"The Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware; Scout Press (336 pages, $27.99)
A fetching advertisement for a well-paid nanny in a posh, remote home in the Scottish Highlands captures our main character's attention. Now working in a thankless day-care environment in sodden London, she carefully crafts a stellar resume, draws up her courage and applies.
By the first few pages of the book, we know that Rowan has been accepted as the rich Elincourts' new nanny. We learn that other au pairs have fled the estate after a very short time, leaving the family desperate for a stable influence for their three wild children. And we learn that, in Rowan's early weeks on the job, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
A child is dead. Rowan is imprisoned. And her story is told as a flashback to an attorney whom she is begging to take her case.
Ruth Ware has spun a complex narrative - part ghost story, part deception thriller and part revenge tale laced with a longing for love and acceptance. This novel follows her first four successful psychological dramas with the same immersive writing, clever characters and delicious plot surprises. Readers think the story is headed one way only to be jerked back on course with a startling reveal. And this goes on and on with whiplash succession.
Stick with this one. Ware always saves the best for the end.
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