Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

book review

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Publisher: Vintage Books

Publication date: 08 August 2019

Genre: Thriller

Page count: 352 pages

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This review is spoiler-free


I read and enjoyed my first Ruth Ware book a couple of months ago and was desperate to immediately get my hands on more of her work. Fortunately, my sister had a copy of Ware’s latest novel, The Turn of the Key, handy and I grabbed it from her as soon as I could. I expected a fun and spooky thriller, and I got so much more than that. Filled with twists and turns, The Turn of the Key is a great book for all your spooky fall and winter needs.



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.


Here’s a short list of what to expect in this book:

  • A smart house with an app that controls it called ‘Happy’. Nope nope nope.
  • A shady nanny who is clearly hiding something.
  • An overworked mum and a pervy husband.
  • A remote Scottish Highlands location.
  • Things that go bump in the night
  • Three awful children.
  • More secrets and lies than you can shake a stick at.

So basically, this book was exactly what I want from a thriller! Ware takes so many spooky elements and throws them together to create a fantastic modern Gothic tale. The result is incredibly effective with loads of tension and mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. There are so many secrets tangled up in this book that it’s hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, and as someone who has seen the main twist coming in a few thrillers lately, I loved that so much. I sometimes find that thrillers just don’t quite hit the mark for me, but The Turn of the Key was such a well-balanced plot with well-paced moments of horrible tension and release.

I feel like I come across as super lazy when it comes to thriller reviews, but I swear that it’s best to go into this book knowing as little as possible! If you’re someone who enjoys psychological thrillers, this is definitely the book for you. The Turn of the Key is the perfect binge read for chilly winter nights.


Want to pick up a copy of The Turn of the Key? You can find it at the following sites (affiliate links):

Book Depository | Blackwells


Have you read The Turn of the Key? What did you think? Is it in your TBR? Let me know!

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

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