Julie's Reviews > The Au Pair

The Au Pair by Emma Rous
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it was amazing
bookshelves: berkley, e-book, netgalley, thrillers, 2019

The Au Pair by Emma Rous is a 2019 Berkley Books publication.

A wickedly dark, wildly entertaining, mesmerizing tale!

Seraphine Mayes is mourning the untimely death of her father, who died in a freak accident. Staying on at her family’s summer home, she is going through her father’s things, when she finds a photo of her mother taken on the day she committed suicide by throwing herself off a cliff. But, what strikes her as odd, is that her mother had just given birth to twins- Seraphine and her brother Danny- when the photo was snapped. However, her mother is only holding one baby.

At the edge of the photo is a woman, later identified as ‘Laura’, the au pair, who had been hired to care for Seraphine’s older brother, at the time.

Why is there only one baby in the photo? Which baby is in the picture? Is it Seraphine or Danny?

With no one willing, or able, to answer her questions, Seraphine goes in search of the only other adult present that day who can provide her with answers- the Au Pair.

This is a bizarre, twisted family saga filled to the brim with secrets, misconceptions, coverups, and deceptions. The atmosphere drew me it immediately, as did the stylish blend of noir mixed with contemporary Gothic. The dual timeline is the perfect format for this type of story, with Laura narrating events from the past, and Seraphine providing the present -day narrative. The past and present slowly converges with ripples of shockwaves building to a massive eruption, leaving every single character-and the reader- shaken to the core.

There’s plenty to chew on if one wishes to delve into the psychology of the story, which is deeper than it may appear. Seraphine, especially, has specific fears which drive her to obsessively seek proof of her heritage and identity. The folklore tales of “Sprites” and the rumor of a family curse only heightens Seraphine’s paranoia. The many revelations and mind-bending twists, however, are jaw-droppingly entertaining.

This book has been compared to the V.C. Andrews’ style of shocking Gothic family theatrics by some editorial reviewers, as well as to Kate Morton, who famously combines the past with the present, and adds a Gothic flavor to her stories, as well. Initially, I scoffed at such a notion, but strange as it sounds, the two styles do complement one another. So, I’m going to concur. However, I think this book can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is historical fiction, a domestic family drama, and a suspenseful mystery. Also, if you are a fan of Gothic novels, old or new, or if you like a story with a ‘noir-ish’ atmosphere, this book is one you might want to consider.

Overall, this is my kind of book! A gripping, spellbinding tale and a very impressive debut by Emma Rous!
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Reading Progress

September 18, 2018 – Shelved
September 18, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
September 18, 2018 – Shelved as: berkley
September 18, 2018 – Shelved as: e-book
September 18, 2018 – Shelved as: netgalley
September 18, 2018 – Shelved as: thrillers
September 15, 2019 – Started Reading
September 15, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
September 15, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
September 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 68 (68 new)


message 1: by Debra (new)

Debra Wonderful review, Julie! Sounds intriguing.


Julie Debra wrote: "Wonderful review, Julie! Sounds intriguing."

Thank you, Debra!! You might like this one! 💖🤗


message 3: by Lucy (new)

Lucy Langford Fantastic review Julie !! You had my interest at “wickedly dark” 😄


message 4: by KAS (new)

KAS So fabulous you enjoyed this gothic, suspenseful read, Julie ;) Outstanding review, dear friend!! 😘❤️


Babydimps (Suzy) Super review Julie! 😊


Julie Lucy wrote: "Fantastic review Julie !! You had my interest at “wickedly dark” 😄"

Thank you, Lucy!! These characters are indescribable! 🤗


Julie Babydimps (Suzy) wrote: "Super review Julie! 😊"

Thank you so much, Suzy! 🤗💖


Julie KAS wrote: "So fabulous you enjoyed this gothic, suspenseful read, Julie ;) Outstanding review, dear friend!! 😘❤️"

Thank you, dear KAS!! 🤗💖


RedemptionDenied Excellent review, Julie!


message 10: by Ceecee (new) - added it

Ceecee Yippee! Got this on my kindle already so will push it forward after your great review! 🤗


Julie RedemptionDenied wrote: "Excellent review, Julie!"

Thank you very much, RD!! 😊😊


Julie Ceecee wrote: "Yippee! Got this on my kindle already so will push it forward after your great review! 🤗"

Thank you, Ceecee!! I'd love to get your thoughts on this one! 💖


message 13: by Susanne (new) - added it

Susanne  Strong Fantastic review Julie! Glad you liked this one so much!


message 14: by Jen (new)

Jen Nice review, Julie :)


message 15: by Richard (new)

Richard Great review Julie ...... this sounds really good. Straight on to the wish list :)


Paromjit Fantastic review, Julie xx


Julie Susanne wrote: "Fantastic review Julie! Glad you liked this one so much!"

