The Turn of the Key
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A superb suspense writer…Brava, Ruth Ware. I daresay even Henry James would be impressed.” —Maureen Corrigan, author of So We Read On
“This appropriately twisty Turn of the Screw update finds the Woman in Cabin 10 author in her most menacing mode, unfurling a shocking saga of murder and deception.” —Entertainment Weekly
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes this thrilling novel that explores the dark side of technology.
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 events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the home’s cameras, 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.
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—but somebody 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
British thriller author Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10, In a Dark, Dark Wood) is brilliant at conjuring a creepy gothic atmosphere. With The Turn of the Key, she’s added a cool modern twist. When inexperienced London day-care worker Rowan accepts a lucrative live-in nanny position at a remote estate in the Scottish highlands, she discovers she’s in over her head. Caring for four ill-behaved children with mostly absent parents, Ware’s heroine soon becomes convinced that the house itself—equipped with all the latest smart-home technology—is rebelling against her and that the family is harboring terrifying secrets. With its jolting shocks, Ware’s novel feels like an ultramodern update of the Victorian ghost story.
Ware's excellent psychological thriller, as the title suggests, references Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. It includes a nanny alone, a house that appears to be haunted, and children who aren't quite what they seem. But Ware hauls the story into the 21st century by making the technology of today as menacing as the story's isolated location, a Scottish estate., Rowan Caine, a young woman with secrets, stands accused of murdering one of the four children in her care while serving as a nanny. But which child died under her care, what brought Rowan to Scotland in the first place, and what were the events that led up to that fateful event? The answers to those questions slowly reveal themselves, with each answer resulting in a myriad of new questions., Unhappy in her job at a London daycare center, Rowan answers an advertisement for a live-in nanny, one with a very generous salary, for architects Bill and Sandra Elincourt. Even before traveling north to interview for the job, Rowan immediately discovers the first of many warning signs that maybe the position is too good to be true: four predecessors have all walked off the job in the last year. As a result, that promised salary comes in the form of a lump-sum bonus only after she's completed her term of service. She also learns that the enormous house where the family lives has been wired to be smart in every way, with an Alexa-on-steroids program called Happy that manages the most mundane of daily activities turning on lights, making lists while also ensuring that privacy is a thing of the past., Once Rowan arrives in Scotland, she quickly wins over Sandra, whose claims to be less than enamored of the house's technology prove to be less than genuine. Then Bill and Sandra announce they need to leave her alone with the children while they work on a major project, and those children are not enthralled by the new nanny. Ware does a good job of creating tension through the vastness of the house and grounds, bringing in elements such as a nasty housekeeper, a handsome handyman with an agenda, a walled poison garden, and an attic filled with secrets., But above all, Ware skillfully lays the bread crumbs to the novel's satisfying conclusion without dropping too many hints or duping the reader. She presents Rowan as a woman making questionable decisions, and, by the end, provides a reason for each of those decisions, if not a justification. The final section not only pulls together the plot's many threads but also leaves readers with one final, haunting question, one that will stay with them long after they turn the last page. , Agatha Award finalist Edwin Hill is the author of Little Comfort.
Wow— I thought I had figured out the plot, but with all the twists and turns— I wasn’t expecting that 😉
Formula babysitter scare
I rarely leave reviews, but this was just such a tired, overused plot with so many holes. The narrative was carelessly threaded together with supposed “letters” that went nowhere. I felt obligated to finish it because I paid for it. Never again. My time is worth something. Might be ok if you’re snowed in or camping or something.