship without ballast, tilting wherever the wind takes her, trying on and casting off different personalities as easily as trying on a pair of shoes. She has dreams of becoming a famous writer and is willing to do anything to shed her old life and get the life she wants and feels she deserves.

She is in NYC working in a low level job in the publishing industry when an opportunity arises to become assistant to Maud Dixon, a pseudonym for the quirky, reclusive author, Helen Wilcox. The only caveat is a strict NDA. No one knows who Maud really is, and she intends to keep it that way.

Florence sees this as her chance to be mentored by a celebrated author and the road to becoming a famous novelist herself. Things are going well, until the two go to Morocco for research on Maud’s new novel. There is an accident and what follows is a wild twisty ride that kept me furiously flipping the pages. Sure there were a few plot holes and coincidences but this was such an engaging, original read I didn’t care.

I loved that the first half of the book gave us an in-depth peek into Florence’s life and thought processes, which is the set up for the events that transpire in the second half. I do love a book that delves into the psychology of a character.

This is great fun, with sly satire and dark humor. A very fresh and original debut novel that I highly recommended!

• This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce, and we both enjoyed it and found it to be a fresh new take in the genre!
December 12, 2021

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This review is going to contain very mild spoilers that are mostly mentioned on the back of the book jacket. WHO IS MAUD DIXON is a Patricia Highsmith-esque tale of stolen identity and opportunism. Maud Dixon is the best-selling author of a work of literary fiction called Mississippi Foxtrot, a tale of murder and obsession. Nobody knows who the author is, which means that his or her identity is the subject of much speculation among the literary crowd.

Florence, a young aspiring author in her mid-twenties, is one of these. She is a desperate social-climber with a wavering moral compass who wants to fit in to the upper-class elite of the New York literary scene, but no matter what she does, she looks like a hapless poseur. All of that changes when she's offered the opportunity to work with the real Maud Dixon as an assistant, which results in life lessons, writing lessons, and a spur of the moment trip to Morocco for book research.

Obviously, the real Maud Dixon is nothing like what Florence expected. But then-- Florence isn't exactly what she expected, either.

For about 50% of this book I was in love with it... and then it sort of fell apart, pacing-wise and character-wise. Let's just say there were some questionable decisions towards the end that had me rolling my eyes a little. I liked the Morocco portions a lot and I love a good mystery about writers who act crazy, but I just felt that things got a little too unbelievable and required too much suspension of disbelief. Was this book bad? No. I did enjoy it. It just didn't wow me like I wanted it to.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

3 stars
Profile Image for Julie .
4,001 reviews58.9k followers
March 3, 2022
Who Killed Maud Dixon by
Alexandra Andrews is a 2021 Little, Brown and Company publication.

Ha! What a fun thriller!

Maud Dixon is the most talked about author in the world of publishing…
But Maud Dixon is a pseudonym and the author’s identity is top secret, and everyone is dying to find out who she is, including Florence Darrow- an aspiring author.

Florence overplays her hand with a married editorial director and finds herself out of a job. Fortunately, she doesn’t stay unemployed for long. In fact, she lands on her feet quite nicely- landing the most sought-after job in all of publishing- as the personal assistant to the one and only Maud Dixon!!

I breezed through this one in record time. A fantastic, smart, entertaining thriller with some very nice twists and turns. The setting, the premise, and the shrewd plotting tips this up the scale to 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,807 reviews458 followers
April 24, 2021
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.

Who is 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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Profile Image for Virginie Roy.
Author 1 book588 followers
February 2, 2022
Wow, the premise of this book was really promising! Did it deliver? Let's see...

The writing was great, it flowed easily (I read the French translation). It's a slow-burn, I wouldn't call this a thriller except for the last 25%.

I loved the characters! I always enjoy stories with writers and publishers. I just thought it was a bit long before Maud Dixon appeared.

I was enthralled from the start. The plot dragged in the middle, but the pace ramped up eventually. Although there wasn't a phenomenal twist, the ending was satisfying.

Conclusion: it was an excellent book and I recommend it even if, for a moment, I thought it would be a 5-star read! I'm curious to see what Alexandra Andrews will write next. It was a strong debut novel!

