“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.
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
Gothic thrillers and horror are back in vogue, and this makes me so happy! I grew up reading Barbara Mertz aka Barbara Michaels, who could write a fantastic Gothic tale. Her, Amelia Peabody mysteries, that take place in Egypt is another great series.
Jess and I recently did a podcast over on Books Don’t Review Themselves for Lock Every Door by Riley Sager, where Ruth Ware is quoted on the cover saying, “Move over, Rosemary’s Baby, urban paranoia has a deliciously Gothic new address.” And Ware certainly knows what she is talking about with this Gothic novel that takes place in the more traditional setting of a large house in the middle of nowhere.
While I enjoyed Sager’s book for all the nods to horror movies, Ware’s book actually had me feeling creeped out at times. And me being creeped out really is a high compliment to an author, since it rarely happens.
It could be that I was reading it on the Kindle with all the lights turned off, or because children can really give stories more of a scary vibe, think Children of the Corn, the twins in The Shining, or Gage in Pet Sematary. More likely, it’s because Ware is a fantastic writer that knows how to slowly ratcheted up the fear and paranoia.
The other thing that Gothic is known for is all the secrets, and Ruth revealed them in a slow, steady stream. Just when I thought I knew who the murderer was or who was sabotaging the house, another secret would be revealed that had me changing my mind. What was behind the locked door really had me questioning my previous thoughts.
So lessons learned time and time again. Don’t babysit children in the middle of nowhere or at all. If you start hearing bumps in the night and things are in different places then you left them, burn the house down. Trust no one and become a hermit in the woods. Just make sure you bring enough books with you!
Some other books that I enjoyed and you may too, that are in the style of Gothics are The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
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