The Au Pair

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Cleverly written suspense/ family novel that keeps the reader turning pages. “Just one more chapter” is not enough. One must keep reading until all is revealed..
Was this review helpful?
First, this book is absolutely bonkers (which is the only real connection to VC Andrews). There's a lot of "elegant family with a ton of secrets" and what I'm pretty sure is a love rectangle. It's complicated; I wish I had a chart.

This is a fun read, and I read the bulk of it with snow falling outside. It worked surprisingly well, given the fact that a lot of it takes place at the family estate called Summerbourne. (There is also one called Winterbourne.)

It's best to go in knowing as little as possible, but it's easy to enjoy this book either way. This is going to be one of those books that gets people talking, so I recommend reading it as quickly as possible before someone spoils it for you.
Was this review helpful?
This was a mighty good suspenseful tale of family secrets and misfortunes never told, and what can happen when one starts asking questions.  The inquiring mind belongs to Seraphin (a name new to me and highly distracting, since I kept wondering how it's pronounced, why didn't they just call her Sara for short instead of Seph, etc., etc.).  Her chapters were less interesting, as her character seemed shallow and undeveloped.  After finding a snapshot of her family taken on the day of her birth, and the day of her mother's suicide,  she becomes obsessed with finding out if she actually belongs in this family or if something shady transpired that day.  There are rumors of there being only one baby born, rather than two, or maybe there were three.

The alternating chapters belonged to the au pair, spanning the eleven months just before Seraphin and her twin brother were born.  Here's  where we see how the secrets came into being.  The au pair knows everything, it appears, but someone is threatening her not to talk about it.

As all is finally revealed, you had better be paying attention or it could become downright confusing.  I had most of it figured out but there still remained some details, which kept coming and coming and coming.  Maybe the final chapter could have been eliminated altogether to give the reader more to imagine.   Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.
Was this review helpful?
This was the first book I have read by Emma Rous and after hearing so many wonderful things from others about this book I was excited to read it. This book had me hooked from the beginning. A family full of secrets, lies and keeping up with appearances. What more could you ask for in a thriller novel?

I enjoyed reading about the family dynamics and secrets of the Mayes’ family. So many secrets are revealed and truths are told that will shock you right through to the very shocking ending. An edge-of-your-seat thriller that will keep you guessing and has no shortage of surprises and shocking twists.

Which secrets did the Mayes’ family au pair learn? Why did she abandon the Mayes’ family all those years ago?

If you love thrillers this book is a definite must read to add to your list. You will not be disappointed!
Was this review helpful?
A picture inspires Seraphine to seek answers to her mother's death, just hours after the birth of her babies. But, the photo only shows her holding one baby. Who is the baby and what happened to the Au Pair who fled at the same time - a captivating book about family secrets.
Was this review helpful?
I love a book that keeps me guessing and turning the pages. And this one did just that. I had no idea where the chips were going to fall. 

Told in dual viewpoints and timelines, each story was compelling and held my interest. The characters—especially Laura, Seraphine, and Ruth—were flawed, but believable characters that had me rooting for their happy endings.

This book is a great family secret mystery with a touch of modern gothic. 

I received an ARC of this title. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Does Laura, the au pair, have the answer to the question that no one would ever answer?

Does she know why Seraphine's mother threw herself off a cliff right after she gave birth? 

Seraphine hopes so because she must know the answer now that her father has also passed away, but no one wants to talk about it. 

Well...not until Seraphine tells her grandmother she would like to talk to Laura to see if she can shed some light on what happened. Her grandmother panics and pleads with Seraphine to NOT talk to Laura.  This arouses more curiosity for Seraphine.

Grandmother Vera also tells Seraphine that Summerborne House will go to her brother Danny and not her.  That news has Seraphine running out of the house.  

Why will it go to Danny and not her when she lives there? But Grandmother Vera didn't say why and won't say why.

Of course, Seraphine does not listen to her grandmother's request and apparent warning.  What she finds out causes more questions and more danger, but who are the ones that are in danger and what does what she finds out mean?

THE AU PAIR takes us from past to present as we learn about the Mayes family and the situations and activities that took place twenty-five years ago that are still puzzling today.

