Friday, September 06, 2019

Hey Alexa, What do You Get When You Cross a Haunted Smart Home and an Unsuspecting Nanny With Secrets of Her Own?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ignoring everything she's ever heard about gigs that sound too good to be true, Londoner Rowan Caine accepts a position as a live-in nanny in the Scottish Highlands.  Lured by the promise of a ridiculously generous salary; the luxury of Heatherbrae House, a remote "smart" home that's rumored to be haunted; and the charm of her three young charges, who appear to be pleasant and well-behaved; the 27-year-old is so glad for the job that she doesn't ask too many questions.  After all, she doesn't want her new employers querying her too closely, now does she?  

At first, Rowan is relieved to be given almost complete autonomy in her new job.  Bill and Sandra Elincourt—busy professionals who run a family architecture business—are consumed by work and seem perfectly content to leave the care of their children in the hands of a virtual stranger.  When the couple takes off almost immediately after Rowan's arrival, leaving the nanny in charge for the foreseeable future, she's dismayed, then horrified.  Not only does Rowan have little idea how to run Heatherbrae House's smart features, but the place seems to have taken against her, turning on lights, locking doors, and blaring music at all hours.  The Elincourt children aren't any better with their tricks and tantrums.  As the situation grows increasingly out of control, a frantic Rowan becomes more and more panicked.  In over her head, she's desperate for help that's obviously not coming.  When push comes to shove, the unthinkable happens.  

Now Rowan's sitting in a Scottish prison pleading for someone—anyone—to believe in her innocence.  A child is dead; if Rowan isn't the killer, then who is?

I'm a fan of Ruth Ware's psychological suspense novels.  I love how they keep me feeling off-kilter throughout, never quite knowing what's real and what's not.  While her newest, The Turn of the Key, is not my favorite of hers, I still enjoyed it.  Despite a slower pace than her other books, this one still boasts an intriguing premise, a creepy, suspenseful vibe, and an engrossing plot, all of which kept me flying through the pages to see what would happen next.  If you dig compelling, slow-building (but still engaging) psychological thrillers, you'll definitely want to give this one a go.  It's an old-fashioned haunted house story with a fresh, modern twist to keep things interesting.    

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Other Mother by Carol Goodman and The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, mild sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Turn of the Key from the generous folks at Gallery/Scout Press via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!

6 comments:

  1. I haven't read this one yet, but it's on my list. :)

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  2. I've read all of Ruth Ware's books so far and looking forward to this one, too!

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  3. Great review Susan. I have read mixed reviews on this one, but it does sound like something I will enjoy. I am creeped out by Smart Houses, so that will get me right there.

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  4. Interesting premise. I've often wondered what would happen if all the smart-devices in my house decided to take over at the direction of someone sitting in an office at Google or Amazon headquarters. As a rather conservative person, it would be my worst nightmare to be under the control of someone working for either of those fine companies. LOL

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  5. I just began this book last night and have been hearing good things about it.

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  6. I, too, am looking forward to this one. Imogen Church narrates it on audio, as she does the other Ware books. She's great. So, I'll be listening to it in upcoming weeks.

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