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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#allthebookreviews: The Au Pair by Emma Rous @berkleypub @ejrous

The Au Pair
by Emma Rous

Thanks so much to Berkley Books for these gorgeous copies!
Goodreads synopsis has it right when they say this is the literary love child of V.C. Andrews and Kate Morton! Continue below to see what Jessica and I thought of this fantastic and crazy story!

Publisher: Berkley Books
Publish Date: January 8, 2019
368 Pages
Genres: Fiction, "Gothic Thriller"

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 beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

My Review:

What would you do if you found a photo that left you questioning who you really were?  Do you chase after answers or leave things as they are?  Seraphine needs answers.  Her mother threw herself off a cliff shortly after the birth of her and her twin brother, Danny.  Her father recently died from a tragic accident and there's rumors about their estate and how twins typically do not survive.  If only Seraphine can find Laura, the au pair, then maybe she can find the answers she now desperately seeks.  We transverse between the past through the year Laura spent at the Mayes estate to the present with Seraphine's determination to figure out the mystery behind the photo she found. 

Just by reading the synopsis where it states that this is a literary love child of V.C. Andrews and Kate Morton, you knew you were going to get crazy.  We get a little gothic historical feel ala Kate Morton with the crazy intertwining family strife we have seen a lot from Andrews.  Now, no one is going to top the weaving of family webs like Andrews does so don't go into this read expecting that full on crazy.  However, do prepare to suspend a little bit of reality while we get pummeled with red herrings, twists (albeit slightly predictable) and a story about family secrets - by now, readers, we know these can never lead to good things!

This did run a little slow for me at first and there were definitely some parts towards the end where I kind of rolled my eyes like REALLY?!  But yet, I couldn't put this book down.  There's one part of the book that I just can't... and I can't say why or I give a big part away so if you've read this COME TALK TO ME!!  

Honestly, you need to just wrap your arms around the crazy wtf-ness of this novel and take it for what it is.  A debut novel no less!! I'll be looking out for more from Rous as she is currently working on her second novel.

If you love insane family drama with an air of gothic thriller surrounding a beautiful estate atop cliffs, well then this is the perfect story for you!  A touch of crazy with a slight family curse.  I can't help myself, I liked it!


Jessica's Review:

First of all, I had an incredibly hard time believing that this was a debut novel. So impressed and I can’t wait to see what Emma Rous has in store for us next! THE AU PAIR is an atmospheric read with a slower build to it – but just enough to keep pulling you through the chapters. My curiosity was piqued and I couldn’t put this one down, I know for some people this one will be on the slower side than what they are hoping for, but it worked for me.

The day that Seraphine and her brother, Danny, were born their other unexpectedly threw herself off a cliff only hours after their birth. The mystery and rumors that swirled around this never truly left the family. Years later, after the death of her father, Seraphine is going through his belongings to find a photograph. You would think family memories would be a happy discovery, well, not this photograph. This raises more questions and has Seraphine determined to find the first au pair, Laura, the family had to get much needed answers.

We go back and forth between present day (Seraphine trying to uncover the truth) and the past, during Laura’s time with the family. I will always love a good domestic thriller/suspense novel, especially the ones packed with red herrings and twists. This was exactly that and I know that’s the reason I was glued to the pages. While I know some twists will be on the more predictable side for avid thriller readers, they didn’t take away from the story.

Overall, I would highly recommend this to those looking for an atmospheric domestic drama. Plenty of secrets, lies, red herrings, and dysfunction – this is one that is perfect for your fall/winter TBR.

4/5 stars

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