Ever since The Husband left there’s been one particular aspect of life that I’ve been struggling with: technology. The Husband, who worked for Google, loved everything to do with modern technology and what you could do with it around the home. From when I first met him, he would stare at me with incredulity when I told him that I couldn’t tell the difference between one speaker and the next. Our relationship began in 2000 and I actually bought my first cell phone so that he could reach me more easily. As our life together progressed, our home became a somewhat more complicated space with lights and blinds controlled by timing devices that I didn’t really understand then, and now find myself unable to tame.
I guess, given this backdrop and my love of Ruth Ware, I was destined to find myself reading The Turn of the Key. The novel is set in the ultimate smart home, a space so high tech that you don’t even need a key to get in and where every room has a camera watching you. The thing is that Heatherbrae (remember we Brits love to name our homes), isn’t just a smart home, it’s also potentially haunted one and located in a remote part of Scotland.
From the very beginning of this novel, you know that Rowan Caine is in prison, accused of killing a child. In her letters to a potential lawyer, she lays out the circumstances of her employment, the difficult dynamics of the family she was employed to assist, and finally, the odd happenings within the house itself. In this story, Ware takes you from aspirations to uncertainty and beyond. As a reader, it’s a journey where you oscillate between wondering whether Rowan isn’t what she seems, whether the house is haunted, or whether she is being manipulated by forces outside her control. When things go bump in the night, is it imagination, technology, or humans at play and how could any of this, lead to the death of a child?
Once upon a time, I created a list of my favorite Ruth Ware novels and although this is a good one, it’s still not as great a story as In a Dark, Dark Wood, but if like me you have an inherent suspicion of technology, then this will serve to justify your paranoia.
Goodbye Google Home!