*For those who enjoyed this one, you have to read The Plot!*
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,312 reviews659 followers
April 6, 2021
“Who is Maud Dixon” is a clever story where the two main characters are highly unlikable, even sociopathic. Yet, it’s an engrossing story. Florence is a woman trying to break through the literary field. She’s written short stories, none in which a publisher is interested. She gets a job as an assistant at a publishing house in NYC. She has questionable morals and feels that life has given her a bad shake. All those other successful people got lucky and she has only bad luck.

A highly popular novel has just been released by the mysterious author Maud Dixon. Maud Dixon is a pen name, and the true name of the author is unknown. It’s the talk of New York: who is Maud Dixon?

After Florence stocks the family of a married lover, she is fired from her assistant job. Through unforeseen events, she’s offered the job as the assistant to the mysterious author of the Maud Dixon novel, Helen Wilcox. Helen Wilcox turns out to be a somewhat crazy woman living in the Catskills.

For research purposes, Helen wants to travel to Morocco. Helen is writing a story about an American woman who drops everything to work for a childhood friend. Helen and Florence go to Morocco and begin a somewhat madcap journey. After a strange car accident, Helen goes missing and Florence assumes her identity. While Florence dreams of taking over Helen’s life and garnishing the life that she truly deserves, she learns of the questionable history of Helen. The more Florence learns of Helen’s past, the more Florence questions if she really wants to assume Helen’s life.

Helen and Florence are two conniving individuals who leave the reader wondering who one should root for. They are both despicable. Yet, it’s funny as well. Helen seems a bit of a kook, maybe a murderous kook. Florence is a blackmailing deceitful scoundrel.

This is a clever character driven thriller. I kept wondering how author Alexandra Andrews is going to tie up this crazy story? I listened to the audio performed by Therese Plummer. Plummer is fantastic.
Profile Image for Michelle.
593 reviews447 followers
April 6, 2021
I initially passed on this when I read the summary, but I saw a bunch of trusted book friends review it and my curiosity got the best of me. I had a lot of conflicting feelings throughout my time with this book. If you've been reading my reviews for a while, you know that I sometimes struggle with a book that's heavy on unlikeable characters. I'm well aware that you need light to complement the dark, but books that are a little too heavy on the dark aren't my favorite. So there were times when I read this that I wanted to quit. The two main characters are terrible people. I'm nothing like them. But you can't always read about people you agree with, like or are similar too - so I read on. I'm really, really glad I listened to the voice that told me to keep going because it was well worth it. A few years ago, I would have put this book aside because it requires patience. Combined with two unlikeable characters and that would have been the end. However, as I said, this is a book that showed how much I've grown as a reader and I'm glad this is one that helped me on my journey.

I think it's best to know as little as possible about the plot. What I will tell you is that the author upped the ante in small measures so expertly that by the last 100 pages, my nose got closer and closer to the pages of the book as the intensity was ratcheted up. A very clever ending with some twists I didn't anticipate to add to some ones I did. I will definitely read the author's next book and I encourage you to read this if you haven't yet!

Thanks to the Buffalo Library for providing my copy!

Review Date: 04/05/2021
Publication Date: 03/02/2021
Profile Image for Jen.
130 reviews199 followers
September 20, 2021
Florence Darrow is a selfish, impulsive, self-important wannabe writer who has managed to blow up her entire career in publishing before it has even started. Or has she? Shortly after she finds herself fired (and probably blacklisted from any major publishing house -- how did she manage this? You’ll have to read and find out!), she nabs a chance to work as an assistant to a reclusive author who is known only by a pseudonym. Clearly fate works in mysterious ways and this is her road-less-traveled chance to break back into the industry. But is the offer too good to be true..?

If you haven’t read the official blurb for this one yet, I’d advise against it. The above is honestly probably more than you even need to know, and it’s only giving away a tiny fraction of what the blurb does. This will be more fun to go into as blind as you can.

