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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Riveting Psychological Thriller An Intriguing Debut

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous' The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family's estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

Who is the child, and what really happened that day?

Only one person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her. 

I usually write my own plot summaries, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't come up with one as succinct but evocative as the one that appears on The Au Pair's back cover.  The professionally-written copy captures the book perfectly. 

You know I love me a psychological thriller, especially one with Gothic vibes that hints at dark family secrets coming to light, so this one definitely appealed to me from the moment I heard about it.  And you know what?  It delivered.  With an intriguing premise, complex characters, and a tautly-plotted storyline, the novel kept me riveted throughout.  Although I saw some of the twists coming, I didn't figure everything out until the very end.  Even if The Au Pair gets a little predictable, it's still an engrossing read that I could not put down.  This is Rous' first novel and I cannot wait to see what she does next!

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Carol Goodman and Kate Morton.  Also a little of In the Shadow of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, disturbing subject matter, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Au Pair from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. Oh yay! I was on the fence about reading this but will now. Great review!

    1. I really liked it. I'll be interested to see if you do as well.

  2. Ah yes...well, you had by the comparison to Carol Goodman. And I had been contemplating this one. If you were fooled a bit, it goes on my list. We'll see if I guess things or not. LOL

    1. I'm sure I'm way more gullible than you are :) I did enjoy this one and it did remind me of Carol Goodman's books a little bit. Let me know if you think the comparison is apt!

  3. I'm so glad to hear this one is good! It's on my list. :)

    1. I liked it. I'll be interested to see if you do, too!

  4. Gothic you say? Suspense, too! I'm in!

    P.S. Yesterday I finished reading The Weight of Lies - that was a wild ride! Creepy and kind of weird, too, but I enjoyed it!

    1. It feels Gothic to me, even though it's set in the summer and the house where the story takes place isn't really creepy. Still, there's a Gothic vibe, you know?

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! Carpenter's books can be a little weird, but I like them. THE WEIGHT OF LIES is my favorite of the bunch.

  5. This one sounds really good! And my mom was born in Norfolk so that's an extra bonus.

    1. Really? Very cool. Then you'll feel right at home with this book :)

  6. Ooh I love books like this! I recently read The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne and I think you might enjoy it too :-)

    1. I loved THE ICE TWINS! I haven't read Tremayne's other books, though. I should do that. Thanks for the reminder :)


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