The Turn of the Key

The Turn of the Key

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...

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Title:The Turn of the Key
Author:Ruth Ware
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Edition Language:English

The Turn of the Key Reviews

  • Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill

    Gothic, creepy, a house with a hideous history...OMG yes please!! This was hands down my favorite book by Ruth Ware! All the stars for this one! I have read all her books except The Death of Mrs. Westaway (which is sitting here in my bookcase waiting to be read). Up until this point In a Dark Dark Wood was my favorite, but wow oh wow I loved this book.

    Four nannies in a year, umm okay people that should be a sign that there are some real problems at the Heatherbrae House. Granted the house has an

    Gothic, creepy, a house with a hideous history...OMG yes please!! This was hands down my favorite book by Ruth Ware! All the stars for this one! I have read all her books except The Death of Mrs. Westaway (which is sitting here in my bookcase waiting to be read). Up until this point In a Dark Dark Wood was my favorite, but wow oh wow I loved this book.

    Four nannies in a year, umm okay people that should be a sign that there are some real problems at the Heatherbrae House. Granted the house has an extensive history, I mean don't all old homes? That is what Rowan told herself when she applied for the job. Okay Rowan, you just keep telling yourself that. Drawn in by the generous salary and the gorgeous home she decided to roll the dice and try out the job, even with the history of previous nannies not being able to cut it. Were the the rumors true that the house was haunted? Is that what caused them to leave so quickly? Or was it the somewhat difficult children that they were entrusted to? I began to wonder if it was Sandra and Bill Elincourt whom appeared to be a bit challenging to deal with in themselves.

    I tell you what, there is no way I would have spent numerous nights in this house like Rowan did. I was completely creeped out as nightfall hit each evening. Things were happening and they appeared to be supernatural. Given the history of this home, there is no doubt that is what would be running through my mind if I were staying there. Add to it this "smart house" with all the amazing, yet creepy features. That would drive me mad in itself. If I were Rowan I would be concerned that my employers were watching my every move, meaning that someone else could be too.

    I have read some reviews that said this was a slow start or slow moving book but not for me! I was sucked in from the very first page. This was a really fast pace for me and I couldn't put it down. I read this late into the night. I am really looking forward to what Ware is going to come up with next. I read this with a group of fellow Traveling Sisters! It made for a fantastic group read.

    Thank you so much to Gallery/Scout Press for this ARC I received via Edelweiss. I LOVED it!! Thanks you to Ruth Ware for another fantastic book!

  • Chelsea Humphrey

    And so begins our tale. I'm sure that, unless you've been walking around with your eyes closed and your ears plugged up, you've

    And so begins our tale. I'm sure that, unless you've been walking around with your eyes closed and your ears plugged up, you've caught wind of this upcoming release, but if not let me give you a brief introduction.

    is a compulsive tale of a nanny sitting in jail awaiting trial for the murder of one of her charges. The entire book is told through letters from said nanny to a potential solicitor, recalling the events leading up to her incarceration, along with a few surprise notes at the end. The basic jist of events is that we begin with Rowan answering an advertisement for a nannying position in the Scottish countryside. The catch is that this particular household has been through 4 nannies in less than a year, and the reasons behind this are murkily associated to legends of the estate being haunted. Shenanigans ensue, all hell breaks loose, and much havoc is played out over the course of the book.

    As someone who has taken time to warm to Ware's novels over the year, I think she's found her niche in the gothic suspense genre. I truly enjoyed Mrs. Westaway, and I believe

    is her best novel yet. The pacing was 100% what I was praying for, and the creepy elements, such as the locked closet, the poison garden, and the smart home with little to no privacy, were all excellent inclusions and flawlessly executed.

    I found that even the supporting characters, especially Jack and Jean, were just as intriguing as Rowan was. My only complaint was with the ending; it felt like a bit of a let down after such a large build up, and even though it worked, it felt like the easy ending to take. The twists may or may not surprise you; I felt that I had most of them figured out, but there were a few smaller twists that took me completely by surprise, which I wholly appreciated. If you're looking for a creepy, character driven psychological thriller that will keep you thrilled and chilled from beginning to end, definitely add

    to your late summer TBR!

