Series: Book One of Rosemary’s Baby
Author: Ira Levin
Published: March 12, 1967
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse were delighted at the chance to move into Bramford, one of Manhattan’s oldest and most celebrated apartment houses. Their friend Hutch urged them not to; he knew of too many shadows in the Bramford’s past – unsavory tenants like Adrian Marcato, who had practiced witchcraft, and the monstrous Trench sisters. But Rosemary and Guy were clear-thinking and not at all superstitious. They dismissed Hutch’s warnings and moved in. At first, they were completely happy. Rosemary hung curtains and planned a nursery for the baby she hoped to have some day. Guy pursued his career as a stage and television actor. They met their neighbors who were friendly and unintrusive. But then, one day when Rosemary was down in the basement laundry room, a girl her own ago came in … Quietly and with a compelling matter-of-factness. Ira Levin tells a story of mounting terror and icy climactic shock in a book that manages to be wildly entertaining as well.
What a great book! Of course, we’ve all seen the movie, but I once I found out it was based on a book . . . so I read it and I love it so much! I’m not sure I’d even call this horror. I’d classify it more as suspense with a slight horror twist. The Bramford is a great setting and Levin did a superb job of building up the tension slowly and subtly, until the twist just pounces and you’re left speechless. The only other author who is this successful at a slow burn is Shirley Jackson, and even she wasn’t this subtle.
Rosemary is an excellent character who both conforms to and breaks the 60’s housewife stereotypes. You also get a great look into the decade and feel like you’re actually living it. Even if you don’t like horror, I would still recommend this book because it’s such a awesome story! It’s easy to read and quick to get through!
Leave the World Behind
Author: Rumaan Alam
Published: October 6, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 13-20, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.
Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
Suspenseful and provocative, Rumaan Alam’s third novel is keenly attuned to the complexities of parenthood, race, and class. Leave the World Behind explores how our closest bonds are reshaped—and unexpected new ones are forged—in moments of crisis.
This is yet another novel with an interesting premise, but fell very short for me. From the description, it seemed like Leave the World Behind was going to be an apocalyptic thriller, but it was not, it was more of a slow burner of a novel, and it fell through for me. Then the ending left too many questions unanswered, including what was even happening.
The novel does touch on race, class, family and shows what the world might look like when it is unknown times (much like we are in now). Alam’s writing style did not work for me. There is a bit of excessive vulgarity in regards to body anatomy and bodily functions. Alam is very ‘wordy’ with his words, which is interesting as this novel is a shorter one of around 230 pages.
This one unfortunately did not work for me so I cannot recommend it.[Top]
The Turn of the Key
Author: Ruth Ware
Narrator: Imogene Church
Published: August 6, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 1-12, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
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 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!!