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Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, The Turn of the Key is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.


I’ve read every single Ruth Ware for years now, ever since I found out how much I love her prose with The Lying Game. So, I was highly anticipating The Turn of the Key and grabbed it right away when it was available on Book of the Month in August 2019.

It turned out to be just an okay read for me. I struggled to connect with the first 100 or so pages of the novel when I listened to them via audiobook. I found the pacing, in the beginning, to be off and I struggled to pick it up. I put it down in August and only just picked up in January to finish the second half.

However, once I hit the half-way mark the mystery/suspense picked up. I found that the second half pacing was better executed and it had me hooked until the final page.

The writing style and the unreliable narrator reminded me of The Turn of the Screw (it clearly is a popular classic to adapt today with this, a movie, and a tv show happening). I just wish it had captivated me more at the very start.

I understand why people are loving The Turn of the Key because of the well-executed twists at the end. I did not see the main twist or the final twist at the end coming at all.

I recommend checking out this and other books by Ruth Ware.


3.5 Stars out of 5 Stars.


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