Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware was a much-anticipated read for me. My experience with her other books has been very hit and miss. While I did not enjoy Into the Dark, Dark Wood, or The Death of Mrs. Westaway, I loved The Woman in Cabin 10 and I enjoyed The Lying Game. Yes, I know I need to review more of these!
To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations for this book. I was hoping to love it but expecting not to. The first chapter had me intrigued but put off by the format – the story was being told in a letter from the protagonist to a lawyer. It wasn’t long until I was fully engrossed and in just two days I was finished. The final verdict: I actually loved it!
Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware Synopsis
“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 unraveling 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. Or 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.”Goodreads
What I Loved
Other than everything? Fine, I’ll be specific. The twists… one, in particular, BLEW MY MIND. I couldn’t have possibly predicted it if my life depended on it. It also came really unexpectedly and I was just flabbergasted. Even without it, the story was really interesting. All the characters were unique and I was constantly dying to find out more.
I watch a lot of horror movies and I prefer to skip the trailer so that I don’t get any spoilers. This results in me watching movies wondering if the enemy is supernatural or not. I rarely experience this mystery in books and this one does just that.
Finally, I don’t always connect with the characters I’m reading about too deeply. It’s not that I don’t care, but I’m rarely emotionally invested in them. Somehow, Ruth Ware made me actually care about Rowan and I could almost feel her fear. This made me love the book even more.
What I Didn’t Love
I can’t say nothing. So I guess I’ll have to nitpick. My husband Isaac gets annoyed with one of his favorite authors, Stephen King, for not researching certain things before writing about them. In his case it’s usually related to modern technology. Ruth Ware did the same thing in this book!
The owners of the house that Rowan is babysitting at are tech freaks. They are also super-rich. So naturally, they have a Tesla! Teslas are really cool and I wouldn’t know much about them either, except that my nerdy husband convinced us to buy one – and only because a more affordable version came out and there were many other incentives that made it worth it. (You can read about our Tesla here.)
Anyway, it wouldn’t have taken Ruth Ware much research to find out that Teslas don’t have engines and that you don’t dim the headlights manually. I may have actually facepalmed reading this. As I said, I loved this book and this is the only thing I could possibly complain about. But in all honestly, it did distract me from the story, so it’s a valid complaint.
I am so glad I stuck with Ruth Ware after two meh books, one okay book, and one bad ending to an absolutely amazing book. It has been quite the roller coaster ride and now I’m back in line at the theme park waiting patiently for her next book. You can grab a copy of Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware on Amazon. Her other books are listed below:
- The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
- The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
- In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
- The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
- One by One by Ruth Ware
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