I should have known it was too good to be true.
Published: Expected August 6, 2019
Publisher: Scout Press
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
Series: N/A – Standalone
Someone in this house, someone or something, was driving the nannies away, in a deliberate and sustained campaign of persecution.
When she stumbles across the advert, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss: a live-in nanny position, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan 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 her in a cell awaiting trial for murder.
She knows she’s made mistakes. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty – at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.
Before we start, I need to say a huge thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for approving me for this ARC! As soon as I saw they were out I requested a copy and I’m so so happy I got it!
Welp, it seems I have done it again. I’ve fallen into what I’ve since termed the “Ware Trap”.
At this point, I’ve read all but one of her novels, and I have to admit that this is my second favorite of hers, the first being The Woman in Cabin 10. It always turns out that I end up loving her writing and atmospheric novels but the ‘thriller’ or ‘mystery’ aspect always falls short, aside from The Woman in Cabin 10, of course. Which I can’t rave about enough, even two years later. So, while I went into this skeptical and excited at the same time, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised!
First of all, this book was spooky as shit. I mean, there was a morning where I was sitting on my couch, reading this and sipping coffee and I was scared. Like, my fridge kicked on and I nearly screamed. I can’t praise the spookiness of this enough! Her other novels are atmospheric, that’s for sure, but this one was downright scary. I loved loved loved it. 5/5 when it comes to the spook factor. The home and grounds and nearly empty town were the perfect setting for this, too. The house has a tragic backstory and is full of shadows and sharp angles, the grounds are equally beautiful and dangerous. I loved the setting and tone of this novel, for sure.
Now that we know the atmosphere is there, let’s talk characters. I want to touch on one thing here; this is very much an unreliable narrator scenario. We’re not sure if she’s a murderer, what her secrets are, if she’s crazy, etc. It adds another interesting aspect to this novel that is really addictive. Furthermore, the main characters in this novel really consists of the children that Rowan is nannying, which is another interesting aspect. That being said, the kids are so annoying and I’m convinced I’m never having children after reading this. Every single character in this novel is suspect; they jump from happy to angry and pop up and disappear unexpectedly and it’s basically CLUE in the way that anything can happen.
Atmosphere? Check. Setting? Check. Characters? Double check. What else is there? Plot!
The novel starts out as a series of letters from an imprisoned Rowan to an attorney she’s hoping to hire. It seems she was arrested for the murder of a little girl, which one assumes was one of her wards. I’m not going to go in depth here because that would be rude of me to fully dissect a mystery like this one, but all I can saw is WOW. I was with it right up to the very end. There were twists and turns aplenty that I didn’t see coming. My only drawback here is that we don’t get any solid closure. This seems to be sort of a theme with thrillers lately, but we’re certainly left with questions that I wish with all my heart had been answered.
In conclusion, I really do love Ruth Ware as an author and will probably continue to read her novels as they come out. This wasn’t a home run for me the way The Woman in Cabin 10 was, but this was certainly the next best novel for me!
P.S. here are all the links to the other reviews I’ve done for Ruth Ware’s novels!
P.P.S. some of these reviews are older, so the formatting is different! Just be aware!