The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Publication Info: Expected publication: September 5th 2019, Simon & Schuster . Pre-pub Kindle ebook edition courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.

Summary : The narrator opens the novel by attempting to write several letters to a barrister, in hopes that he will listen to her rather bizarre story and represent her. She is currently in jail awaiting trial for the murder of a child. The young woman, who calls herself Rowan, is desperate. Like most convicts, Rowan claims she is innocent and feels she could be proved so if only the esteemed Mr. Wrexham could represent her.

When Rowan finally launches into her story, it is a tale of Gothic proportions. Rowan applies for a job as a nanny to a couple of wealthy architects with four children of varying ages. The house is a mishmash conversion, part old, part frighteningly modern with its all too smart house panels and cameras. The children have been through several nannies in succession, each frightened off by something. Immediately after her arrival, the parents head to a convention, leaving her alone with the children. There is little instruction other than a thick, detailed binder which she is expected to read.

Shortly after the parents drive off, Rowan discovers that there are noises in the attic, mysterious occurrences, a handsome, if enigmatic, groundskeeper and a garden of poisonous plants. She is also faced with emotionally scarred children who have to adapt yet again to a stranger in their lives.

The story ratchets up slowly, drawing the reader in, until the shocking turn of events that gets her arrested after one of the children dies.

Comments: The Turn of the Key has all of the elements of a classic Gothic tale — a nanny, a mysterious house, a lecherous man, things that go bump in the night and even access to poison. In lesser hands, this story could have been just one among many in the genre. But Ruth Ware has added some unique twists that keep the reader wondering right up until the end…and beyond. Read it to find out what that means!

Highly recommended for readers of suspense, mystery, psychological suspense and classic “girl running away from castle” books.

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