Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Publisher: Scout Press
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Plot Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a gripping and atmospheric psychological thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. With its haunting setting, unreliable narrator, and twists and turns, Ware delivers a suspenseful and addictive tale that explores the dark secrets lurking within the walls of an old Scottish mansion.
Ruth Ware excels at creating complex and layered characters, and The Turn of the Key is no exception. Rowan Caine, the narrator, is flawed and unreliable, adding to the tension and mystery surrounding the events. Her development and evolution throughout the story are well-crafted, as she grapples with her own past and the secrets she uncovers. The supporting characters, particularly the children and the house staff, are equally intriguing, with their own hidden agendas and motives. Each character feels distinct and contributes to the overall suspense and atmosphere of the novel.
One of the strengths of The Turn of the Key lies in its atmospheric setting. Heatherbrae House, with its eerie history and isolated location, becomes a character in itself. Ruth Ware expertly builds a sense of claustrophobia and unease, making the house a palpable presence throughout the story. The remote Scottish Highlands provide a haunting backdrop, adding to the feeling of isolation and the mysteries that unfold. The atmospheric descriptions enhance the sense of foreboding and contribute to the overall tension.
The Turn of the Key is a suspenseful and atmospheric psychological thriller that showcases Ruth Ware’s talent for creating tension and mystery. With its well-crafted plot, compelling characters, and haunting setting, the book will keep readers guessing until the final page. While some aspects may feel predictable for avid thriller readers, the immersive atmosphere and strong characterization make up for it. The Turn of the Key receives a solid four-star rating, making it a recommended read for fans of gripping and atmospheric suspense novels.