“Dear Mr. Wexman, I know you don’t know me but please, please, please you have to help me”
It all began with an offer that was too good to be true. One a remote estate in Scotland a family is looking for a live-in nanny. The salary is beyond her expectations, but will she pay the ultimate price?
Ruth Ware’s newest release, The Turn of the Key, begins with that first, desperate plea. Every moment from this point on is nothing short of heart-pounding terror. But who is the person writing this plea? What trouble are they facing?
Turn of the Key is Ware’s reimagining of Henry James’ classic, The Turn of the Screw. Ware’s atmospheric, neo-Gothic writing style is the perfect fit the literary classic. However, in Turn of the Key, Ware takes that style up a notch, setting the story in a remote and desolate Scottish estate. Then Ware layers in contemporary fears of technology, crafting a brilliant tale of isolation, terror, and death.
Technology plays a significant role in Ware’s story. The characters each have several smart devices, which connect them across distances. Then we learn that the house is wired for constant surveillance through cameras and speakers. Ware’s novel explores privacy and accessibility in contemporary times with digital voyeurism at the heart of our fears.
While the setting and other plot structures round out the novel, it is Ware’s main character, R, that really brings the tale to life. We first hear R’s voice in that single plea for help on page one, but what starts as a meek and helpless voice quickly transforms into a full-blown storyteller.
“I am telling you the truth. The unvarnished, ugly truth. And it is all that. It is unpolished and unpleasant, and I don’t pretend I acted like an angel. But I didn’t kill anyone. I just fucking didn’t.”
Throughout the story we are reminded that R’s story is true, but can we believe her? Wouldn’t you say the same thing if you were guilty? Ware keeps you guessing as the story unfolds. Is R an unreliable narrator or simply a girl caught up in a horrible story? Well, that’s for you to find out.
All I’ll say is this:I could not put down the book. From Ware’s descriptions to her narrative style, the story flowed seamlessly from one page to the next. All the while I was aware that we were moving toward a terrible act, but when and by whom? This technique kept me reading until the last word, unable and unwilling to stop reading until all the pieces fit into place.
If you’re a fan of mysteries or looking for something new to put you in the fall mood, pick up a copy of The Turn of the Key. It will keep you reading late into the night.