The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware


This book took my quite a long time to complete and several tries. To be honest, I almost gave up on it as I was not very fond of the way it was written, but I finally finished it.

As I mentioned, I was not very fond of how this book was written. The format is done in the format of a letter written by Rowan to a lawyer that she is hoping will take her case. She previously had another lawyer who did not find that it would be helpful for her to tell her whole story, so this time she decided to write to a new lawyer who she was told could help her. The lawyer was known to help those whose case seemed most helpless, which hers was because she was being charged with the murder of one of the children she had been watching. Because it was written as a letter, there are a number of different places through out the story that Rowan is trying to tell where she stops to make a comment about her current situation or what she thinks the lawyer might be thinking or feeling at that time in the story.

Rowans story is quite long and it honestly took a very long time, towards the end of the book until it really starts to pick-up. It starts with Rowan at her job at Little Knickers, which is where she works prior to getting the nanny job. It then progresses step by step on how she found the nanny job, applied, interviewed, accepted, etc. 

The house that the Ellincourts live in that Rowan is going to stay at as a live-in Nanny, reminds me of the movie Smart House. If you are not familiar with the movie, it is a house that is built to be smart and to learn about its occupants as they stay there. It is a very highly tech savvy house. This is very similar to the the Ellincourts house as they are architects and interior designers who renovated an old house to be very tech savvy. Every aspect of the house is controlled by the Happy app and it has cameras in every room, including Rowan's room. The idea of being spied on 24/7 is unsettling and it was for Rowan as well. 

The character development was slow. It felt very drawn out and it is hard to connect with the characters at first. This is the case with the story itself as well. Towards the end of the book, it becomes easier to relate to Rowan and the stress that she is feeling with the children. I feel like it is almost more relatable during these times of our pandemic where we are all stuck at home with not much to do, very similar to what Rowan is experiencing. 

I happen to like a good supernatural story, not so much ones about ghosts though which is what I thought that this was going to be at first. I was wrong though. Once you get about 75% into the book, the pace of the book picks-up and so does the "supernatural" aspects of the book. If you spook easily, I would recommend possibly not reading this book late at night, which is what I was doing. 

As I approached the most integral part of the story, the death of of one of the children, you get to really start to feel like you know Rowan. You get to see how she was charged with murder. She is extremely stressed out due to the children and the home. She works with four difficult children, which vary in age from being a baby to a teenager. Each one of the children have their own personalities which shine very brightly in the story. You also get to really get to know the history of the house, it's previous owners, and how the other residents of the Scotland town view the home. 

I truly enjoyed the last 25% of the book. Learning the history of the previous owners and the home really helped to pick up the story. The mystery of the weird noises that Rowan was hearing being discovered. And so much more, I don't want to give too much away. However, I feel like the ending of the book was left unfinished. The ending provided a very unforeseen twist, which was quite a shocker. But whatever happened to Rowan and her case? I want to know.

Rating: I am giving this book a 2 out of 5. I'm giving it a two for a few different reasons. The first is how difficult that I found to get in the book and the format of the book was just not to my liking. Second reason, is that story was just too slow. I prefer a book that can hook you into it from the beginning of it. Third and last reason is that I am very disappointed by the ending and feel like the story was left hanging. 


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.


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