Tag: Ruth Ware

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

The Turn of the Key
Author:  Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogene Church
Published:  August 6, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 1-12, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars     

Book Description:

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.

Jessica’s Review:

The Turn of the Key is my favorite Ruth Ware novel!  I hope she keeps writing novels like this one of the gothic suspense genre!  This one had everything to love: a mysterious house with a past of its own that has been transformed into a ‘smart house’ that may also be haunted, someone accused of murder and telling their story, a picture perfect family that actually isn’t , and things that go creak and bump in the night!  I started this one just after Halloween, but it would have been a perfect read to lead up to Halloween, especially with parts of Imogene Church’s narration.  As mentioned in previous reviews, I adore Imogene Church’s narrations!!!

We start the novel with Rowan Caine in prison awaiting trial for the murder of one of the children. Rowan was the newest nanny, though the family has gone through four in the past year, Rowan had seen this as an opportunity to not pass by.  Rowan is writing a letter to the man that she hopes will become her new lawyer as she is not happy with her current one.  Rowan’s letter is the whole novel and she is telling the lawyer Mr. Wrexham her side of the story.

I did not know what to expect with this one.  The hose was creepy in so many ways: its history and just being a ‘smart house’. I know after reading this novel I do NOT want to live in a smart house of any kind!  I did not know what to really believe from Rowan, but had no idea how the story was going to end. And those last twists that happened: I NEVER would have seen coming! 

This is a creepy, character driven thriller that will keep you involved in the story all the way to the ending!

The Turn of the Key is very highly recommended!!

 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Author: Ruth Ware
Published: May 29, 2018
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 2-20, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the centre of it.

Jessica’s Review:

The premise of Mrs. Westaway had me intrigued and I could not wait to read it!  I was able to get it on audio from my library.  There is nothing wrong with Ware’s writing, in fact I love it, but I just did not connect with Hal. She is dealing with hard times financially and once she gets this letter she plans on conning the family as she is not the intended recipient of the inheritance. She shows up and then things just get out of hand. “Don’t Lie!” should be the moral here.

It is a character driven novel with a gothic feel to it. There are many mysteries occurring throughout the novel.  What kept me reading was that I wanted to know what was going to ultimately happen.  When the twists occurred, I didn’t really feel anything, due to my lack of connection with Hal.  If I had connected with Hal I am sure I would have loved this novel. When it was over I did not really know how to feel: The mysteries were solved, but I still am not sure how I feel about the direction taken.

Imogene Church has narrated all of Ware’s novels and I love her! She narrates the novels wonderfully.  My favorite Ware novel is The Woman in Cabin 10.  All of her novels are character driven, so be prepared for a slow moving novel (Which I do not mean in a negative way) all the way up to the conclusion.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Lying Game

Author: Ruth Ware
Published: July 25, 2017
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 20- October 8, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game.

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller.

Jessica’s Review:

I have enjoyed Ruth Ware’s previous novels, my favorite of hers being The Woman in Cabin 10.  The Lying Game just wasn’t for me. It is about four girls who become friends and they play ‘The Lying Game’. There are five rules to the game:

  1. Tell a lie
  2. Stick to your story
  3. Don’t get caught
  4. Never lie to each other
  5. Know when to stop lying

 

Books with unreliable narrators are hit-or-miss with me and the premise of the novel deals with unreliability: lying. Therefore, I knew going in that it may be hit-or-miss for me, but having read the book description and also enjoying Ware’s other novels had me wanting to read this one.

Isa is our narrator and she goes between the past and present.  She has lost contact with her friends until Kate sends them all a text saying “I need you”. The other women drop what they are doing and rush to help their friend Kate out. They all share a secret, but has one of them been breaking their own rules for seventeen years?

Over the course of the novel we learn what happened in the past. In the present Isa is a new mother, her daughter Freya is constantly with her and Isa’s only concern.

There was promise with The Lying Game. It is a slow burning, character driven novel that is well written. At times it seemed too long for me with too much narrative. I liked Fatima and wanted more of her in the novel. Even though I was not fully involved in the story, I wanted to know what was going to happen, but when it was over I did not feel anything.  Again, there is nothing wrong with Ware’s writing; this novel was just not for me. There is also a lot of foul language in The Lying Game. This doesn’t usually bother me, but I just got tired of hearing the ‘f’ word so many times.   I will continue to read Ware’s future novels and I do recommend The Woman in Cabin 10. Imogene Church has narrated all of Ware’s novels (I have listened to all of them) and she is perfect! I really enjoy her narrations even though my husband teases me by calling them “tea and crumpets” books due to Church’s accent!  LOL

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