The Au Pair

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley.

Domestic drama. Rich family with nannies, add in a few mysterious deaths. Honestly, the MC should have just left her family’s history alone.
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The Au Pair by Emma Rous is a 2019 Berkley Books publication.

A wickedly dark, wildly entertaining, mesmerizing tale!

Seraphine Mayes is mourning the untimely death of her father, who died in a freak accident. Staying on at her family’s summer home, she is going through her father’s things, when she finds a photo of her mother taken on the day she committed suicide by throwing herself off a cliff. But, what strikes her as odd, is that her mother had just given birth to twins- Seraphine and her brother Danny- when the photo was snapped. However, her mother is only holding one baby.

At the edge of the photo is a woman, later identified as ‘Laura’, the au pair, who had been hired to care for Seraphine’s older brother, at the time.

Why is there only one baby in the photo? Which baby is in the picture? Is it Seraphine or Danny?

With no one willing, or able, to answer her questions, Seraphine goes in search of the only other adult present that day who can provide her with answers- the Au Pair.

This is a bizarre, twisted family saga filled to the brim with secrets, misconceptions, coverups, and deceptions. The atmosphere drew me it immediately, as did the stylish blend of noir mixed with contemporary Gothic. The dual timeline is the perfect format for this type of story, with Laura narrating events from the past, and Seraphine providing the present -day narrative. The past and present slowly converges with ripples of shockwaves building to a massive eruption, leaving every single character-and the reader- shaken to the core.

There’s plenty to chew on if one wishes to delve into the psychology of the story, which is deeper than it may appear. Seraphine, especially, has specific fears which drive her to obsessively seek proof of her heritage and identity. The folklore tales of “Sprites” and the rumor of a family cure only heightens Seraphine’s paranoia. The many revelations and mind-bending twists, however, are jaw-droppingly entertaining.

This book has been compared to the V.C. Andrews’ style of shocking Gothic family theatrics by some editorial reviewers, as well as to Kate Morton, who famously combines the past with the present, and adds a Gothic flavor to her stories, as well. Initially, I scoffed at such a notion, but strange as it sounds, the two styles do complement one another. So, I’m going to concur. However, I think this book can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is historical fiction, a domestic family drama, and a suspenseful mystery. Also, if you are a fan of Gothic novels, old or new, or if you like a story with a ‘noir-ish’ atmosphere, this book is one you might want to consider.

Overall, this is my kind of book! A gripping, spellbinding tale and a very impressive debut by Emma Rous
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Great thriller. Will share this one with customers at the store. Excellent read. #thriller #greatread #customerreccomendation
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Very intriguing mystery with strong gothic overtones. The split timeline ups the interest and makes reveals more meaningful by getting more perspective on it. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would.
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A psychological thriller that definitely kept me guessing! I enjoyed the back and forth between the two timelines (one from the POV the modern day woman, and one from the POV of the au pair who watched her family before she was born). There was a little touch of romance which I like, and a little bit of crazy which kept things interesting. I think fans of the genre will enjoy! 

**PS. I got this one on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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In this suspenseful novel, Emma Rous brings together family secrets, mysterious deaths and cursed twins in a compelling mystery with Gothic overtones set in a family estate on the Norfolk coast.

Seraphine Mayes, her twin Danny, and their older brother, Edwin, are grieving over the tragic death of their father.Their father raised them alone because on the day that Seraphine and Danny were born, their mother, Ruth, threw herself off the cliffs near their Norfolk home. As Seraphine is going through her father's belongings, she comes across a photo taken on the day that she and Danny were born. It shows their well dressed, smiling mother next to their father and older brother holding just one baby, not two.  Soon after this picture was taken, their mother killed herself, or did she?

Seraphine has always felt like an outsider in the family because she  doesn't look like her twin. After seeing this picture with only one baby she decides to track down Laura,the au pair, who took care of  their older brother, Edwin. Maybe she has some answers. However Laura doesn't want to talk to her about what went on during that summer of 1992 when the twins were born. 

Her brothers tell her to leave it alone but Laura has to know. The town has always been filled with gossip about their family and their home, Summerbourne. Edwin was also a twin and his brother died. The people in town think that the Summerbourne house and their family might be cursed and they don''t want to talk to Seraphine about what happened back in 1992 either.

