“When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unraveling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.” – Amazon
Coming off the heels of Riley Sager’s new book, Lock Every Door, which I would also categorize as a gothic thriller, The Turn of the Key is just what I needed and more. You know when you finish a book with a specific feeling? It is almost a combination of longing for another book just like it, a little bit of sadness because you wish you could reread this book with fresh eyes, and joy because it accomplished the exact feelings the author anticipated. Basically, I was feeling all that and then some.
This book surrounds 24-year-old Rowan Caine who currently works in a childcare center when she stumbles across an article looking for a nanny, offering a generous salary, which was tied together with a bow. That bow is a beautiful “smart house” named the Heatherbrae House located in “beautiful Scottish highlands.” I promise I am not giving anything by saying this because Ruth Ware makes it known early on — Rowan ends up in prison and one of the children ends up dead… dun dun dun!
There are two main factors that I think made this story unravel beautifully: the way the story was laid out and the setting.
I don’t want to say too much about the way the story was laid out because I felt that was crucial right off the bat. What I will say is that it kept the story flowing in a way that you slowly gathered details, but in a somewhat fast-paced way. I know that sounds a little crazy, but that is the best way I can describe it. It was executed beautifully. I promise.
The setting is a story in itself? A frickin’ smart house! Not just any smart house, a converted smart house that is a combination of modern and vintage design. The descriptions are beautifully creepy. I wonder if Ware took the time to design this house separate from the story. Regardless, I want to see this house come to life! The thing is, I can’t think of a book I have ever read with this type of setting. That in itself really adds to the thrill of this read.
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