  • Meredith

    When Rowan, a young nanny who lives in London, comes across for an ad seeking a nanny to live in a remote area of Scotland, it sounds too good to be true. The pay is high, the house is beautiful, and the family seems lovely. She is warned that previous nannies have quit due to the house being haunted. Rowan doesn’t believe in ghosts, so she pays no heed to the warning. She is hired for the position and packs

    When Rowan, a young nanny who lives in London, comes across for an ad seeking a nanny to live in a remote area of Scotland, it sounds too good to be true. The pay is high, the house is beautiful, and the family seems lovely. She is warned that previous nannies have quit due to the house being haunted. Rowan doesn’t believe in ghosts, so she pays no heed to the warning. She is hired for the position and packs up her life in London and moves to remote Scotland. But what is beautiful on the surface is hiding deep dark secrets.

    One of my favorite things about The Turn of the Key is the house which is named Heatherbrae. Equipped with state of the art technology (the whole house runs off an app), it takes on a life of its own. Juxtaposed with Victorian architecture and Gothic feel, Heatherbrae adds another layer to

    is told only through Rowan’s eyes, as she shares what led to her arrest through a series of letters to a solicitor. Rowan is an unreliable narrator and the reader must contend with a lot of telling. While this type of narrative style usually irks me, I found that it works in this case as Rowan provides a detailed account of her time at Heatherbrae. One just needs to continue to question whether or not her version of events is accurate.

    There are some twists as well some red herrings thrown in for good measure. I guessed many of the smaller twists, but I completely missed the most significant twist. And I was looking for it! Sadly, my detective skills failed. This twist added an additional layer and made me want to reread from the beginning. The ending felt a bit rushed and I could have done without the final letter. I would rather have been left guessing than be told a less than satisfying conclusion to Rowan’s story.

    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Debra

    3.5 stars rounded up to a 4

    While looking for something else, she comes across an ad for a live in Nanny post in the Scottish Highlands. The salary, the location, all seem too good to be true, but she decides to take a chance and apply for the position. When Rowan Caine begins her job, she had no idea that things would go so horribly wrong or that a child would die, and she would be in prison awaiting trial for murder.

    This book is her letter to a potential lawyer. She is writing to him explaining

    3.5 stars rounded up to a 4

    While looking for something else, she comes across an ad for a live in Nanny post in the Scottish Highlands. The salary, the location, all seem too good to be true, but she decides to take a chance and apply for the position. When Rowan Caine begins her job, she had no idea that things would go so horribly wrong or that a child would die, and she would be in prison awaiting trial for murder.

    This book is her letter to a potential lawyer. She is writing to him explaining the events which lead up to the child's death. The strange occurrences at the home, the noises, the malfunctioning smart system, the length of time she was left alone with the children, etc.

    There are some twists and turns and of course, I had several theories. What were those noises, is the house haunted, why have so many Nanny's quickly quit this position in the past, is she losing her mind, etc. What is real and what isn't. Is she telling the truth? Is she truly innocent? A child is dead, if she didn’t kill her, then how did she die?

    I have to say that I did not see many of the twists and turns coming. The second half of the book picks up speed, so if you feel the beginning is slow, hang in there. Things do get interesting. By the time I got to the ending, I was still guessing. One reveal was shocking to me, the other was not. But overall, it didn't matter. I enjoyed the book. It's not my favorite book by this Author, but still an enjoyable read that entertained, had me coming up with theories, and left me wanting just a little bit more. I especially wanted more suspense. There is a lot of build up about what the Nanny is experiencing and I wanted there to be more of a shocking conclusion. I felt a little let down. This is a book where I really wanted an epilogue. I also wanted just a little more suspense here. Fans of Ruth Ware will not be disappointed.

    This was a Traveling Sisters Group Read.

    Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinion are my own.

  • Peter

    is an unnerving story told by a murder suspect as she recounts the background and incidents leading to the death of a child while she was its nanny. Rowan Caine is the nanny and she is writing the story in the form of a letter to a solicitor, Mr Wrexham, requesting his services to defend her. Within the story, there are periodic passages where she speaks directly to Mr Wrexham outlining how her story may be considered and continuously stating her innocence, no matter

    is an unnerving story told by a murder suspect as she recounts the background and incidents leading to the death of a child while she was its nanny. Rowan Caine is the nanny and she is writing the story in the form of a letter to a solicitor, Mr Wrexham, requesting his services to defend her. Within the story, there are periodic passages where she speaks directly to Mr Wrexham outlining how her story may be considered and continuously stating her innocence, no matter how the evidence looks. As a technique, it was used to remind the reader that this is only one account and perhaps a very unbalanced and disconcerting version, but I felt it slightly distracting on more than one occasion.

