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The Turn of the Key

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  157,011 ratings  ·  18,911 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by Scout Press
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Ana Clara
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Clare Snow It's a tribute/retelling of The Turn of the Screw. There's a point where the key of the title becomes apparent. The Turn of the Screw can be interpret…moreIt's a tribute/retelling of The Turn of the Screw. There's a point where the key of the title becomes apparent. The Turn of the Screw can be interpreted in more than one way. The Turn of the Key provides more specific answers to some aspects, but leaves questions for the reader. Both books are clever is their own unique ways. I love them both and I was scared witless :-)

The Turn of the Screw was written before 1923. Any book written before this date is no longer in copyright. A writer can use any part of these books in whatever ways they like. And publishers can reprint these old books without having to pay for rights. That's why there's so many editions of these books from different publishers.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  157,011 ratings  ·  18,911 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey

"Dear Mr. Wrexham,
You have no idea how many times I have started this letter and screwed up the resulting mess, but I've realized there is no magic formula here. There is no way I can make you listen to my case. So I'm just going to have to do my best to set things out. However long it takes, however much I mess this up, I'm just going to keep going and tell the truth."

And so begins our tale. I'm sure that, unless you've been walking around with your eyes closed and you
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review of “TURN OF THE KEY”:
FOUR: okay, I loved it, it freaked me out, gave me enough chills, my all nails are shorter, oh, wait a second, I don’t have nails anymore and my arms are covered with stress bites, my hair is in the air, you made a great job, Ruth Ware, I wanted to clap but my hands are still shaking, stars!!!
Let’s take a look: what we have on the menu:
-A naïve nanny who has little secrets is now in the jail, waiting for her murder trial.
-Creepy Victorian haunted house: A big, creepy
Emily May
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I am telling you the truth. The unvarnished, ugly truth. And it is all that. It is unpolished and unpleasant, and I don't pretend I acted like an angel. But I didn't kill anyone. I just fucking didn't.

This wasn't bad, but it was nowhere near as good as I was expecting from an author like Ruth Ware.

The protagonist, Rowan Caine, stumbles upon an opportunity that she considers amazing and I would consider an absolute nightmare-- a live-in nanny to four children, including one baby and one brat
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
This is my third book by the author so by this point I know she's great at creating an atmosphere, a creepy ambiance.

New nanny working for a family living in a remote house in Scotland. Past nannies leaving after the house seems haunted with its dark history and secrets... you get it.

It was interesting, even a bit unique since the main character wasn't likeable and that the format is through letters she's writing to a lawyer from prison since she's accused of murdering one of the child in her c
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
not gonna lie, I kinda hated it. It's just that I struggled to finish it, because it was uninteresting, at least for me. I waited and waited for the part that would freak me out but it didn't come at all. And the twist, well kind of surprising, but it just didn't lead the story anywhere. It was like, here's the twist, do whatever you want with that info. I am quite inexperienced with thrillers, maybe this is how they usually go, however I was not pleased with this. The audiobook was quite well m ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. The audiobook narrator does a great job with this book! I’m not sure how to rate this story. On one hand, the buildup is very slow and many of the “creepy” factors (which essentially things going bump in the night) can get repetitive without much action. On the other hand, I actually liked the red herrings and misleads, because it would provide unexpected reveals (although I did catch a big one halfway through, I liked some of the twists at the very end).
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ruth Ware's BEST work yet!!!

Not only is this my new FAVORITE Ruth Ware book, this is also one of my favorite BOOKS OF 2019!!!

As typically happens with me...

I fail to write reviews for the books I love the most. It's just who I am. We know this.

Perhaps some day I will read this again and write a review.

Although, I wouldn't hold your breath. Just know, I loved this and highly recommend!

Kim ~ It’s All About the Thrill
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Gothic, creepy, a house with a hideous history...OMG yes please!! This was hands down my favorite book by Ruth Ware! All the stars for this one! I have read all her books except The Death of Mrs. Westaway (which is sitting here in my bookcase waiting to be read). Up until this point In a Dark Dark Wood was my favorite, but wow oh wow I loved this book.

