#59 The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

When Rowan comes across the advert, it seems too good to be true: a live-in nanny position, with an extremely generous salary.

What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare – one that will end with her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.

She knows she’s made mistakes.
But she’s not guilty – at least not of murder.
Which means someone else is…

Paperback | 340 pages

Publisher: Vintage (2nd April, 2020)

Read: 3rd August

Target Audience: Adult, thriller.

I’ve actually wanted to read this book for ages. It was a book I had planned to read in 2019, but never managed to get around to it. I’d heard many good things about this book and the blurb made it sound like a book that was right up my alley. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Now, here’s where I get a little disappointed. I’ve read this style of book before, where the narrative is being told to another person. The book that comes to mind is ‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell. However, with ‘The Corset’ I found myself immediately pushed into the story but after having read the first couple of chapters here, I feel there is too much information and not enough propelling the book forward.

However, I am only on page 151 as I read this, and I will reserve judgement until I reach the end of the book.

This book is easy to read but it feels like it’s more difficult because of the overload of information. I understand the story that is being told but I also recognise that this needs a driving force and I just don’t see it yet.

As the character who controls the POV throughout the book, Rowan was the one that I knew the most about. I did find her character a little stereotypical in terms of the ‘weak female in a horror film’. Though my opinion of her changed, I kept the ‘horror film’ perception for half of the book. I did feel that all the characters were intertwined and that they all brought something positive to the story being told.

I was most interested in Maddie as a character because she was the one behaving abnormally and the one shrouded in mystery. I thought her character had a very compelling nature and I was drawn to her more than I was drawn to any other character.

Sandra was so pro smart house that I wondered what had happened to her early in her life. That level of paranoia and the detail in her instruction booklet spoke of a woman who had never considered that she might need some help. Seeing Rowan interact with the house and Sandra made me feel both anxious and suspicious. I thought of Sandra as a ditzy mother with a secret past but as I read on, I realised there was so much more to her character and that she was actually more dimensional than I’d first anticipated.

Knowing Bill only from Rowan’s perspective, he did creep me out. I saw him as a silent character that didn’t have much of an active role and yet was still someone who made an impact and had a voice.

Jack was a nice addition. I enjoyed the developing social interactions between him, and Rowan and he also provided a different opinion of what happened. He acted as a witness to Rowan’s changing moods and behaviour.

There was a strange dynamic to the children which at times sent shivers up my spine. It was quite a clever way of writing because it seems to be one step ahead of me every time but yet it still offered me enough information to theorise what was going to happen.

This was easy to visualise, despite there being a fair amount of characters, the scenes weren’t that complex and most of the story centred around the house and gardens. It was easy to visualise those places and put the characters into play there.

– I did have to stop myself from skim reading a couple of times. There were moments throughout the book which just had too much information in them and that weighed down pages in an oppressive way. There is always a curse with books of being over or under with information and there was definitely a tad too much information in this book. It made it more difficult to stay entertained and interested in the book.

Originally, I was going to read this book in one setting, because I thought it was going to be one of those ‘unable to put down’ books. It was slightly disappointing that I didn’t get feeling from this book and I ended up reading it in chunks because I found that by doing that, I could keep myself focused and interested in what I was reading.

My expectations of this book were definitely higher than what I read. I should have taken more care to see the reviews by other authors on the front cover of the book.

‘Compelling’ says Lisa Jewell.

‘Addictive’ says Shari Lapena.

I don’t like either of those authors. I’ve tried reading their works before, but I just don’t like their styles of writing and I can’t get into their books. I should have taken their reviews into consideration and realised that maybe I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much. However, I’m a big believer of making my own opinion of things and I feel like this is a book that needs to be read.

I don’t feel disappointed in having read the book. I don’t feel like I made the wrong decision in reading it.

I did enjoy reading this, regardless of what I’ve said above. It wasn’t a five-star read but it wasn’t a one star either. There were a lot of parts of this book that I greatly enjoyed. There were bits that felt too similar to other books I’ve read but there were many elements in this book that were woven together to create a picturesque portrait of a story to be told.

I think books like ‘The Turn of the Key’ run along a tightrope of narrative. You have to really be at home on that tightrope to enjoy all aspects of this book. I feel like I started on that tightrope but perhaps had a wobble halfway through and fell off.

This is a good book, it’s just not my kind of good book.

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