The Turn of the Key Review

Happy Halloween! 

Book lovers unite! This month’s book was a bit of a fun Halloween book, so what better than a fun Halloween blog post. Before we get into the book, our next month’s book is Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You are Meant to Be by Heather Ash Amara. As two graceful, grateful, and gutsy women, we look forward to reading a book that empowers women. 

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a mystery-thriller about a live-in nanny. The book is her letters to an attorney asking them to help her with her being accused of murdering one of the children. 

How is the spooky season treating you? Are you indulging in any other spooky or Halloween themed activities (e.g., carving pumpkins, watching movies, trying on costumes, indulging in any snacks). Are you going trick or treating or giving out candy?

J. Not good. I have watched enough scary movies, and I am ready for the Christmas season. The good part so far is I have indulged in snacks and carved pumpkins. We will trick or treating with our 15-month-old child, Wyatt.

C. This spooky season has been awesome! I have indulged in many spooky books and movies, carving pumpkins and cooking the pumpkin seeds (which, by the way, is my new favourite thing). I have bought candies and snacks for the spooky season, which is delightful. And I was planning on giving out candy, but my friends and I accidentally ate it all…sorry, kiddos.

What was your previous experience with mystery-thrillers novels? Did you enjoy them? 

J. I have no previous experience; this was my first one. To be honest, I enjoyed my first experience with it, even though I do not like horror.

C. I have had plenty, and when I say plenty, I mean PLENTY, of experience with mystery-thrillers. It is one of my favourite genres, and I adore them. Although, in my opinion, this one did not meet my standards. I can see how it can be enjoyable for someone who doesn’t regularly read the genre. To me, it felt like every other mystery genre- nothing special. 

The book begins exceptionally slow-paced. Did the slow pace impact your feeling towards the book? Do you think they could have removed some of the detailed descriptions of the house? What do you think about the cameras and technology descriptions around the house?

J. Yes, it was very slow-placed. Being this was my first book in this genre, I didn’t know what to expect. I expected it to be scary right off the bat, and I felt that the author took a very long time to introduce the book’s suspenseful parts. That being said, I think she offered a lot of description of the book’s setting, and it helped as the reader went along to depict what was happening. 

C. I agree; it began slow-paced. I feel like there was a lot she could have removed to engage the reader more. I feel like the lack of suspense throughout most of the book held it back from its potential. I think the technology description was necessary, but the house’s architecture, being a mixture of modern and the original build, could have been left out. It didn’t impact the plot. I also found the amount of technology around the house rather disturbing, especially in the bedroom. 

Did you enjoy the spookiness of the book? Did you think it was a fair amount of spookiness, or should there have been more spookiness?

J. I don’t like horror, yet I could have used more spookiness. If I am going to read a spooky book, I want to go all out. 

C. Well, if Jessica thinks it wasn’t spooky enough, you should already know what I’m about to say. I NEED MORE SPOOKY. It lacked thrills, especially during the majority of the book. The only place it satisfied me was towards the end. The scariest thing is that while reading this book, my copy went missing and is yet to be found. 

What did you think of the twist between Rowan and Rachel? Did you enjoy Rowan’s character? Would you hire Rowan/Rachel as a nanny if she didn’t lie to you about her name?

J. I’ll be honest. I kind of thought that the twist was a little predictable and not that jaw-dropping. The twist of her being a different person was predictable from her lies at the beginning. I don’t know if I liked Rowan’s character. I probably wouldn’t hire her as a nanny. 

C. I can see how it can be predictable, but I found Rowan’s relationship with Bill to be more predictable. Overall, I didn’t like Rowan’s character due to a lack of morals and characteristics. I definitely wouldn’t hire her on as a nanny because her temperament seems unpredictable. 

What is your opinion on the four children before the ending? (Rhiannon, Maddie, Ellie, and baby Petra)

J. Rhiannon and Maddie were very disrespectful and had no sense of manners. Ellie seemed to follow in Maddie’s footsteps and not be an independent character. Baby Petra appeared to have the easiest time adjusting to Rowan.

C. I don’t have an opinion on Rhiannon; she seemed like a basic sassy teenager to me. Maddie, on the other hand, I found a little unpredictable due to her hugging and warning Rowan. I thought there would be more empathy in her. Ellie and Baby Petra seemed to be following in the sibling’s footsteps but had a little more of their growth.  

Do you think the ending was rushed too much? What is your opinion of the conclusion? 

J. Yeah, I did. I felt that the author ran out of things to talk about and just wanted to end the book. The part of me that does not like scary stuff enjoyed the ending because it was more mellow than I thought it would be. However, I didn’t like the fact that the end wasn’t supernatural since the author was alluding to that throughout the entire book

C. I thought it was rushed. It seemed that the book was super slow, and then when it came to an end, it was like, okay, only six pages left, let’s throw everything in. Although it still seemed like the book’s how they did not have a mother or father around.

C. My opinions on Maddie and Ellie changed due to Ellie’s letter. I realized that Maddie was not as empathetic as I initially thought. However, my opinion on Ellie changed a lot. I don’t know whether I gained respect for her or fear of her. In that situation, I believe there could have been more options than to just push her sister out of the window. I feel that this is a part that the author could have included more detail in Ellie’s story. 

What do you think happened to Rowan/ Rachel at the end of the book? 

J. I think she died. The letters that were written at the end seemed to allude that there was no hope for Rowan/Rachel.

C. I’m going to agree that I think she died, but only due to the book ending so abruptly and not continuing to explain her story. I think she could have gotten out of jail due to the letter, but I don’t think she shared the letters if she even received them. 

We have to admit that the scariest part of this entire book was that Caitlin’s copy of the book disappeared halfway through reading. She only read it in the house, and after two weeks of looking for it, it is still missing.

We hope you enjoyed the change of pace. Please send us messages on your opinion or answers to the question if you did read the book! We will make sure to read them all, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book. We hope you enjoyed the book and look forward to reading Goddess Training: Become the Woman You are Meant to Be with you. Have a wonderful and spooky Halloween and a great week!

-Jess and Caitlin

Photo by Breno Machado on Unsplash.

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