Four nannies in a year, umm okay people that should be a sign that there are some real problems at the Heatherbrae House. Granted the house has an
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
A nanny in jail accused of murdering one of the children in her care. This is her story.

When Rowan, a young nanny who lives in London, comes across for an ad seeking a nanny to live in a remote area of Scotland, it sounds too good to be true. The pay is high, the house is beautiful, and the family seems lovely. She is warned that previous nannies have quit due to the house being haunted. Rowan doesn’t believe in ghosts, so she pays no heed to the warning. She is hired for the position and packs
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is Ruth Ware's latest offering, a chiller of a psychological thriller with its central protagonist, 24 year old Rowan Caine working in childcare in London. She is looking for another post when she come across an incredible job as a live in Nanny for the Elincourt family, the parents Bill and Sandra are architects, living in the remote Scottish Highlands, and the pay for the post is unbelievable. If there is one thing you should beware of, it is that if a job sounds to be too good to be true ...more
Mary Beth
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the beginning of the book, Rowan is writing a letter to Mr. Wexham, begging for him to help her. She tells him that she is innocent of a crime of murder that she did not commit and that she needs his assistance with her trial that is coming up soon. He is a lawyer and she wants him to prove her innocence.

There is an old house located in a remote area in the middle of nowhere in the Scottish Highlands. Rowan becomes a nanny for a family of three children in this creepy estate. The house has a
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
In The Turn of the Key, Rowan comes across an ad looking for a live-in nanny at a remote country estate. When she applies and gets the job, she is thrilled. But it seems the opportunity is too good to be true, and soon she realizes there are malevolent forces at work inside the idyllic house. The story is told with the reveal first, as a child is dead and Rowan is sitting in prison writing to her lawyer pleading that she did not kill the child. She then proceeds to tell him the story of what rea ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Creepy, suspenseful, & mysterious!

THE TURN OF THE KEY by RUTH WARE is a compelling, dark, twisted, and haunting mystery thriller that immediately sucked me in and had me totally absorbed within this tale.

Right from the very start there is this intense sense of foreboding that definitely makes this quite the gripping book to is a slow-burn and the intensity level slowly increases as the story progresses. I absolutely loved the creepy modern gothic vibe going on here and RUTH WARE defi
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had low expectations for this because I had heard such mixed things about Ruth Ware, but this was SO GOOD. It took so many of the classic thriller components but made them feel fresh and new and I'm a big fan. I cannot wait to see what Ruth comes up with next. ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it

wow she really bamboozled me... twice. we stan. <3

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Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
i’ve heard a lot of mixed things about ruth ware in the past, but honestly this was pretty solid. maybe it’s time i try more of her books lol.
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a 2019 Gallery/Scout Press publication.

Ware is back on track in this tense tale of suspense!!

I have loved Ruth Ware since I read ‘In a Dark, Dark Wood’, yet, I really struggled with her previous book. I didn’t lose my confidence in Ware, however, and eagerly jumped into this, her latest effort, with gusto- and I was not disappointed!!

As the story opens it becomes clear that Rowan Caine, a former nanny, is sitting in prison accused of having killed a child in he
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i absolutely despised ruth wares 'the woman in cabin 10' and completely swore her off as an author because of it. so no one is more surprised than me that i enjoyed this, let alone picked it up. you guys seriously have some major persuasive talent going, because its your good reviews that got me to give RW a second chance.

i think the unique formatting is a tremendous asset to the story. told through letters written by rowan to a potential solicitor as she sits in prison, the story is a last minu
Oct 24, 2019 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
DNF at 45%.

How can a mystery/thriller be this slow and this boring? It’s a thriller: give me action. Suspense. And some character development instead.

I happily spoiled myself for the ending. I still didn’t care. I just didn’t care. 😑😑

No wasting time on stories this year that don’t have me invested by the time I’m almost halfway through it.

I’m so annoyed that this was such a flop.
Merphy Napier
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is tough to rate because I loved this book until the ending. -_-

Suspense - check
interesting characters - check
had no idea who (or what) was behind it all - check
unreliable narrator - check
I couldn't read it too late at night - check
ending that had me on the edge of my seat - check

I loved the ending... until it ended.

