Thursday, January 3, 2019

ARC Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair
Author: Emma Rous
Publication: Berkley (January 8, 2019)

Description: Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family's estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.

Who is the child, and what really happened that day?

My Thoughts: This story interweaves two characters and two time periods. In the present day, Seraphine is dealing with the recent death of her father at their home Summerbourne on the Norfolk coast. When cleaning out her father's things, she discovers a photo of the day she and her twin brother Danny were born. But the photo shows only one baby along with her parents and older brother Edwin.

Seraphine has always felt different than her two brothers. They look alike and have similar outgoing personalities. Seraphine has always felt like an outsider in her own family. She was raised on the story of her mother's suicide on the day they were born. No one - her father or her grandmother - will ever talk about that day and what happened when her mother died. Rumors of changelings and family curses told by the locals were a torment to her as a child and fed her own confusion about her place in her family.

She decides to try to track down the au pair who was taking care of Edwin and who spent a year with the family leaving right after their birth and her mother's death. The second story takes place in  1992 and is told by Laura Silveira who was the au pair for the family and who tells the story of the family she worked for and the tangled and twisted events of that year.

While Laura was quite easy to find, she doesn't want to talk about that time. And someone else doesn't want the past brought up again and enforces this with creepy letters, threats on mirrors, and messages burned into the lawn. Despite her brother's wishes to leave things alone, Laura persists in trying to find out what happened twenty-five years earlier.

I enjoyed this twisted story of family drama. The characters were well-drawn and interesting people. The writing was engaging and kept me glued to the story.

Favorite Quote:
She looks from me to Danny.

"But I look nothing like the lady in the photo and that would leave both of you with no know parents, and yet you both do look like your parents..."

Her shoulders slump. She shakes her head in defeat.

"Well. I'm glad we sorted that out," Danny says.

I glare at him, and then Kiara pulls a face, and then Edwin snorts, and suddenly, we're all kind of laughing, united in our bafflement.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing, probably convoluted scheming. Sounds good.


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