Narrator: Imogen Church
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on August 6, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 12 hours, 13 minutes
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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.
I saw The Turn of the Key around and knew it was my sort of read. The setting is London and Scotland. The story was suspenseful with the mystery of what happened and also why the other four nannies left. Both mysteries are solved but not without many creepy tangents.
The main character, a young woman who applies for a nanny job feels a bit like an unreliable narrator. At least, I wasn’t sure at the start. She is certainly flawed, trying to be better but not quite managing it, with lack of experience or knowledge not helping her at times. The whole situation is weird with so many nannies leaving in the past, the oddities of the Smart House, and the emotional upheaval of the children over the year.
The others were only some help. Jack, the odd job man, was kind and tried to help. Jean, the housekeeper, was hostile at the start. With no other adult contact, and children of the different ages and needs for care, she was off balance from the beginning, not to mention the blips with the house systems. Is there anyone she can trust?
It seems really unfair how badly some things went when she was doing her best and was kind and hard-working. Yes, she definitely made mistakes. I’m not sure how she could have gotten a better grasp on things earlier. Along with the suspense of her difficulties, there are some shocking twists. It’s an uneasy, thrilling ride!
I’m not an expert on different regional voices but these felt right. Both male and female voices were comfortable and each character was very distinct. I really enjoyed this performance and it added to the emotional timbre of the story. I listened at my normal 1.5x speed.
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