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The turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
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The turn of the Key

by Ruth Ware

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Title:The turn of the Key
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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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This book is another winner by the mistress of suspense - Ruth Ware. It's a combination of thriller, suspense, supernatural and it's gothic. It's well-written and keeps you guessing until the end. All the things a good thriller is supposed to do. All is certainly picture-perfect at Heatherbrae House in the beautiful Scottish highlands, but when Rowan Caine manages to land the perfect job as live-in nanny for what appears to be the perfect family and at a fabulous salary, she stumbles onto a house full of secrets, lies and maybe even ghosts. Rowan doesn't believe in ghosts, and is totally convinced that there is a human hand behind the unexplained happenings. But Rowan has secrets of her own, and ulterior motives which we don't learn about until near the end of the book. It turns out that Rowan is an unreliable narrator and it made me realize, like in most Ruth Ware books, that nothing is like it seems. The book, told in the form of a letter to a solicitor, kept my interest and kept me turning pages right up until the end. If I have a complaint about the book, it is the abrupt ending and that is why I gave it four stars instead of the five that I thought I would give it through most of the book. But I gladly recommend it to aficionados of great suspense writing. Ruth Ware certainly has the right stuff and the formula for writing gripping stories. ( )
  Romonko | Sep 14, 2019 |
This book is sheer perfection! The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is gothic domestic noir meets creepy psychological thriller and I absolutely loved it.

Rowan applies for a nanny position at Heatherbrae House that sounds too good to be true. Based in a remote area in Scotland, the position offers a generous salary and luxury accomodation in a newly renovated smart house. Her architect employers are the busy parents of four children and Rowan is hired as their live-in nanny.

The novel starts with Rowan accused of being responsible for the death of one of the children and the novel is her account of the events. The writing is perfectly paced with an unexpected juxtaposition of the old and new parts of the house leading to a creepy and unsettling atmosphere.

Heatherbrae House is run via a smart app, and when things begin to wrong Rowan isn't sure if the app is malfunctioning or someone is trying to scare her. Previous nannies haven't stayed long in the position, adding to the mystery.

It has been said that The Turn of the Key is a tribute or a nod to the classic The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. In that novella, a governess is sent to a gothic home to look after two children, there may or may not be ghosts and one of the children dies. In the case of The Turn of the Key, there may or may not be ghosts and a nanny is charged with the murder of a child in her care. While it isn't that different to the fate of the governess in James' horror tale, the writing style is poles apart.

I read The Turn of the Screw in 2012 and wasn't overly impressed, however The Turn of the Key had me by the throat the entire time. If you weren't wowed by the Henry James classic, don't let it put you off this modern take, as Ruth Ware is easily the better writer of the two.

The Turn of the Key has an ending that made my heart lurch as my mind comprehended the consequences of what I'd learned. The ending reminded me a little of the one in The Corset, and it was the magnitude of the implied repercussion that left me breathless.

Ruth Ware is definitely a new favourite author and I'm excited to discover some of her other books in the future. She's written In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game and The Death of Mrs Westaway so there's much to look forward to. Have you read any of these titles? Which one should I read next?

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware could be one of my favourite books of the year. Highly recommended!

* Copy courtesy of Penguin Random House Australia * ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Sep 11, 2019 |
Rowan Cane is in jail writing a letter to a barrister pleading for him to represent her in her upcoming trial. Her letter to Mr Wrexham tells the story of how she came to be in HMP Charnworth awaiting trial for murder.

So in a sense it is a case of how reliable Rowan is as a narrator. Is she telling us the whole truth? What don't we know about her?

A truly fascinating read, with an almost Gothic feel about it. Rowan has been offered a very demanding job, very highly paid, but the last four nannies have all left. In addition, her employers leave almost straight away, leaving Rowan in a very high tech house, with three little girls who do not really like her. A very demanding job indeed even for a super nanny. And things begin to go wrong almost immediately.

But the really staggering thing about this story is the incredible twist at the end, which won't make any sense unless you've absorbed the whole book.

I've made it the top of my list for this year.

If you haven't read anything by Ruth Ware, time to start. And then follow it up with others from my list below.
4.8, IN A DARK, DARK WOOD
4.4, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10
4.8, THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY ( )
  smik | Sep 6, 2019 |
A page-turner steeped in mystery and suspense. BUT. I think the choice to write The Turn of the Key as an epistolary novel hindered the story and my ability to fully connect with any one character. It felt borderline gimmicky.

Further, I'm a big fan of the slow burn, especially in the mystery/ thriller/ horror genres. BUT. The first, oh, 100-150 pages seemed to push me away rather than pull me into the story.

And finally, the ending felt like a non-ending. I get that it's meant to be a shock to the reader in the last 2 pages...to elicit gasps and dropped jaws... yet I closed the book feeling unsatisfied. Sure the mysteries were solved, but where was the resolution? I dunno. Personally I wanted more closure.

Oh well. Most readers will probably love this one. If asked, I'd recommend In a Dark, Dark Wood or The Death of Mrs. Westaway instead.
  flying_monkeys | Sep 4, 2019 |
I absolutely love Ruth Ware's writing! I have been eagerly waiting for her newest - The Turn of the Key.

The cover image makes me wonder what's on the other side of the door and the title itself hints at things hidden away. The premise builds on that initial impression.....

Childcare worker Rowan is looking for a job change. When she sees an ad for a live in nanny for the Elincourt family, she applies - and to her surprise gets the job. One catch - she must start asap. Did I mention that Heatherbrae House is quite isolated out in the countryside? And that it is a 'smart' house - controlled by an app? A Gothic feel with a side of modern.

We know that something has gone very, very wrong right from the beginning of the book. Rowan is writing a letter to a lawyer, explaining what happened and I was caught up in the tale immediately.

Rowan is left in charge of the four daughters right away as Mr and Mrs Elincourt must travel to a convention for work. This was unexpected for Rowan. And the children do not seem to want her there. But is it just the children? The house seems to have a mind of its own as well.....

Ruth Ware is a master at building the suspense. Everyday occurrences take on a malevolent air - items misplaced, unexplained drafts and noises and more. The tension grows and grows - and I found myself mentally shouting at Rowan to just leave the house. The movie equivalent of don't go in the basement applies to the attic in this case.

Ware's description of the house made it easy to imagine the setting. Making the house a 'smart' house adds a layer and more questions to the story. I appreciated the many what if's and possibilities afforded by the isolation and the electronics - and the history of the house and previous nannies. Let alone the family - there are secrets in this house, and Rowan hints at one in her own as well.

The ending provides a twist - one I hadn't thought of, but the finale wasn't the outcome I had imagined.

I chose to listen to The Turn of the Key. Imogen Church was the reader and she was brilliant! Her interpretation of Rowan's fear, frustration and anger are so well done. Listening drew me into Rowan's state of mind and amplified the tension. The description of events was so creepy - I will never hear the word 'creak' again without hearing her voice. I simply couldn't stop listening. I've said it before and I'll say it again - listening immerses me in a book. And The Turn of the Key was a standout! Well done! ( )
1 vote Twink | Sep 3, 2019 |
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For Ian, with more love than I know how to put into words
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3rd September 2017
Dear Mr. Wrexham,
I know you don't know me but please, please, please you have to help me
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes Ruth Ware's highly anticipated fifth novel. 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"--… (more)

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