book reviews

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (eARC) | A Reading, Reading, Reading Review

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Ruth Ware is one of the most well known mystery/thriller authors in the genre. She has written and published seven mystery/thriller novels, all of which have become hugely successful. Her newest novel, set to be released in September 2020, is already receiving high praise. I had never read a Ruth Ware novel before reading The Turn of the Key, her 2019 publication.

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

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.

Truthfully, I was very disappointed in this novel. I had expected great things from Ruth Ware, and this novel did not live up to the hype, in my opinion.

The pacing of this novel was very confusing. It was a quick read for me, but that could be because I am a fast reader in general (especially at a time like the one we are currently living in). However, I was very engrossed in the story and constantly wanted to know what was going on. I was genuinely scared at times, and had to flip my lights on during some chapters when I was getting creeped out – especially because I read this book over the span of two late nights!

Something I did enjoy was the writing style. This book is written in letters to a potential lawyer that Rowan, the protagonist, wants to use for her trial. She is essentially convincing him to come and help her case. However, I wish the letters were a bit shorter and more urgent sounding. It read as if she was just re-telling her side of the story, when in reality, I wish she would have done more convincing.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the ending. Believe it or not, at around the 75% mark, I saw it coming, but I enjoyed how Ruth Ware revealed it, and specifically how she wrote it. However, the main plot twist pertaining to the main character and the real reason why she applied to be their nanny I did not see coming at all!

I think what it came down to was the fact that I did not care about any of the characters. I am not someone who needs to read about likeable characters, in fact, I am a big fan of unreliable and unlikeable narrators. In this particular book, since I did not care about any of the characters, I found it hard to emotionally care about the plot line and the events that happened.

Overall, I gave this book a 2.25/5 stars. I do not understand all of the hype surrounding this novel, but I hope her 2020 release makes up for my thoughts on this one! Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending an eARC of this book my way!

Good Night Book Owls!

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