To be released August 6th, 2019.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware starts out in a letter written from a Scotland jail by Rowan Caine, a former nanny, to Mr. Wrexham, an attorney. She’s pleading for him to represent her in court as she’s been accused of murdering a child, her former charge.
Rowan then goes on to tell the story of how she got her nanny job with the Elincourts at their supposedly haunted estate, Heatherbrae House. There are several references to the Victorian, which I can’t help but think is a nod to similarly styled books that came before this one such as Jane Eyre or Turn of the Screw.
Nanny position? Check. High salary? Check. Creepy, secluded location? Check. Possibly haunted? Check.
The characterization is spot-on and the suspense, especially at the chapter breaks is skillful. What puts a modern twist on this seemingly Gothic, Victorian inspired novel is the technology Rowan has to deal with at Heatherbrae House. The father of the house is a technology buff and has installed a very Big Brother-esque system called Happy that basically runs the place. There are cameras everywhere to track Rowan’s every move as well as thumbprint locks and other devices.
I read Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood and it wasn’t my favorite book. With The Turn of the Key, she has really come into her own as a true master writer of suspense and thrillers. There are certain scenes that are so gripping and terrifying that I could not stop reading. I just have to add that I never thought footsteps could be so scary.
Just when I thought the book couldn’t get any better, it did. At the eleventh hour, we get a big twist that is so salacious, it’s almost cathartic. Love her or hate her, you have to be curious about what will end up happening to Rowan, which is really the whole drive of the plot.
There are so many twists and turns, even right up until the end, that truly keep the suspense going. I felt like the ending might not be as satisfying as it was. The whole book is written in an epistolary/frame story style and I loved every bit of it. In true Gothic novel form, the reader is both satiated but still left with a little bit of mystery about nearly every one of the characters. This is a must read for sure.