The Turn of the Keyby Published 06 Aug 2019
|The Turn of the Key.pdf|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster|
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.
"The Turn of the Key" Reviews
AUGUST 2019 BOTM SELECTION
"Dear Mr. Wrexham,
You have no idea how many times I have started this letter and screwed up the resulting mess, but I've realized there is no magic formula here. There is no way I can make you listen to my case. So I'm just going to have to do my best to set things out. However long it takes, however much I mess this up, I'm just going to keep going and tell the truth."
And so begins our tale. I'm sure that, unless you've been walking around with your eyes closed and your ears plugged up, you've caught wind of this upcoming release, but if not let me give you a brief introduction. The Turn of the Key is a compulsive tale of a nanny sitting in jail awaiting trial for the murder of one of her charges. The entire book is told through letters from said nanny to a potential solicitor, recalling the events leading up to her incarceration, along with a few surprise notes at the end. The basic jist of events is that we begin with Rowan answering an advertisement for a nannying position in the Scottish countryside. The catch is that this particular household has been through 4 nannies in less than a year, and the reasons behind this are murkily associated to legends of the estate being haunted. Shenanigans ensue, all hell breaks loose, and much havoc is played out over the course of the book.
As someone who has taken time to warm to Ware's novels over the year, I think she's found her niche in the gothic suspense genre. I truly enjoyed Mrs. Westaway, and I believe The Turn of the Key is her best novel yet. The pacing was 100% what I was praying for, and the creepy elements, such as the locked closet, the poison garden, and the smart home with little to no privacy, were all excellent inclusions and flawlessly executed.
I found that even the supporting characters, especially Jack and Jean, were just as intriguing as Rowan was. My only complaint was with the ending; it felt like a bit of a let down after such a large build up, and even though it worked, it felt like the easy ending to take. The twists may or may not surprise you; I felt that I had most of them figured out, but there were a few smaller twists that took me completely by surprise, which I wholly appreciated. If you're looking for a creepy, character driven psychological thriller that will keep you thrilled and chilled from beginning to end, definitely add The Turn of the Key to your late summer TBR!
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
This is my third book by the author so by this point I know she's great at creating an atmosphere, a creepy ambiance.
New nanny working for a family living in a remote house in Scotland. Past nannies leaving after the house seems haunted with its dark history and secrets... you get it.
It was interesting, even a bit unique since the main character wasn't likeable and that the format is through letters she's writing to a lawyer from prison since she's accused of murdering one of the child in her care...
The ending was a bit lukewarm in my opinion but I can't wait to see how others feel about it all!
If you're looking for a quick read for the fall and have liked her other books, I would recommend.
Thank you Simon & Schuster for this ARC!
I am telling you the truth. The unvarnished, ugly truth. And it is all that. It is unpolished and unpleasant, and I don't pretend I acted like an angel. But I didn't kill anyone. I just fucking didn't.
This wasn't bad, but it was nowhere near as good as I was expecting from an author like Ruth Ware.
The protagonist, Rowan Caine, stumbles upon an opportunity that she considers amazing and I would consider an absolute nightmare-- a live-in nanny to four children, including one baby and one bratty teenager. On top of this, she's staying in the high-tech Heatherbrae House - a refurbished "smart" home with constant surveillance, voice-activated lights, and an app to go with it.
Unlike Rowan, I think this sounds like a horror story. And, honestly, I found the book to be at its strongest when it is drawing on creepy horror tropes like creaking footsteps in the attic, objects going missing and reappearing where the MC knows she already looked, and freaky dolls. The atmosphere is quite good and it would make for a somewhat spooky Halloween read. The combination of nightmare children, a malfunctioning house that seems haunted, and the hunky but suspicious handyman kept me reading.
I also liked how Ware framed the story within a letter to a solicitor. It worked so well that I'm surprised I haven't read books that have done this before (that I recall).
But it just wasn't very strong as a mystery, in my opinion. The culprit can be guessed pretty easily (this really isn't a surprising reveal anymore) and it irked me how it doesn't make sense for Rowan to withhold the identity of the dead child, though of course she does so because once we know who it is, it removes any doubt as to who the killer must be.
