The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The short version: Loved it
The slight longer version: A young woman gets a dream nanny job. The pay check is unbelievable. Well, yes, the family has gone through several nannies in the past years, but Rowan is sure it's not because of ghosts but because of the remote location: in the middle of the Scottish Highlands. But once she gets there, she begins to believe something odd is going on . . . .
And the reader knows that something terrible happened. Because Rowan is in jail, desperately writing to a lawyer, hoping to clear her name, insistent that she did not kill that child.
OH SO GOOD.
So Rowan is telling the story, and you know she isn't the most reliable narrator, and there are hints and clues that she's not been entirely honest or straightforward. For example, she was desperate for the job and so instead of being herself, became who she thought the family wanted to hire, so no messy hair and jeans, but, rather, nice hair and smart clothes.
And you also know the family and the house has something odd going on. Rowan only meets the wife when she interviews, and some of the daughters; the husband is away on business. This one interview gets her hired -- she never even meets the father! And then, when she starts, both parents have to go away on business so almost from day one, she is alone with these small children who she has barely met.
What parent does that, leaves their children with an almost stranger?
And the house: the house is amazing and wonderful and scary. The parents are architects and the house is old manor in the front, modern glass in the back, and all of it is "smart technology". So smart that it's next to impossible to figure out how any of it works.
There is also a poison garden.
So: which child died? Who killed them? Was it Rowan? What are Rowan's secrets? What are the secrets of the house?
So so good. But the ending.... I'm still not sure what I think. And it comes down a bit to "glass half full" in terms of what one believes happens next.
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