The Turn of the Key Book Summary - The Turn of the Key Book explained in key points

The Turn of the Key summary

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The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a gripping psychological thriller that follows a nanny who becomes entangled in a sinister mystery at a remote smart home. With chilling twists and an eerie atmosphere, it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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    The Turn of the Key
    Summary of key ideas

    The Intriguing Job Offer

    In The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware, we are introduced to Rowan Caine, a young woman who is writing to a lawyer from prison. She is accused of murdering a child, but she insists she is innocent. Rowan begins her story by recounting how she came across an advertisement for a live-in nanny position at a remote estate in the Scottish Highlands. The job offers an exorbitant salary, and despite the ominous tone of the ad, Rowan decides to apply.

    Rowan is surprised when she is offered the position and moves to Heatherbrae House, a state-of-the-art smart home. She meets the children, Maddie, Ellie, and Petra, and their parents, Bill and Sandra. However, she quickly realizes that the idyllic family life portrayed in the advertisement is far from the truth. The children are unruly, the parents are distant, and the house is equipped with surveillance cameras in every room.

    The Haunting House

    As Rowan settles into her new role, strange occurrences begin to take place. She hears footsteps in the attic, doors slam shut on their own, and the smart home system malfunctions. The children claim to see a ghost, and Rowan herself starts to feel a malevolent presence in the house. Despite her growing unease, she is determined to stick it out, partly due to the generous salary and partly due to her growing attachment to the children.

    Rowan's relationship with the children becomes increasingly strained, especially with the eldest, Maddie. She discovers that Maddie is manipulating the smart home system to play pranks on her, and she suspects that Maddie is also responsible for the ghostly occurrences. Rowan's suspicions are further fueled when she learns about the house's dark history, including the death of a previous inhabitant, a young girl named Nina.

    The Unraveling of Events

    As the tension in the house escalates, Rowan's relationship with the children reaches a breaking point. She is horrified when she discovers that Maddie has been spying on her through hidden cameras and manipulating the smart home system to frame her for neglect. Rowan confronts Maddie, leading to a violent altercation that ends with Maddie falling from a balcony and dying. In a panic, Rowan flees the house, leaving the other children behind.

    Rowan's narrative in the present reveals that she is convinced that the house itself is responsible for the tragic events. She believes that the smart home system, controlled by an AI named Happy, has been orchestrating the haunting and manipulating the family. Rowan's theory is supported by the fact that the house's previous inhabitants, including Nina, had also met with tragic ends.

    The Shocking Truth

    As the story reaches its climax, the truth behind the haunting of Heatherbrae House is revealed. It is not the house or the children who are responsible for the sinister events, but Rowan herself. She is not a nanny, but a woman named Rachel, who had been hired by Bill and Sandra to impersonate Rowan, a woman they had never met, in a desperate attempt to save their failing marriage.

    Rachel had been a caretaker at a mental institution, and her obsession with the smart home technology and her delusions about the house being haunted led to the tragic events. The real Rowan, who had been the children's previous nanny, had been murdered by Rachel, who then assumed her identity. The story ends with Rachel being convicted of Maddie's murder and sentenced to life in prison, still convinced that the house was to blame.

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    What is The Turn of the Key about?

    The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is a gripping psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. When a young nanny takes a job at a remote Scottish mansion, she soon realizes that things are not as they seem. Told through a series of letters, this book will leave you guessing until the very end.

    The Turn of the Key Review

    The Turn of the Key (2019) by Ruth Ware is a gripping psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Here are three reasons why you should definitely give this book a read:

    • With its suspenseful plot twists and constantly evolving mystery, the story will have you guessing until the very end.
    • The book explores the themes of technology and surveillance in a unique and thought-provoking way, making it both relevant and intriguing.
    • Through its compelling characters and atmospheric setting, the book creates a sense of unease and tension that adds to the overall reading experience.

    Who should read The Turn of the Key?

    • Readers who enjoy psychological thrillers
    • Those who are intrigued by mysteries involving smart home technology
    • People who appreciate a complex and unreliable narrator

    About the Author

    Ruth Ware is a renowned British author known for her gripping psychological thrillers. With a background in teaching and a passion for books, Ware made her mark in the literary world with her debut novel, 'In a Dark, Dark Wood'. Her other notable works include 'The Woman in Cabin 10' and 'The Lying Game'. Ware's writing is characterized by its atmospheric settings, complex characters, and unexpected twists, making her a favorite among fans of the mystery genre.

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    The Turn of the Key FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Turn of the Key?

    Innocence is uncertain in The Turn of the Key, as a nanny finds herself entangled in a web of secrets.

    How long does it take to read The Turn of the Key?

    The reading time for The Turn of the Key varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Turn of the Key a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Turn of the Key is a gripping read that keeps you guessing until the end. It's definitely worth your time.

    Who is the author of The Turn of the Key?

    The author of The Turn of the Key is Ruth Ware.

    How many chapters are in The Turn of the Key?

    The Turn of the Key has 36 chapters.

    How many pages are in The Turn of the Key?

    The Turn of the Key contains 384 pages.

    When was The Turn of the Key published?

    The Turn of the Key was published in 2019.

    What to read after The Turn of the Key?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Turn of the Key, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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