We hear Laura's voice from the past as she familiarizes herself with the house and the family when she first arrives and her life as the au pair at Summerbourne. 

Then we hear Seraphine's voice present day as she searches for answers from her brothers, her grandmother, and anyone who may have known her mother.

There is plenty of mystery to keep you intrigued along with Ms Rous's alluring writing and secretive characters. 

The flashbacks and description of life at Summerbourne at that time were marvelous.  Old estates with all those rooms, the estate's family, and the folks that work on an estate are always a draw for me.

THE AU PAIR will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy secrets, mysteries, family dynamics, time travel, and descriptions that put you in the book with the characters.  

Nothing can top a good old mystery with family secrets, right? 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Seraphine Mayes is devastated when her father has a freak accident and dies. As she goes through his things, she finds a family photo of the day she and her twin brother were born. The strange thing is, there is only one twin in the photo. She’s not sure if it’s her or her brother, but where is the other twin? Her mother looks happy enough. However, later that day her mother committed suicide and threw herself off a cliff.  To say the least, Seraphine finds the picture very strange.

As Seraphine questions her grandmother and older brother, she soon realizes her family has many secrets. The small town is constantly gossiping about them. Seraphine is determined to get answers and she starts with the au pair who vanished right after that picture was taken.

This story is filled with intrigue. It’s dark and mysterious and took me in a direction I wasn’t expecting. When I started to figure it all out, I learned that I didn't. There were even more twists in store for the readers. I couldn’t put this one down until I had all the answers.

There was one part I found a bit unbelievable, but it didn’t ruin the story for me. It just made it more intriguing. The story is told from two different view points, in two different time periods. I found this to be an interesting and captivating way to tell the story.

The Au Pair had the feel of a good old fashioned Gothic novel.
Was this review helpful?
WOW.  a twisty turny suspensful story.  
I could feel the cold English weather on the beach as i read this story.  
I thought it was very though provoking and wonderful. 

I received an Advance Review Copy of this book.  All opinions are my own. 



n!nj@
Was this review helpful?
As a book takes me on a journey I find myself wondering where I am going, what’s going to happen next, if I can figure it out too early I sometimes lose interest.    With The Au Pair I was kept guessing, kept peeking around the corners waiting for the next clue, and kept turning page after page until I ran out of pages.    

One picture can change the entire dynamic of a family.   It can open doors that are much better kept shut; it can bring up questions that should never be asked.    But once that door is open it can never be shut again.   Seraphina starts questioning everything that she once knew to be true and starts unweaving the story of her life.   With each string, she pulls she finds another story that doesn’t quite fit.    

The dual timelines and the twists and turns kept me reading, kept me up at night reading, and makes this a 5-star book.   It is everything it was promised to be and more.   There were amazing characters, wonderful settings, twisted stories,  family dynamics to figure out, and so much more.
Was this review helpful?
Seraphine's birth was surrounded in mystery. The only thing she is always told is that after giving birth to twins her mother committed suicide. She hears rumors of there is only one baby born or that the twins are changelings. After her father's death, Seraphine decides to look for the au pair who was there while her mother was pregnant.

There are many twists in this book that left me confused and unable to guess what really happened that night of the birth. The ending was nice. It didn't have a 'and they lived happily ever after' because the 'and they're going to work through their problems' felt more appropriate.
Was this review helpful?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

If you want a book that ends with a huge, unbelievable twist, then The Au Pair by Emma Rous is going to be the one for you!

What it's about: Seraphine Mayes and her brothers Danny and Edwin lost their mom to suicide when she and Danny were newborn twins. Their older brother Edwin's au pair disappeared shortly after that, and the surrounding village buzzed with gossip. Now at age 25, Seraphine has just lost her father to a freak accident when she finds a strange picture at their family's summer estate. It is a picture of her mother, but holding only 1 baby, not 2. Seraphine becomes consumed with finding out what really happened that day her mom died, and even after mysterious threats, will not stop until she finds out the truth. 

I basically read this book in one day because I couldn't stop turning pages and it was very consuming. It took me just over 5 hours so I would consider this a very quick read. The viewpoints switch between Seraphine and the au pair Laura, and it was such a great way for the author to make everything come together. Seraphine's POV was in the present while Laura's was in the past so you got an idea of what was happening at both times.

