Book Reviews

The Turn of the Key

It was only as we began to wind slowly down the drive, while I kept one eye out for a fleeting child among the trees, that I found myself replaying Maddie’s final remark, wondering if she had really said what I thought I’d heard.
For the thing she had called over her shoulder seemed almost too preposterous to be true-and yet the more I brooded over it, the more I was sure of what I’d heard.
The ghosts, she had sobbed. The ghosts wouldn’t like it.

Ruth Ware has cemented herself as one of the great mystery writers of our time, and her newest novel does not disappoint.

The story is introduced in letters; letters to a barrister from a desperate woman accused of murdering a child. As she pleads for his assistance to prove her innocence, she begins to tell the story of how it all happened. . .
Rowan Caine was living in London, and somewhat bored with her life when she stumbles upon a job opportunity that seems too good to be true: Family with 4 children seeks live-in nanny. The pay is amazing, and when she sees the house, she realizes how much she truly wants this position. She is warned, however, that four nannies have left them in the past 14 months, which does raise a red flag. However, the pay and situation seem to override any hesitation and Rowan eagerly accepts the job.
Sandra, the mother, did inform Rowan that there are stories about the house, ghost stories, which Rowan dismisses as she does not believe in ghosts. But strange things begin to happen when she moves in. Is it just that Rowan doesn’t know how to use the high-tech whole home system that the Elincourt’s tech savvy husband installed? Or is something really trying to mess with her?
As the story progresses, you will learn Rowan has secrets of her own, and will question every character’s motives. And even if you don’t believe you ghosts, you still may leave room for belief.

Ware’s updated take on “The Turn of the Screw” was mesmerizing. I loved the element that technology plays in this novel. We sign up for Smart home technology in an effort to make our lives easier, yet what happens when it is used against you? What level of privacy are family members allowed in their own bedrooms? And is it really appropriate to have cameras in the Nanny’s room?
Rowan clearly came to Heatherbrae looking for something, but it isn’t quite the something you think. Two of the four girls she is in charge of are clearly unhappy to have her there, as is the housekeeper. But is it just because they hate her? Or are there other factors? This novel just kept me guessing with each new chapter. And I did reread the end a few times to make sure I understood it all. Read this one with a friend – you’ll want to discuss so many things when you are done!