    Rowan applies for the nanny position with Sandra and Bill Elincourt, and their 4 daughters ranging from 18 months to 14 years old. The family live in a remote part of Scotland in a house that jolts between new and old. The Victorian architecture of the building clashes abruptly with the high-tech sensor and communication technology that controls features throughout the house. Door access, lighting, heating, curtains, music and room-to-room communications all offer an opportunity to mix faulty operation, malicious intent and/or paranormal interference. Before Rowan has even taken up the position, young Maddie warns her not to come as the

    There is a theme of uncertainty littered throughout the story, from the reliability of the accused’s narration to the contrary characters and the split personality of the house itself. Everything that happens is projected through the house and so many nannies have previously left feeling threatened as the house could be harbouring something sinister. With so many flawed characters it often adds to more realistic personalities and relationships, but in this case, I found it difficult to empathise and connect with any character as their personalities were all disagreeable and distant.

    Sandra and Bill are partners in their own architectural business and constantly travel. In fact, they first leave Rowan alone with the children only 2 days after she starts. Rowan has at best embellished her CV and feels the struggle to maintain the professional image she created and wrestles with bubbling anger that threatens to spill over into how she deals with the children, especially as they continuously test her resolve.

    The plot sets up various possible routes and each offers equal plausibility and opportunity. There is a final twist that I didn’t expect and that deserves a lot of credit as it wasn’t even on my radar.

    The Victorian Smart house, mixed with a dark history, provides a unique canvas to play out a family constantly in flux as nannies are forced to leave until one nanny puts up a battle and a child dies. I felt the pace of the book was slow but the main disappointment was that the characters didn’t cry out to be championed. I would rate 3.5 stars but still recommend the book and I’d like to thank Gallery/Scout Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.

  • Paromjit

    This is Ruth Ware's latest offering, a chiller of a psychological thriller with its central protagonist, 24 year old Rowan Caine working in childcare in London. She is looking for another post when she come across an incredible job as a live in Nanny for the Elincourt family, the parents Bill and Sandra are architects, living in the remote Scottish Highlands, and the pay for the post is unbelievable. If there is one thing you should beware of, it is that if a job sounds to be too good to be true

    This is Ruth Ware's latest offering, a chiller of a psychological thriller with its central protagonist, 24 year old Rowan Caine working in childcare in London. She is looking for another post when she come across an incredible job as a live in Nanny for the Elincourt family, the parents Bill and Sandra are architects, living in the remote Scottish Highlands, and the pay for the post is unbelievable. If there is one thing you should beware of, it is that if a job sounds to be too good to be true, then it is, something Rowan is to discover to her cost. At her weekend interview, young Maddie warns Rowan to not take the job, and it seems other nannies employed have left abruptly. The Elincourts have four children from 18 months to 14 years old, a heavy burden of responsibility for Rowan, especially as she is left almost immediately as their sole carer with the parents travelling so often, and it is no exaggeration to say that they are a real handful.

    Heatherbrae House itself is a jarring blend of Victorian with all the tech that makes it a smart home, with cameras everywhere and a handy man, Jack, is employed. Strange and eerie happenings create a creepy, menacing and ghostly atmosphere within Heatherbrae, and a litany of incidents culminate in the murder of a child. Rowan is languishing in prison awaiting her trial for the murder, concerned with her legal representation, and writing a letter to a solicitor, Mr Wrexham, proclaiming her innocence of the crime she has been charged with and laying out the circumstances which have led to her present ghastly predicament. She admits to not always being the perfect nanny and true to form with this genre, she is an unreliable narrator and the characters are almost universally dislikeable. This is an intense story of many twists, small and big, slow in pace, and where you are going to have to suspend your sense of disbelief on occasion. The premise of the novel held my interest, although this is far from my favourite Ware book. Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC.

