[ARC Review] The Turn of the Key – Book Review

By Ruth Ware
Published on: August 6, 2019

Loved it! Completely loved it! The Turn of the Key is a thoroughly absorbing tale full of just the right combination of creepiness, mystery and suspense in this new modern gothic mystery.


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.


The story is told through letters Rowan has written to a new lawyer she hopes to win over to her side by explaining the child’s death. She believes that if she can just fully explain everything then perhaps he can help her out of a potential murder conviction. What starts it all is her application to become a nanny in a remote part of Scotland. The family is seemingly perfect with an incredible smart home and Rowan is more than happy to accept the position. Even though the previous nannies haven’t stayed long at all, she brushes off the warning signs and is determined to make this work and love the children. Soon, little things begin to happen that she can’t explain as the mystery starts to unfold.

The unfortunate thing about a review on a mystery/suspense story is you can’t really say too much without potentially spoiling something. What I will say is that I was engrossed in the story so much that I read the majority of it in one day. I also can say that going into the last pages, I still didn’t have any of my theories completely nailed down. And if you’re lucky like me, you’ll get to read it during a long Saturday morning thunderstorm with dark skies that just adds to the ambience of it all.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Gallery, Pocket Books for this advanced copy and the opportunity to provide my honest review.

Rating:  5 stars

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