At first I was INTO THIS. It had the feel of an updated Highsmith, complete with a terrible, selfish protagonist that you are still somehow rooting for and some great class/culture-snobbery commentary. And then unfortunately it became apparent that Florence Darrow is no Tom Ripley. She is in fact almost laughably bad at thinking on the fly, which lead to me yelling at my book more than a few times. "What!? No... you couldn't think of a better lie/plan than that???" I also began to see things coming from a mile away. Perhaps that was deliberate? Maybe it was intended to be dramatic irony and I was supposed to see things coming that Florence couldn’t, heightening the tension? I’m not quite sure I buy that though. It feels more like they were intended to be twists/reveals. It’s a fine line to walk: to telegraph things enough so the reader doesn’t feel cheated when there are reveals, but without totally showing your hand, and for me, Maud Dixon couldn’t quite find that balance. Regardless, this was still a very strong debut and I will be watching for what Alexandra Andrews does next. I quite enjoyed the writing itself as well as the dark humor.

3.5 rounded up. I completely understand the very high ratings so many people gave this one. I also have a strong suspicion most haven’t read The Talented Mr. Ripley yet. And for that, I’m a bit jealous. Those of you who 5-starred this, go forth and enjoy one of the better anti-heros in literature. You can also cheat and just watch Matt Damon play him in the quite good movie adaptation - I won’t tell 😉. (Slight addition to my original review: Though I do think having Highsmith's actual prose and characterization in the back of my mind affected my reading experience of this more than just having seen the movie would have.)
Profile Image for Blaine.
730 reviews581 followers
June 29, 2021
It would ruin everything if I came forward and admitted who I was. People think they want the truth but they're always disappointed. It is invariably less interesting than the mystery.

What if you wanted a different life? How did you get from A to B? How did you become the type of person who belonged in B? Florence didn't know. But Helen did. Somehow, she had learned the rules.
Florence Darrow wants. She wants a different life, and a career as a writer. While she doesn’t have much of a plan to accomplish either, she’s sure it will work out somehow. But when she fails upwards into the chance to be personal assistant to Helen Wilcox—known to the world only as Maud Dixon, the pseudonym she used to publish a runaway best-selling novel—it seems like everything is coming up Florence. Until they are on a research trip in Morocco, and there’s a car crash, and Florence has the opportunity to become Helen and, even more importantly, Maud Dixon.

Who Is Maud Dixon? starts a bit slowly. There’s necessary information being given about Florence’s backstory and character, and how she came to work for Helen, but it still feels like the story is in second gear. Once Florence and Helen get to Morocco, the plot picks up considerably, and the second half of the book flies as Florence’s plans to pose as Helen begin to unravel and seem to be placing her in unexpected danger.

Helen is a great character. Confident, sarcastic, witty, with a brash Southern charm, she’d be the center of attention in any room. Florence is an equally well-written character, though more frustrating because of her flaws: a odd blend of naïveté, cautious indecision and rash impulsiveness. Her plans and schemes are often ill-conceived, sometimes bordering on insane, yet it’s hard not to root for her. In many ways—many disturbing ways—this novel is Florence’s coming of age story.

Who Is Maud Dixon? has a dry, dark, sarcastic tone. But what makes it work so well are the mysteries that are slowly revealed throughout the story, building the tension that explodes down the stretch. There are enough twists that you will be unlikely to see them all coming. A very strong debut novel. Recommended.
Profile Image for Christina.
543 reviews192 followers
March 5, 2021
Maud Dixon, for starters, is not real. Maud Dixon is simply a name - a pseudonym for one of America’s most celebrated writers. No one, except for “Maud’s” literary agent, knows the true person behind the pseudonym.

At the same time, we have our protagonist, Florence Darrow. In the beginning of the book I found myself very annoyed with Florence and, in turn, the author, because I thought the author was endorsing the super creepy things Florence was saying. I soon realized, however, that Florence was never meant to be likable, and in fact I had fallen into one of the many witty traps of the book. Namely, don’t we always sort of conflate writers with the characters they create? And doesn’t a really good book feel like something that actually happened?

I don’t want to give away even the early twists of this book, because they are all so fun and fantastic, but Florence and “Maud’s” lives collide in several most unusual ways. The book covers a variety of intriguing topics, but most centrally it is about writers of fiction. It addresses the question of whether a great work of fiction is based on the experiences of author herself, or is it possible that a fiction author is just someone who loves stepping into a complete stranger’s shoes? Maybe, as Maud Dixon — sorry, Alexandra Andrews — explains in this book, it’s a little of both.

