REVIEW: THE TURN OF THE KEY, BY RUTH WARE

 

 

 

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 events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the home’s cameras, 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.

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—but somebody is.

 
 
 
 

A spooky, surreal setting that had me anxious from the very beginning, The Turn of the Key had me questioning everything that happened. From the parents to the children to the “Smart House,” this story kept me guessing until the end.

I knew that Rowan Caine had told some little lies to get the job, but she certainly didn’t deserve all the events that unfolded in that eerie house in Scotland. Or did she?

First of all, how could she be the perfect nanny in a house in the middle of nowhere, with cameras pointed at her from every room? Cameras that seemingly triggered weird sounds and strange creaks in the night?

The children were weird and sneaky, and the parents, calling from unknown places, seemed overly strange, if not nefarious.

But when some of the details of “Rowan’s” life became clear to the reader, everything intensified.

Not knowing what would happen next kept me turning the pages until the shocking end. 4.5 stars.

 
***