The author also dropped a lot of heavy-handed hints about [spoilers removed] so I even started to work out what was going on there. This part of the story frustrated me, actually, because it kind of changes the whole focus of the book from being about the potential horrors of a nanny living in a "smart" house to something else that didn't interest me half as much.
The ending felt unfinished, too. I wanted more after becoming invested in the story.
I won't rush out to recommend this one, but there are some Halloween-worthy chills to be had here. I'll still check out Ware's future books.
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A nanny in jail accused of murdering one of the children in her care. This is her story.
When Rowan, a young nanny who lives in London, comes across for an ad seeking a nanny to live in a remote area of Scotland, it sounds too good to be true. The pay is high, the house is beautiful, and the family seems lovely. She is warned that previous nannies have quit due to the house being haunted. Rowan doesn’t believe in ghosts, so she pays no heed to the warning. She is hired for the position and packs up her life in London and moves to remote Scotland. But what is beautiful on the surface is hiding deep dark secrets.
One of my favorite things about The Turn of the Key is the house which is named Heatherbrae. Equipped with state of the art technology (the whole house runs off an app), it takes on a life of its own. Juxtaposed with Victorian architecture and Gothic feel, Heatherbrae adds another layer to The Turn of the Key.
The Turn of the Key is told only through Rowan’s eyes, as she shares what led to her arrest through a series of letters to a solicitor. Rowan is an unreliable narrator and the reader must contend with a lot of telling. While this type of narrative style usually irks me, I found that it works in this case as Rowan provides a detailed account of her time at Heatherbrae. One just needs to continue to question whether or not her version of events is accurate.
There are some twists as well some red herrings thrown in for good measure. I guessed many of the smaller twists, but I completely missed the most significant twist. And I was looking for it! Sadly, my detective skills failed. This twist added an additional layer and made me want to reread from the beginning. The ending felt a bit rushed and I could have done without the final letter. I would rather have been left guessing than be told a less than satisfying conclusion to Rowan’s story. Overall, this is an atmospheric, slower-paced psychological thriller with some intriguing twists and turns.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Gothic, creepy, a house with a hideous history...OMG yes please!! This was hands down my favorite book by Ruth Ware! All the stars for this one! I have read all her books except The Death of Mrs. Westaway (which is sitting here in my bookcase waiting to be read). Up until this point In a Dark Dark Wood was my favorite, but wow oh wow I loved this book.
Four nannies in a year, umm okay people that should be a sign that there are some real problems at the Heatherbrae House. Granted the house has an extensive history, I mean don't all old homes? That is what Rowan told herself when she applied for the job. Okay Rowan, you just keep telling yourself that. Drawn in by the generous salary and the gorgeous home she decided to roll the dice and try out the job, even with the history of previous nannies not being able to cut it. Were the the rumors true that the house was haunted? Is that what caused them to leave so quickly? Or was it the somewhat difficult children that they were entrusted to? I began to wonder if it was Sandra and Bill Elincourt whom appeared to be a bit challenging to deal with in themselves.
I tell you what, there is no way I would have spent numerous nights in this house like Rowan did. I was completely creeped out as nightfall hit each evening. Things were happening and they appeared to be supernatural. Given the history of this home, there is no doubt that is what would be running through my mind if I were staying there. Add to it this "smart house" with all the amazing, yet creepy features. That would drive me mad in itself. If I were Rowan I would be concerned that my employers were watching my every move, meaning that someone else could be too.
I have read some reviews that said this was a slow start or slow moving book but not for me! I was sucked in from the very first page. This was a really fast pace for me and I couldn't put it down. I read this late into the night. I am really looking forward to what Ware is going to come up with next. I read this with a group of fellow Traveling Sisters! It made for a fantastic group read.
Thank you so much to Gallery/Scout Press for this ARC I received via Edelweiss. I LOVED it!! Thanks you to Ruth Ware for another fantastic book!