Monday, October 21, 2019

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Reviewed by Christy

            After being passed over for a promotion at the preschool where she works, Rowan Caine is ready for a change of scenery. When she sees an ad for a live-in nanny offering a sizable income, she jumps at the opportunity. The fact that this particular family has been through four nannies in a short amount of time doesn’t deter her, neither does talk of ghosts. Rowan is not the superstitious type, and once she gets a look at the beautiful Victorian home where she’ll be living there’s no turning back for her.
            But this is no ordinary Victorian house. Her employers have decked it out in all the latest technology – effectively making it a “smart” home. This includes light fixtures controlled by tablets, cameras in the children’s bedrooms, intercoms throughout the house her employers can “call” from their cell phones in order to check in while they are away. Without so much as a warning, Rowan’s boss can begin conversing with her through speakers. All this tech gives Rowan a “watched” feeling that she can’t seem to shake unless she’s alone in her bedroom – and sometimes not even then.
            The Turn of the Key is a familiar gothic-style story with a nice little modern twist. I hate the idea of virtual assistants like Alexa being used in the home at all so the idea of smart devices possibly going haywire was extra chilling to me. However, Rowan can’t figure out if it’s just faulty electronics or something supernatural. Why did all those nannies just up and leave?
            I don’t think this novel is ground-breaking or anything but it’s fun with lots of little twists, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know that I ever fully connected with Rowan but I was fine with that. However, I did, at varying points, feel myself getting a little stressed out for her because I just do not know what I’d do in her situation.
I think Ware missed an opportunity to set this novel during autumn because it definitely has that cozy, autumn vibe –spooky, isolated setting that would best be enjoyed with a hot drink and comfy blanket. Though Ware is a popular author this is the first book I’ve read of hers, and I’m excited to browse her body of work.

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