And so you should definitely launch into his delicious mystery, which is sort of The Talented Mr. Ripley meets Virginia Woolf...but with a completely fresh twist. The tone is wonderful and I laughed out loud many times at its cleverness. It’s not totally hard to see where the author is going with the plot, but it’s pretty delightful getting there. And also, you will have to get there through Morocco.

Many thanks to Little, Brown, the author, and NetGalley for the ARC of this standout book, which I am sure will be on my Top Ten Best list of 2021.

I absolutely loved the tone, the creativity, and the central questions posed by this book. I also loved the central mystery and the study of at LEAST one complete psychopath. If you want spoilers on the actual plot, Google is available, but I went into this book totally blind and I recommend you do too.
Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews239 followers
March 7, 2021
” “she” stood stock-still. There are some emotions, like rage and lust, that seem to speed up time. But shock creates a moment of stasis, a pocket of time outside the passing seconds, during which the mind has to veer off the neural pathway it has just been traveling down in order to start hacking away at a new one. She said nothing. She could only stare.”

It’s difficult for me to believe this is a debut novel. It’s an amazing read. And I loved every minute of it! The characters are interesting, well-developed and both so different, or so I thought. The story is fleshed out and the plot is so unique and planned down to every little detail and there are details a plenty.

I won’t go through the synopsis of the story, because this book will become increasingly popular and people will tire of reading the “what it’s about”.

Two female characters who seemingly are very different at first glance, but as things progress they come closer together and after awhile they become similar. One character is famous published author who knows her power. The other character is a lost soul who is the assistant to the successful author.

The first half of the book kind of meanders down a path, although I was not bored by any means. This was the setting up and done expertly.

The second part left me flip flopping and hanging on to my seat, thoroughly enjoying the dips and thrills - and a lot of anxiety about what more could possibly happen.

All I will say is everything about this book is twisty and twisted, up and down and every page flew by and made me wonder, is this it, is this the ending? Oh sure, the author threw me a bone or two, but nothing like I expected in the final pages.

I highly recommend this book for its enjoyment and secrets.

I would like to thank Michael David for putting this book on my radar. I would not have read it had it not been for his awesome review. Thanks, Michael.
Profile Image for Marialyce (absltmom, yaya).
1,940 reviews722 followers
March 16, 2021
The word cautionary is not a part of Florence Darrow's makeup. She makes rash decisions without thinking of the consequences and does what many of us would call foolish things. Florence is lonely, realizing her job is just a dull boring thing, not the glamorous fun filled work she pictured herself to have after "escaping" her over bearing mother and her small-town existence. One less than sober weeknight, Florence has a one-night stand with a high-level boss. She rushes ahead, becomes fixated on his wife and kids, (of course he is married) and winds up losing her job.

However, all is not lost as she interviews and is hired by an extremely reclusive author, Helen Wilcox, author of the amazingly successful Who Is Maud Dixon. It's strange, sort of set up but hey, Florence is a tad strange herself, so off she goes into the glamour and notoriety she thinks will be hers one day. Soon after, off these two ladies go to Morocco, for research on Helen's new book and tragedy happens as the car Helen is driving flies into the ocean.

Waking up in a hospital, pondering the situation, Florence sees an opportunity and seizes it, . . ...and then things go off the rails and chaos ensues for Florence. Her plan seems to be thwarted at every turn and Florence take us what only can be described on a very wild ride on the Moroccan rails.

Jan and I had a lot of reading enjoyment from this gem, being somewhat surprised at both the events related and the way in which this new author kept us totally involved in the tumultuous goings on. Does Florence, survive her outing with the Moroccan police or does she succumb to the suspicion that she is the culprit in a serious crime? If you are a fan of intrigue, plotting, and subterfuge, this book might just might be your thing.
Profile Image for JaymeO.
360 reviews200 followers
February 5, 2021
Who is Maud Dixon?

Buckle up your seat belt for a wild ride!