The novel shifts between Seraphine in 2017 and Laura, the au pair, in 1992. There are a lot of surprises in this novel and it kept me reading to find out what really happened. I found the ending to be surprising and a little bit implausible but I did enjoy The Au Pair. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.
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Rivetting and one that will not leave you until you finish the book! This book is categorized as a "book hangover."

If you are looking for a gripping and compelling story, grab this one now!
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The Au Pair offers an intriguing mystery and a lovely setting that will pull you in and keep you turning the pages. I really enjoyed the dual time periods. I enjoyed the past setting a bit more, mainly because I preferred the historical POV character to the contemporary one but both time periods are well written and the jumps between flow naturally.
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A twisty tale about twins whose mother throws herself off a cliff right after their birth. But are they really twins? What actually happened? Alas, a slow start and messy plotting marred the suspense. 3 of 5 Stars

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. Pub Date: 08 Jan 2019. #TheAuPair #NetGalley
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The Au Pair is a twisty suspense novel that explores family dramas from the past. This is a great read for fans of Ruth Ware. I enjoyed how this book was written, with chapters alternating between the past and present, featuring two different characters. If you enjoy books that make you want to keep reading, pick up The Au Pair!
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The au pair is a dark, twisted novel that sweeps you away from the first page. Great writing, nice storyline
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Could not get into this book.  The story has promise but lacked any depth.  One of the current very popular thrillers that seem to demand they be quick reads without substance.  My apologies not my cup of tea.
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This one was slow starting for me, even though I was very interested in the plot summary. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Summerborne and the English landscape surrounding it. It was intricate and simple all at once and I really felt I was within the walls of the house alongside Seph. 
I also enjoyed the alternating timelines between past and present. They made for good pacing as the story unfolded. I knew this was a "thriller" but it didn't really feel like one in the usual sense. Things unfolded in such a way that I was just interested in the story, and not so much rushing to get to the resolution, and I appreciated that! After the twists were exposed, I enjoyed reading the resolution and how things ultimately ended in the book.
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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I had a very hard time getting into this one, but i still gave it a try and i am so glad i did! If you are looking for a twisted family story... for a book that you wont know in advance what will happen and for a book that will surprise you. The au pair is the book for you! I lived seraphine! Loved how bold she was and determined!  Great read! Keep reading if you think the first pages are blah... It starts slowly but the pace gets much faster
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Super dark domestic thriller that had me guessing throughout, with a gothic feel that I just loved., perfect for reading in one sitting on a chilly rainy afternoon.
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Review limited to Goodreads due to two star rating.

I have to say that this book did not do anything for me. 

I found it formulaic and nothing about it stood out to me for quality above and beyond than what I have read in other books read. IMHO, it was just a very bland, dime a dozen work. If I didn't schedule to write it, I would push it aside for other books I am reviewing. 

As a result, I cannot recommend this book. Reviewed for publisher for honest review.
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There was much talk about changelings in the book and I honestly this was a sneaky supernatural book parading as a contemporary title. I won't tell you if I was right or wrong... As to the family mystery-holy cow. I kind of suspected SOMETHING related to it, but yeah, I was wrong! I liked how the alternating chapters ended up coming together in the end to the present day-which is something the author discusses in her note or Q&A section in the back of the book; I thought that was a pretty cool touch. It also made the book that much more interesting as there was not a lot of unnecessary "filler" narrative; it allowed the story to move quickly and keep the reader hooked long enough to read another chapter, then another until the end and you go 'well damn.'
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I love thrillers. There is no denying that.
The Au Pair was a fantastic read. It kept me guessing and wondering exactly what was going on the entire time. I seem to have a particular affinity for domestic thrillers with deep rooted family secrets and this book absolutely delivers on that front.
Definitely make some time if you decide to pick this one up because you won't want to put it down until you turn the last page.
Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to review this book!
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DNF at 10%. Good premise but after one page I knew I wasn't going to like this and I wished I'd been able to read an excerpt first. I was really surprised at how weak the writing was and the plot begins in such a forced, manufactured way I knew this wasn't for me. I pushed on for a bit because I was optimistic it would improve but there are way too many awesome books coming out this year to waste on something I know I won't like or recommend. Nothing new here to distinguish it from de la Pena, Shapiro, Ware, etc.
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