Thank you so much, Susanne! 💖


Julie Paromjit wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie xx"

Thank you, Paromjit!! 🤗💖


Julie Richard wrote: "Great review Julie ...... this sounds really good. Straight on to the wish list :)"

Thank you, Richard!! Hope enjoy this one too! 😊


Julie Jen wrote: "Nice review, Julie :)"

Thank you very much, Jen!! 💖


Marialyce Can’t say this book was a favorite of mine, but I sure appreciated your review, Julie.


message 22: by Tina (new)

Tina Ooooh sounds so good! A wonderful review Julie! 🤩


message 23: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Awesome review, it sounds great!


Julie Marialyce wrote: "Can’t say this book was a favorite of mine, but I sure appreciated your review, Julie."

Thank you so much, dear Marialyce! 💖😊💖


Julie Tina wrote: "Ooooh sounds so good! A wonderful review Julie! 🤩"

Thank you very much, Tina! 💖


Julie Nadia wrote: "Awesome review, it sounds great!"

Thank so much, Nadia!! 💖


megs_bookrack Sold! Great review, Julie!


Julie megs_bookrack wrote: "Sold! Great review, Julie!"

Thank you so much, Megs!! Happy reading! 💖


message 29: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Wonderful review! It’s been on tbr list for quite awhile. May have to move it up!


Julie Peggy wrote: "Wonderful review! It’s been on tbr list for quite awhile. May have to move it up!"

Thank you, Peggy!! I hope you enjoy it once you get around to reading it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. 💖


message 31: by Kaceey (new) - added it

Kaceey Fabulous review Julie! I’ve been on the fence about this one forever! Maybe I need to just find a bit of time and go ahead and read it!🤗💖


Julie Kaceey wrote: "Fabulous review Julie! I’ve been on the fence about this one forever! Maybe I need to just find a bit of time and go ahead and read it!🤗💖"

Thank you, Kaceey!! I didn't get in a big hurry about reading this one either. Glad I waited for the right mood to strike. 💖


Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* Fantastic review, Julie! 💕


Vaishali • [Vicarious Living] Amazing review Julie,I'm glad you enjoyed this! 💕


message 35: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terrific review Julie! This is one I’ve been meaning to get to for a while now! I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it! 💕❤️


message 36: by Angela M (new)

Angela M Great review, Julie . You know me by now - I’m too much of a whimp to read this this!


Julie Mary Beth *Traveling Sister* wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! 💕"

Thank you, Mary Beth!! 💖


Julie Vaishali • [Vicarious Living] wrote: "Amazing review Julie,I'm glad you enjoyed this! 💕"

Thank you, dear Vaishali!! 💖


Julie Nicola wrote: "Terrific review Julie! This is one I’ve been meaning to get to for a while now! I’m so glad to see you enjoyed it! 💕❤️"

Thank you so much, Nicola!! 💖


Julie Angela M wrote: "Great review, Julie . You know me by now - I’m too much of a whimp to read this this!"

Thank you, dear Angela!! This one is pretty tame- more psychological, with lots, and lots of family drama! 💖


Meredith Fantastic review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed this too!


message 42: by Brandice (new)

Brandice This story sounds intriguing! Great review, Julie!


Julie Meredith wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! Glad you enjoyed this too!"

Thank you so much, Meredith! 💖


Julie Brandice wrote: "This story sounds intriguing! Great review, Julie!"

Thank you so much, Brandice!! 💖


message 45: by Libby (new) - added it

Libby Fantastic review, Julie! The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is one of my most favorite books and by comparing this one to that, I’m definitely intrigued.


Julie Libby wrote: "Fantastic review, Julie! The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is one of my most favorite books and by comparing this one to that, I’m definitely intrigued."

Thank you, Libby!! I loved The Forgotten Garden too. The content in this book is pretty twisted, but the dual timeline style is similar the one KM uses in many of her books. 💖


message 47: by Elyse (new) - added it

Elyse Walters Fantastic review Julie.
I want to read this now too. THANK YOU!!
Wonderful review!


Julie Elyse wrote: "Fantastic review Julie.
I want to read this now too. THANK YOU!!
Wonderful review!"


Thank you so much, Elyse!! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one!! 💖


message 49: by Kat (new) - added it

Kat Valentine Fantabulous review Julie!!😉💋💖👍


Julie Kat wrote: "Fantabulous review Julie!!😉💋💖👍"

Thank you, Kat!! 💖


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