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The Turn of the Key Audio CD – CD, May 12, 2020
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About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (May 12, 2020)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 179711381X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1797113814
- Item Weight : 9.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.06 x 0.9 x 5.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #208,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Ruth’s writing was as good as always. And despite the book dragging and dragging with mundane details, I still wanted to finish. That said, I read her other books in 1-2 days, this one took over a week. I remember at one point looking down the Kindle page, seeing that I was at 70%, and thinking, what?! Nothing’s happening!
What I didn’t like:
As much as I love (mentioned earlier) how Ruth usually and brilliantly immerses us readers into the settings, it didn’t work this time. The house sounded like a clown house — I absolutely hated the half Victorian, half severely modern aspect — and the “smart” features sounded like the most annoying way to live ever. I kept thinking more would be explored concerning cameras everywhere, etc, but no, it was just how lights wouldn’t come on because of confusing panels or the out-of-town mother telling her kids goodnight. It seemed like being a “smart” house would be a huge factor in the book, but it really wasn’t. I just didn’t have a sense or feel for the house/gardens/etc; it all seemed one-dimensional. Ok, readers, it’s old and maybe haunted and has weird architecture and cameras and a secret attic. It’s creepy, ok? (It wasn’t, at all.)
Every character was annoying, yet not well fleshed out. It almost felt like even Ruth didn’t like them much and was very unsympathetic in writing about them. Much like the house, they seemed one-dimensional. In fact, I kept getting the kids mixed up because they were just cardboard cutouts (except the baby, who we heard too much about and didn’t need to).
Too many outlandish scenarios that pretty much had no purpose (page filler) ... I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I have to be a bit vague. The hunky handyman there to rescue the damsel in distress, the fact of the parents just leaving a stranger with their young children out in the middle of nowhere for a long time and we hardly hear from them again, the cliched rebellious teenager coming home and acting the fool for really no good reason in the story, how negligent and annoyed the nanny always seemed around very scared, unsettled young kids in her care, the silly footsteps in the attic every night, the story of the previous owner which went nowhere, the descriptions of spit-up, the stories of former nannies/pervert husband that went nowhere, the identity thing, etc. Even being vague here, it’s clear to see how many plot lines with potential just fizzled out. The book plodded along slowly until the very end ... then the twists were all crammed in confusingly and abruptly. And one of the biggest “reveals” came off as too little too late and silly to me. Would someone take things that far? Doubtful. Didn’t ring true.
I hated the ending. Hated it. It was unnecessarily cruel and was a terrible twist. It wasn’t shocking, it was just sad.
But the worst part for me, the most disappointing — the entire book being written as a letter (in this case, to an attorney). UGH. I cannot stand letters, journals, etc used as plot devices for an entire story. It’s cliched, it’s lazy, it’s juvenile, it NEVER works well. Who would write out Every. Single. Detail. in a letter like that? Every daily thought and emotion? No one. Especially when time is of the essence, this person is going to pen a novel in letter form? Of course not. And we don’t find out much after the big reveal, so what’s the point of the letter-to-attorney pretense?
Sorry, Ruth. I’m still a fan and happily look forward to reading your future books, but this one didn’t do it for me. I think it could’ve been a truly great book, there were some unique and original ideas (poison garden, for instance). But it just kind of felt all over the place instead of cohesive and determined. It’s certainly not the worst book I’ve ever read, not even close, but I know you have the abilities to do much better!
*Review from paying customer, not given free book.
As in all good gothic novels the young woman of course takes the job. The house turns out to be a cozy, welcoming Victorian country house with a beautiful view. The back of the house is a modern glass addition with a state of the art kitchen. The house is also a super wired up smart house, with an app that controls everything from door locks to lights, music and air vents. And there are lots of cameras.
Ruth Ware masterfully sets up the story, then powers it forward with suspicion, clues, misdirection, twists, and red herrings. This created such suspense for me I had to finish it in one day -- I just couldn't wait for the answers! She has written this novel in the form of a letter the protagonist is writing. I thought it would be off-putting but it wasn't -- once I accepted that this was the longest letter ever I became so enmeshed in the story it wasn't a distraction. I would definitely recommend this book.
Top reviews from other countries
A modern day ghost story with a gothic background. A fantastic ending which is impossible to see coming. The only down side is it is very heavy on the description of the house and furnishing when it is not needed and you simply want the story to move on.
However, if we can make that leap of suspending disbelief over this issue, then we are soon thrust into the midst of a totally compulsive story. What separates the author from her contemporaries and rivals is the quality of the writing and above all the characterisation of the children, the house keeper Jean McKenzie, Jack and the parents, largely present via the advanced communication system built into their home.
The home is crucial. Isolated in the Highlands of Scotland it is an extraordinary fusion of the old and the new. Past and present are key themes in this subtle, complex narrative. The setting is powerfully atmospheric. Few novels are so genuinely spine-chilling without any lashings of gratuitous violence. Rowan is not only the centre of the mystery but also a fully credible human being. If what marks out a superior mystery story is that we are held as much by each page as by a desire to discover an explanation of events, then this has the makings of a classic of its kind.
Ruth Ware builds up a powerful momentum culminating in an original climax. Whether this climax lives up to the reader’s expectations will, I suppose, vary from one person to another. She has certainly set herself a major challenge. By the end our expectations are at fever pitch.
For me this was an immensely satisfying read. I thoroughly recommend the novel as well above other more celebrated ventures in this field.