  • Susanne  Strong

    4 Stars

    I have been waiting YEARS for this day! Yep.. you heard that right! Years! My first read by Ruth Ware was “A Woman in Cabin 10” and I loved it. Ever since then I have been continually disappointed by each successive book of hers that was published. I was beginning to think she’d lost her touch but nope!

    So what’s it ab

    4 Stars

    I have been waiting YEARS for this day! Yep.. you heard that right! Years! My first read by Ruth Ware was “A Woman in Cabin 10” and I loved it. Ever since then I have been continually disappointed by each successive book of hers that was published. I was beginning to think she’d lost her touch but nope!

    So what’s it about? I’m afraid you must grab a copy and turn the pages to find out.

    What I can tell you is that the characters are highly intriguing though admittedly, lots of questionable activities take place. Shocking! Ha! The parents also made me raise an eyebrow.., or two! There were lots of twists and turns to this novel and many had me in knots. While I guessed part of the ending, I was so highly engrossed in the intricacies of the storyline that it hardly mattered.

    This is a novel for the mystery/suspense lovers in all of us. I listened to the audiobook with narrator Imogen Church (who is phenomenal) and she truly brought the novel to life. If you’re looking for your next thriller, look no further.

    Published on Goodreads on 8.8.19

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    Four okay I loved it, it freaked me out, gave me enough chills, my all nails are shorter, oh wait a second I don’t have nails anymore and my arms are covered with stress bites, my hair is in the air, you made a great job Ruth Ware, I wanted to clap but my hands are still shaking stars!!!

    Lalalala here's my 200th book of this year!

    Look what we have on the menu:

    -A naïve nanny who has little secrets is now in the jail, waiting for murder trail.

    -Creepy Victorian haunted house: A big surrounded by a

    Four okay I loved it, it freaked me out, gave me enough chills, my all nails are shorter, oh wait a second I don’t have nails anymore and my arms are covered with stress bites, my hair is in the air, you made a great job Ruth Ware, I wanted to clap but my hands are still shaking stars!!!

    Lalalala here's my 200th book of this year!

    Look what we have on the menu:

    -A naïve nanny who has little secrets is now in the jail, waiting for murder trail.

    -Creepy Victorian haunted house: A big surrounded by an eerie, ominous secret garden which is full of poisonous flowers served with charming Scottish gardener/handyman Jack

    - Three problem children and a baby (like 80’s movie name, but please be sure this is not comedy): Maddie’s irritating behaviors stood between Regan from Exorcist acted like she’s embodied by devil( at least she didn’t do the terrifying head spinning) and Hereditary’s Charlie ( At least her head didn’t cut out of her body with a car accident)!

    Her little sister Ellie was not evil child but she was just annoying, spoiled, noisy meant she was regular 5 years old kid  Both of the girls come together, you hear the alarm bells ringing!

    - A sinister 14 year old sister joins the evil sisters club on the weekends: Another meaner member of awkward family. They start to resemble “Addams” right? Nope, Addams family members are cartoon characters when you compare them with these nerve-racking people.

    - A workaholic, snob, show-off mother and he’s flirty husband gives you his perverted looks! The bad apples didn’t fall from the tree. I still don’t know if the parents or the children were worse? PARENTS got the scores and won the game.

    -Creaking floors, secret attics, ghost stories, runaway nannies! And BAAMM: we have a death child.

    So before you order your book and feed yourself with the disturbing, riveting pages of the story, ask yourself, could you absorb all of these or could goose bumps on your arms and aching on your stomach force you to vomit because of too much pressure and stressful pages?

    If you say: “I’m in!” , I recommend you to consume it with lighter foods( greasy popcorn is not a good option especially at the parts you’re introduced porcelain version of Annabelle baby’s head who could cut and make you bleed!) non-alcoholic beverages( that was real challenge for me! But more Chardonnay meant lack of concentration. You need to be full alert to enjoy the story.)

    So it’s great combination of modern and gothic horror materials. There are too many disturbing characters but it worked perfectly with this well-rounded story telling.

    And the ending: It was nice touch! Every little detail in this book is important so you have to give full attention for great satisfaction!

    It’s fast pacing, one or two sit reading. Sip your soda (preferably didn’t contain any high fructose corn syrup), lay on your favorite couch, silence your loved ones and begin to enjoy this book! It’s one of the best thrillers of this year!

  • Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)

    ***NOW AVAILABLE***

    I have read and enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s books, therefore I was incredibly excited to be fortunate enough to receive an early review copy of The Turn of the Key. Being a fan of the author, it is very hard to write a review about a book that just didn’t WOW me. This was a good but I wouldn’t say great read.

    I have recently read several books where we know what happens, what the “big tell” is at the beginning of the novel. We then work through the past events and how we got t

    ***NOW AVAILABLE***

    I have read and enjoyed all of Ruth Ware’s books, therefore I was incredibly excited to be fortunate enough to receive an early review copy of The Turn of the Key. Being a fan of the author, it is very hard to write a review about a book that just didn’t WOW me. This was a good but I wouldn’t say great read.

    I have recently read several books where we know what happens, what the “big tell” is at the beginning of the novel. We then work through the past events and how we got to this ending. This style just doesn’t work for me, I like to feel a lot of tension and excitement in mysteries/thrillers and I just don’t experience that when I know the ending, it takes that part of the surprise and tension away. This may just be me, there are many 5 star reviews for this book.

    First off, this is definitely a slow burn type of mystery, in fact I think I was at 75% on my kindle before I was turning pages quickly. There is an element of "ghosts" or the supernatural which helps to move the story along and kept my interest.

    From the blurb you know that there is a creepy, “smart house” and I felt as though that would be a large part of the excitement in the book, unfortunately after much is explained about how the controls are all used, etc., the house doesn’t really play that large of a part in the story. The idea and descriptions of the smart house reminded me of a few other books written about the smart house which “takes over”, does horrible things, etc . I really thought the house was going to be one of the primary elements in the crime, was it????

    Rowan is the main character, the nanny, and I quickly starting thinking that something was not quite right about her. Right from the start it seems that Rowan is out of her element and these kids are not at all what she was expecting. She is also left with the four children, one a toddler, only 18 months old, alone for many nights while the parents are away at a meeting of some sort. What does this tell us about the parents? The teenage daughter comes home from her weekly boarding school and immediately begins to give Rowan trouble, from her attitude and actions including talking down to Rowan and sneaking out several times with a much older man. . Rowan fails to contact the parents immediately as she certainly should have.

    A lot of the book is about taking care of the kids, we are taken along on picnics and other outings but don’t really get to know the kids. The only really well developed character is Rowan and I found her rather ordinary when I was hoping for something more This is a part where the plot gets bogged down, for me, the everyday taking care of the kids and descriptions of dinners and baths. It is pretty clear that although Rowan likes the kids, this isn’t something she wants to continue to do with her life. Why did Rowan actually take this job then, and was her CV spot on????

    There is a driver/ handyman named Jack who may or may not be a good guy. He is the book as a possible romantic interest for Rowan, it seems every book must have one.

    I think that it comes down to the characters in this novel. I just didn’t like any of them. I also would have liked to know more about the parents, as a couple. We do find out more about Bill but the children could have been more well described.

    I think that Ruth Ware will continue to be one of my favorite writers, this book however wasn’t one of my favorites, I’m sure that it will find it’s audience. I would describe this as a well written, enjoyable mystery with plenty of twists to keep you reading.

    I received a ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.

  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    This is my third book by the author so by this point I know she's great at creating an atmosphere, a creepy ambiance.

    New nanny working for a family living in a remote house in Scotland. Past nannies leaving after the house seems haunted with its dark history and secrets... you get it.

    It was interesting, even a bit unique since the main character wasn't likeable and that the format is through letters she's writing to a lawyer from prison since she's accused of murdering one of the child in her c

    This is my third book by the author so by this point I know she's great at creating an atmosphere, a creepy ambiance.

    New nanny working for a family living in a remote house in Scotland. Past nannies leaving after the house seems haunted with its dark history and secrets... you get it.

    It was interesting, even a bit unique since the main character wasn't likeable and that the format is through letters she's writing to a lawyer from prison since she's accused of murdering one of the child in her care...

    The ending was a bit lukewarm in my opinion but I can't wait to see how others feel about it all!

    If you're looking for a quick read for the fall and have liked her other books, I would recommend.

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