Ruth Ware is very distinguished thriller writer, firmly on my go-to-author list because I’ve enjoyed all her books I’ve read so far. My edition of this book was published in the UK in April 2020, and in April 2020 the social media world went mad over this book. The actual world was going slightly mad itself and so it seemed a rather apt time to have such a frenzy, but it was warranted… because this book is so creepily brilliant and will drive you mad with mystery as you read it.
I watched an Instagram live Q&A with Ruth during my furlough time off, and she talked about her inspiration being loosely based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (which I’ve not read), so I was going into this book blind with no precursors. And, I’m glad to say that I didn’t have a presumed opinion, but even if I did I wouldn’t have been right because you are led down so many twists and turns and kept entirely on your toes… to the point where I had to stop myself reading it before bed otherwise I’d be so creeped out I couldn’t fall asleep.
The house itself acts as it’s own character which is thoroughly disturbing and the contrast between modern technology and vintage property reflects the clash between the nanny character Rowan and the children. I found the ending a little rushed but I think the quickening of pace was intended to mirror the exasperation Rowan was feeling so it did work within the storyline. I would recommend reading this book to anyone… well, maybe not if you work in childcare, or are sitting in the dark alone, or live in a big, old house. But everyone else should pick it up, because it really gets your brain asking that age-old question “If something looks too good to be true, is that because it really is?” – GJ