There has been a real buzz around The Au Pair by Emma Rous, and I am a sucker for falling for books that have real hype around them. Sometimes, I’m left disappointed, and other times, I am more than impressed, and The Au Pair is a book that blew me away. I was kindly sent a copy of this book by Berkley in exchange for an honest review and to say I devoured this book would be an understatement.
To take from the blurb – “Seraphine Mayes and her brother Danny are known as the summer-born Summerbournes: the first set of summer twins to be born at Summerbourne house. But on the day of their birth, their mother threw herself to her death, the au pair fled and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaked figures and a stolen baby. Now, Twenty-five years later, mourning the recent death of her father, Seraphine uncovers a family photo taken on the day the twins were born featuring both parents posing with just one baby. Seraphine soon becomes fixated with the notion that she and Danny might not be twins after all, that she wasn’t born and there is more to her mother’s death than she’s ever been told. Why did the au pair flee that day? Where is she now and does she hold the key to what really happened?”
God, this book was good. Despite the main plot starting with no build up, it took me a while to get fully engrossed and by the time I was, I couldn’t put it down – I was even up at 4 am reading it! The book switches between two points of view – Seraphine in the present and Emma, the au pair, twenty-five years ago. The book has a real domestic noir theme with a gothic atmosphere. You could visually imagine the village and Summerbourne house so vividly, and I found that elevated the book thanks to how descriptive it was on that front.
The plot is captivating. The book takes so many secrets revealed and turns taken that you can never really suss out where it is going to lead, and it was a little complicated at times. That being said, nothing was predictable, stale or boring in my eyes. The writing was clever, slick and steadily paced. The switch between POV was executed brilliantly, and it has been a long time since I’ve read a book that has been so atmospheric. That is always a winner for me as I can almost place myself right in the centre of the action. It is dark, gloomy but utterly addictive. Once you start and get into the story, you’ll find it impossible to put it down.
Overall, I rated this five-stars as I thought it was gloomy, gripping and written very stylishly. One I will be recommending. The Au Pair is published by Berkley who kindly sent me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review and is on sale now which you can buy here.
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