Here's why in NON SPOILERS but a little more detail than some might want for their thrillers (view spoiler)
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases
This was a group read/listen that I’m really glad I participated in. This novel was on my TBR, but I don’t know if I would have gotten to it as quickly if it hadn’t been selected for the January group read.

The story pulled me in right from the start. Ruth Ware sure knows how to create an atmosphere. I thought the narration was great (except that *creep creeeeep* noise really started to get to me).

The storyline was intriguing and there were some great twists that I didn’t see coming (especially
Kylie D
Having loved Ruth Ware's previous books I was looking forward to this one with great anticipation. I was greatly disappointed however. There's build up, and build up, and more build up. Then we get to the crunch and it's over in a few pages. The first 320 pages were boring and the last 20 pages were rushed.

Enough said.
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
This was a very compelling murder mystery with an interesting narrative perspective (letter to an attorney) and a very shadowy main character (Rowan). Rowan Caine is the new nanny in a well-to-do household in Scotland. But you come to know from the very beginning that something is a bit strange with this woman. At the new job the children are terrible and she is frightened by uncanny noises in the attic. The complete house is computer controlled. Then the girls lead her to a poisenous garden wit ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, thriller
Turn of the Key is an unnerving story told by a murder suspect as she recounts the background and incidents leading to the death of a child while she was its nanny. Rowan Caine is the nanny and she is writing the story in the form of a letter to a solicitor, Mr Wrexham, requesting his services to defend her. Within the story, there are periodic passages where she speaks directly to Mr Wrexham outlining how her story may be considered and continuously stating her innocence, no matter
Holly  B
The new nanny, Rowan Caine, has her hands full at Heatherbrae House.

This was my fourth novel by the author and I had to see how this one would compare.

I've read several "nanny" stories and find myself drawn to the whole idea of having someone live in your home and act as a child minder. Rowan gets this "dream" nanny job and finds out that the last several nannies didn't work out.

The house was probably my favorite aspect of the story. It was renovated to be a "smart" home and the owners c
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweiss
This is my first Ruth Ware book and I plan to read more because of the good things I've read about her books. The Turn of the Key takes place in an old home, Heatherbrae House, that has been restored faithfully in parts of it while other parts have been gutted and transformed into the most modern of homes. The entire home has "smart home" features which seem to have been set to an overly intrusive level. Not only that, the features don't always work as intended or don't work at all, making the h ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is my favorite thriller so far this year. Ruth Ware, often referred to as the Agatha Christie of our time, has penned her best yet. Rowan, a child-care worker, unexpectedly comes across an online ad for a nanny position in Scotland. It's one of those opportunities that seems too good to be true: a job taking care of children in a high-tech mansion in the Scottish Highlands with an income that can't be matched. To her surprise, Rowan gets the position to care for ...more
‘WANTED: Large family seeks experienced live-in nanny.'

When childcare worker, Rowan Caine, stumbled across the advert she couldn't believe her luck. It's the opportunity she'd been waiting for.

But mere months later she’s sitting on remand in a Scottish prison, accused of killing one of the children in her charge. Furiously scribbling letters to a top advocate (barrister under British law), she pleads with him to take her case.

‘”I didn't kill that child. Which means someone else did. And t
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A child is dead and a nanny is in prison while her trial is pending. This novel consists of a letter she is writing to a lawyer explaining her innocence of the murder and how she wound up incarcerated. The thing is she is not entirely blameless. One thing is certain: “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.”
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, adult, mystery

The Turn of the Key was the first book I read from Ruth Ware and it will definitely not be the last!

The book is a psychological thriller infused with Gothic and Victorian elements. The story is unfolded in the form of letters written by Rowan Caine while she is in prison and addressed to a potential solicitor, narrating the events that led to her incarceration. Rowan is accused of murdering a child she was looking after and is resolved on unraveling her unspeakable truth that will set her free.


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Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

Find her on twitter at

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