The Turn of the Key: Ruth Ware

Rating: 4 / 5

Ruth Ware’s The Turn of the Key is the spooky, deceptive story of a young woman who accepts a suspiciously well-paid nannying job that ultimately ends in the death of a child and herself in prison.

Rowan can’t believe her luck. She’s found the perfect job – live-in nannying for four girls that pays extremely well. She soon learns that several nannies have come and gone in the last year, perhaps related to the rumors that the estate is haunted. Rowan doesn’t believe in ghosts and has tough skin and so she accepts the position, moves in, and things immediately begin to go bump in the night.

From an impossible-to-use smart home system to unidentifiable footsteps in the attic, Rowan begins to question everything, including her ability to care for these difficult children. As things escalate, she must decide how to stay sane and keep herself and the girls safe.

Content Warning

Please take caution while reading The Turn of the Key if any of the following topics may trigger you:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Violence
  • Death / dying
  • Blood

My Thoughts

The Turn of the Key is a quality, creepy thriller – or, it might be more appropriate to call it a domestic suspense. This is my first book by Ruth Ware and I really enjoyed it. Through the story, Ware touches on the potential negative impacts of technology, the supernatural, and tons of familial tension. The premise was unique – more unique that may thrillers have been lately – and the story moved at a great pace.

The Turn of the Key has an element of the untrustworthy narrator trope, which many people have become burnt out on lately. I didn’t think this was too heavy-handed; it’s clear that Rowan has some issues, but she’s not completely awful and untrustworthy, in my opinion.

I’m a big fan of nanny/au pair thrillers, and with this one I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between Rowan and the children in her charge. The girls are extremely complicated and don’t – or don’t want to – trust Rowan, for some unknown reason. They’re combative and make her job very hard, and I enjoyed uncovering their personalities and why they’re so skeptical.

Overall, I found The Turn of the Key to be a sufficiently unique, definitely creepy and suspenseful thriller/suspense novel – and definitely worth your time. I can always appreciate when a book elicits strong emotions in me, even if that emotion is fear. Maybe don’t read this at home alone at night – or do, and get yourself really spooked!


Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on The Turn of the Key. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!

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