**Disclaimer: I received an advance reader’s copy of The Turn of the Key through NetGalley from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a mystery-thriller set in Scotland. It is written in a semi epistolary way, which was rather unique. The book releases on August 6th, 2019. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads.
Here’s the summary from GoodReads:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Lying Game, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway comes Ruth Ware’s highly anticipated fifth novel.
When Rowan stumbles across an ad for a live-in nanny, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—with a staggeringly generous salary. And when she arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” house fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What Rowan doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and Rowan in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, Rowan struggles to explain the unravelling events that have 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 children, 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.
Rowan 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.
Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
Ruth Ware is one of my all time favourite thriller authors, so I was beyond excited when I got the chance to read her newest book, The Turn of the Key. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and I was fully not disappointed!
I will admit that at the start of the book I wasn’t sure about it. It seemed like not a lot was happening and the atmosphere was really creeping me out and I kept picking it up when I was in bed and it was dark out, which meant I wasn’t reading a lot because I would get too freaked out to continue on in the story. However, once I got past the start of the book, I found myself having a hard time putting the book down.
I’m not sure what it is about Ruth Ware’s writing that really gets me, but she always seems to come through and get me hooked and devouring the story. This is definitely one of my favourite things she has written, though I haven’t read The Death of Mrs. Westaway yet.
When it came to The Turn of the Key, one of the things that made it really unique was the format. Having the protagonist write letters to a lawyer hoping he would help her, made for an interesting way of revealing the details of the story. The clues were there and it was so fascinating to watch the pieces all come together as the narrator revealed details to the lawyer she was hoping would help her. I was sceptical but so engaged in the story because I just needed to see what actually happened and how it all played out.
Ware has such a talent at making her protagonists not the most reliable characters while still making them interesting and almost empathetic? It’s weird to say that when the protagonist of this book has been accused of murdering a child, and maybe that’s not the best word. I guess it’s more sympathetic. The main character of this book was definitively not a good person, like seriously not great, but you can relate to the way that she acted as she was put into various situations. It probably wouldn’t be the same thing you might have done, I hope, but you can somewhat understand what might have pushed her to that point. Humans are quite flawed after all.
The atmosphere is one of the best parts of this story. The bulk of the setting of the book (when it comes to the content of the letters that is) is a remote mansion in Scotland. The house is weirdly technologically advanced and the juxtaposition of the technology and the remote locale is fascinating. The clash of those two things brought about the question of the supernatural, and whether the book was based in reality or was there something else at play.
My one criticism would be that it’s slow to start and it builds up gradually, but ultimately I think that this story needs that slow build, so I’m not even sure if I can fully criticize that aspect of the book. Besides, once you get over the initial hump, it’s hard to put down because you desperately need to know what happened. At least that’s how I felt.
In the end, I highly recommend this book, and when August 6th rolls around, I will definitely be picking up my own copy!