Monday, October 21, 2019

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Genre: Psychological Thriller
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 unravelling 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.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

I am a huge fan of Ruth Ware. Even though I wasn't a fan of her book The Death of Mrs. Westaway, I loved The Lying Game and In a Dark, Dark Wood. When I found out about The Turn of the Key, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. It was much better than I thought it was going to be!

The synopsis of the book had such a spooky feel, and I loved the plot of The Turn of the Key. Rowan isn't very happy at her job at Little Nippers, a daycare where she looks after babies and toddlers. Plus, it doesn't pay very well. When she comes across an ad to be a live in nanny for a rich couple's children for a fantastic sum, she jumps a the chance. She's surprised when she gets the job, but she is ecstatic. Heatherbrae, the house where she will nanny, is a smart house complete with an app that controls everything in the house. When her employers have to leave the next day, she is thrown into her job as a nanny of Maddie, Ellie, and Petra. Strange things start happening such as being woken up in the middle of the night with music blaring from the speakers all over the house and lights being turned on up to full brightness. Items go missing from their original place, and Maddie is a nightmare child to look after. Rowan begins to second guess her nannying job at Heatherbrae, but she decides to stick it out. Unfortunately, a child ends up dead, and Rowan ends up in prison for the child's murder even though she swears she's innocent. Was Rowan framed or was it the work of something far more sinister?

I thought everything flowed smoothly, and The Turn of the Key definitely had me spooked. I kept trying to guess what was going on. The Turn of the Key hints that it could be something paranormal throughout the story, so I kept wondering if it was some sort of ghost or if it was a person. I'd also try to guess who was behind it all, but I was wrong. There are a few plot twists and one major plot twist that blindsided me completely. It was a plot twist that made me actually made my draw drop! I doubt any reader would have or will predict that plot twist. One minor thing that I was left pondering over had to do with the ending when all is revealed. I won't give any spoilers away, but I will say it's never mentioned how a person can get into a certain sealed off room. That's all I will say on that matter because I don't want to give too much away. Other than that, every other question I had was answered by the last page. As for the pacing, it is done perfectly. Not once did I feel as if The Turn of the Key slowed down at all. This is a book that grabs your hand and pulls you along without letting go!

The characters in The Turn of the Key all felt very realistic and fleshed out well enough for everything to be believable. Rowan is a very likable character and kudos for her for actually staying on as a nanny at Heatherbrae when everything went pear shaped. Even though some of the kids were hard to love, she still wanted to do what's right by them. I would have high tailed it out of there quickly if I was in her position! I felt like she dealt with everything to the best of her ability. I admired Jack and how he was willing to help Rowan out. He came across as a very caring man. It was obvious that the character of Jean loved the children at Heatherbrae which made me love her even if she wasn't featured very much. Sandra and Bill (the owners of Heatherbrae and Rowan's employers) were written well. They weren't very good parents I felt. They were too busy with their work to really know their children. Unfortunately, I know this happens in real life too. Maddie had her issues, but I loved how she was written. I felt bad for her because I felt like she was the black sheep of the family. I also felt bad for the oldest daughter Rhiannon. She was another one that seemed to have issues, but I loved her vulnerability at her lowest point. I loved the dialogue between Rowan and Rhiannon. Petra was just adorable, but Ellie was my favorite. She was easily swayed by her sister, Maddie, but I loved when she was away from Maddie and was able to be her own person. I felt she was just the sweetest little girl!

Trigger warnings for The Turn of the Key include profanity, drinking, underage drinking, lying, blackmail, a child's death, marital cheating, and mentions of sex (although not graphic).

Overall, The Turn of the Key is such a well written book. The plot sucks you in from the beginning, and the characters are all very interesting! I would definitely recommend The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware to everyone age 16+ who enjoy a fantastic psychological read!

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