Florence Darrow has high hopes of becoming a well-known novelist. Working as a low level assistant at a New York publishing house, she is thrilled when she receives an offer to work for her favorite author. She jumps at the chance to upgrade her status and live the life her mother always envisioned for her. However, the one caveat is that she must not reveal her boss’s identity. Can she keep the secret?

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this perfectly paced thriller by newcomer, Alexandra Andrews! I promise that you will not want want to put this book down, as there are surprising twists and turns around every corner. Andrews does a fabulous job at pulling the reader into the lives of Helen and Florence. You won’t know who to root for, and just when you think you have it all figured out, bam! The story changes in a direction that you won’t see coming. I loved, loved, loved this one, and you will too! Is it too early to predict thriller of the year? I’m just saying, it’s that good! If you love psychological thrillers, you won’t want to miss this one!

5/5 stars

Thank you to Edelweiss and Little, Brown and Company for the ARC of Who is Maud Dixon? in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,929 reviews640 followers
April 9, 2021
HAHAHA, I feel so guilty for enjoying this book. Not only was I glued to the story, but I was rooting for Florence Darrow not to get caught. Florence is a personal assistant to a famous author who goes by a pen name "Maud Dixon". Maud is super private and her true identity is unknown to the public.

The story gets crazier and crazier as it unfolds. A twisty story with many questionable actions. At this point I ask myself if I'm on the right team? You just have to read it for yourself and decide. It is however very enjoyable. I listened to the audio version read by Therese Plummer and her voice/energy is outstanding.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
256 reviews287 followers
March 22, 2021
Who is Maud Dixon is a great thriller that definitely deserves more attention! Take one bestselling pseudonymous novelist whose debut about two teenage girls and a murder was a runaway hit, and turns out to have a lot of secrets, and toss in one newly hired twenty-something assistant who wants to reinvent herself and you have a delicious recipe for a novel of identity theft, murder, and two people who will do anything to get what they want.

I really enjoyed watching Helen (aka Maud Dixon--and a definite sociopath) and Florence (the assistant who wants more than her life and finds tangling with Helen more terrifying than she thought) wrestle with what they wanted from each other and the lengths they go to in order to try and get it.

A definite must read for thriller fans, especially those who enjoyed The Talented Mr. Ripley and/or Gone Girl. (So, you know, everyone!)

I devoured this and then bought the hardcover (despite the cover which I hope is changed for the pb), so you know this is one I definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Denise.
509 reviews359 followers
March 4, 2021
3.5 stars.

For me, this is one of those debuts where you can see that the author has the writing chops and it was nearly a great read, but in the end, fell a bit flat.

Protagonist Florence Darrow is a low-level publishing employee who stumbles into a job as the assistant to a novelist whose pen name is Maud Dixon - no one knows her real identity, and Florence thinks this is finally her chance to change her fate and become a famous writer herself under Maud's tutelage. The arrangement seems perfect. Florence quickly falls under Maud Dixon's (whose real name turns out to be Helen Wilcox) spell and eagerly accompanies her to Morocco, to research Helen's next book. But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible accident, with no memory of what happened, no sign of Helen, and is referred to by the doctor as Ms. Wilcox, she's tempted to upgrade into Helen's life, and her bestselling pseudonym.

I was intrigued by that blurb, but I felt like it took too long to get to Morocco, and to the "meat" of the story; and then once you get there, there are numerous over-the-top coincidences that I struggled with suspending disbelief enough to fully enjoy it. Without giving too much away, I wanted to see if Florence could actually pull off writing as Maud Dixon, etc., but it never happened, as once they arrive in Morocco, things get rather silly (never a positive term to describe a psychological thriller in my opinion!). I also did not particularly like Florence's character. She is unimaginative and immature, and after bad decision after bad decision, I sort of tired of her. I actually found myself drawn more to Helen's eccentric, bitchy character and rooting for Florence's self-destruction!

I think many readers are going to love this book, and there are moments of brilliance - I love the one-liners and snarky, dark humor - but I saw the plot twists and ending coming on early in the book, so it felt a bit predictable. I would definitely read this author's future books, as her writing style is engaging and clever, and I would like to see what she comes up with next time.
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