I've been in a few little book slumps. They'll last for a day or so.
Which probably seems ridiculous but I pretty much read every day. Yesterday during my bubble bath I just got on housewives forums to read. I don't even watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills...but I can name the cast members now. My guilty pleasure is the New Jersey one (not sure why to be honest...) and Potomac. Potomac's great.
This past weekend I've been sorting my clothes. My house has a tiiiiiiiny closet and no storage space. I've decided it's time to KonMari it again and give myself a work uniform. Also, I'm finally going to figure out how to store this all and do a closet makeover. My taste runs a bit closer to a gothic Versailles (I know) so I'm looking for inspiration on decoration that's more stated but still bold and fun. I stumbled on Signed, Blake's website where she details how she uses removable wallpaper. Which, somehow (even when buying it) I've missed that it was a thing. I loved her bedroom (it's a moody lux that I can get behind). Granted, my comforter set that I just got is...not moody. I'll figure it out.
I was super inspired by the closet design/remodel she did because that's kinda what I'm thinking about doing with mine. Pretty wallpaper, nice system and super organized. It'll be a goal. Except my closet is more like...a tiny box. You can take one or two steps into it. I'll figure it out. Hopefully.
Right, on to Ruth. I have bought four of Ruth's book (well, three and one came in a subscription box). I have liked one (this one), thought one was super dry and DNFed it and....not read the other two yet. So we're 50/50. That probably doesn't seem like high praise. I don't really love suspense/thriller books (usually I need a rampaging serial killer/hot FBI tie in, romance, mystery etc. to keep me going) as I find them really aggravating. I don't like being anxious while reading! So the fact that I liked this one I think means that Ruth Ware is quite a good author. I just don't like thrillers or suspense-thrillers. Yet...we beat on.
I sat down and read this in a few hours over the weekend.
Title: The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Page Number: 337 (hardcover)
Genre: thriller, mystery, fiction
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster
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.
I did guess as to who died and why/how because their are some hints dropped that hit me like a bomb. I was still slightly in shock at the end when it was confirmed because it leaves it a bit open ended. Character wise, there are a lot of secrets that get revealed as the book progresses (the hot but secretive handyman), the two children who sabotage Rowan and each other, the teenager that doesn't come home.
The actual ending, where all the secrets are laid bare, felt quite rushed and ambiguous. I suppose it's not that open-ended but it wasn't as settled as I'd like. I've read a few other open ended books, one drove me crazy and one I liked because I thought it was a brave decision. This book left me a little upset. I felt that it didn't make sense. I guess because I assume one of the ones (with important information) will be read. I guess it doesn't mean that anyone would do anything with that but still.
It is very much in the turn (possibly heavily inspired by) Henry James' Turn of the Screw. Ware's strength hearkens back to James' here in that the atmosphere of the book is really quite well done. The house in Ware's book is honestly creepy. All the AI and technology in the smart home easily goes from happy to evil (it's even named 'Happy', which turns ominous fast).
There is a poison garden in the estate proper...which I thought was kinda neat. I went to one in the UK (Alnwick Poison Gardens. Which is not pronounced All-n-wick like you'd think. NPR has a story on it if that's of interest.) and I know I've been to a smaller one in America (it was technically a private one). I know there's one in Ireland as well (Blarney Castle). Fun times!
A chapter excerpt can be found on Ruth Ware's website. As well as an audiobook sample (supposedly really well done according to the reviews but I have not listened to it).
Simon and Schuster has the same as Ware's website, plus the reading guide for the book.
NPR: We're All Haunted In "The Turn of the Key", book review
Crime by the Book: Guide to Ruth Ware's thrillers
Crime By the Book: Author chat with Ruth Ware (via Instagram)