The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | Review | Booksmagick

What’s it about

Rowan cannot believe her luck when she gets the position as a live-in nanny at Heatherbrae House. The salary is more than generous and the house is a state-of-the-art smart home. Breathtaking grounds and not another house for a few miles. Sets the atmosphere for a perfect thriller.

What I think about it

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The Turn of the Key doesn’t give you any time to slowly ease into the story. We dive straight in with Rowan attempting to write a letter to a solicitor who might be able to help her. Rowan is in prison, awaiting trial for murder. Because her employment at Heatherbrae House has ended with a dead child and a ton of evidence against Rowan. Only problem? She pleads innocent, which means, someone else killed the girl – and is still out there.

I have never been a fan of technology that thinks for itself and talks to you. Alexa creeps me the hell out and just thinking about being in a house where everything has to be activated either by voice or via a panel scares me. It may be modern and fancy but my toaster makes me jump out of my skin when he goes ding 😀 If I was sure before that I’d never want a smart home, after reading this book I am dead certain I’ll never set foot in one alone.

Rowan was more than just happy to be able to leave her day job under a horrible boss at a nursery and become a live-in nanny once again. She struggles to get 8 year old Maddie to trust her which means 5 year old Ellie will do as her sister does. What I really liked about Rowan in those moments was that she isn’t the perfect nanny, she makes mistakes, she loses her temper with the kids because she too is only human and caring for three small children 24/7 will get to you.

In that situation you’d love nothing more than to fall into bed at night and drift off into blissful sleep. Weren’t it for the locked door in your room and the footsteps on the floor above you. The floor that shouldn’t exist because you’re already on the top floor … On top of everything, Maddie is the creepy childTM. Quiet most times, sometimes a spark of malice in her eyes or an evil smile. Of course, the odd ghost story and mysterious deaths could not be missing from the story. In a ranking for creepiest element of the story, the garden is sure to be the runner-up to the smart home.

“Suddenly I could not bear it any longer, and I understood what dark terrors had driven those four previous nannies out of their post and away. To lie her, night after night, listening, waiting, staring into the darkness at that locked door, that open keyhole gaping into blackness …”

I loved this book so much! Penguin describes it as a heart-stopping pulse-racing psychological thriller” and it’s exactly that. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop, even if my eyes were burning and I was barely able to keep them open. My pulse was really racing because I was creeped out by the house, the story and Maddie; and yet I had to read on. I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about the book before I didn’t know how it ended. At 3 a.m. I read what had to be the most twisted ending ever. When I had about ten pages left I was so worried because there was no way everything would be resolved on a handful of pages. But it was. And the ending was like a punch in the face.


Gripping from the first page to the shocking last. I couldn’t stop reading. The characters were well-written, the story flowed smoothly and the ending was a kick in the gut. Ruth Ware knows how to keep a reader at the edge of their seat throughout an entire book. The house in the middle of nowhere already set the atmosphere but the unkempt garden added to it, as well as the kids. Absolute highlight!


  • Author: Ruth Ware
  • Pages: 352
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (Penguin)
  • Publication Date: August 8, 2019
  • ISBN: 978-1-787-30044-6

3 thoughts on “The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | Review | Booksmagick”

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