Then.. the shocking conclusion!! I kind of had an idea of part of a twist, but I was pretty shocked at most of what happened. I do have to say though, that the ending did get a little far-fetched. And I don't normally say that because it's fiction so that's kinda what I expect. It wasn't particularly believable but it was definitely shocking. NOTE: I am fine with the ending, I just want to make sure people are aware that it is pretty far out there. 

Final Thought: The Au Pair was a novel that I had been looking forward to, and it did not disappoint me! The pacing is quick, it's chalk full of mystery, and there is plenty of drama. What more could a gal ask for? I can't wait to read more from Rous!
Was this review helpful?
A Gothic Mansion, Twins, and a Long Ago Death

Devastated by the death of her father, Seraphine Mayes finds a photo that starts her on a quest to find out what happened on the day she and her twin brother, Danny, were born, and her mother threw herself off the cliffs surrounding Summerbourne, the Gothic mansion on the coast where the twins grew up. The twins had a series of nannys, but not Laura, the nanny who cared for their older brother, Edwin, and ran away on the day their mother died. It’s a time no one wants to talk about. 

The atmosphere at Summerbourne is both enticing and creepy. You can understand why Seraphine loves the beauty, but feels the tension of underlying secrets. I enjoyed the descriptions of the old estate on the coast. For me, it made the story enjoyable. 

The story is told from the alternating points of view of Laura, 1991, and Seraphine, 2017. Both settings were realistic although I preferred the Summerbourne of 1991 before the tragedy. The estate seemed somewhat dingy and sad in 2017. 

The main characters are good. I found Seraphine’s grief a little overdone, but it drove her to solve the mystery of her birth. The secondary characters, Edwin and his friend Josh, are likable. They are a good foil for Seraphine’s distress. 

If you enjoy romance and mystery with a Gothic undertone, this is a very enjoyable book. 

I received this book from Net Galley for this review.
Was this review helpful?
Seraphine and her brother were only hours old when their mother threw herself off a cliff.  She'd been moody and a bit crabby but no one expected suicide.  Was it or wasn't it?

Berkley and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you). It is being published today.

This is a house of secrets.  The children are turning 25 and while Danny is happy with thing the way they are, Seraphine feels like she's not who they've been telling her she is.  When their father falls and dies from his injuries, she feels like she's afloat.  She wants to know why her mother died so she tries to find the Au Pair that was working there at the time of birth.  Some secrets might be better off left that way...

There are new loves, old loves, hidden facts, and even evil plans afoot.  The truth is a very complicated matter and doesn't necessarily make anyone happy.  This house has more complications than Peyton Place.

I don't read a lot of this type of book but I enjoyed the history of the family they shared and the drama kept me glued to the pages until I was done with the book.  There's sadness and happiness both in this story.  If you start reading this, I bet you'll finish it.  Get ready for backstabbing, scandal and murder all mixed in one pot...
Was this review helpful?
The first I had heard of this one was last summer and it was being compared to V. C. Andrews, and that was enough for me to add this to my must read pile. Andrews was one of the first authors I followed closely, I spent at least a couple of years in middle school reading her various series and was totally captivated by her brand of domestic drama and over the top crazy plot lines. Surely my tastes have matured since then, but even so I do still love a family drama with gothic undertones and despite a few minor issues with this one, I can see why the comparison holds weight.
This is told in two timelines, Seraphine in 2017 after she finds an old family picture that raises more than a few questions and then it flips back to Laura when she begins a job as an au pair for Seraphine’s family. Rous is a good writer, there was definitely a dark, moody edge to her style that worked for me, but along with that melancholy vibe came a pretty slow pace. It did pick up some in the end, but this does require some patience for most of the book.
This does require the reader to suspend some disbelief in the end, I did kind of shake my head at a few reveals, but if that doesn’t bother you, this will be perfect. There were shocking revelations for sure, just don’t look too deep and ask too many questions and you’ll enjoy the ride!
Was this review helpful?
I'm not ashamed to admit it's been awhile since I've been this excited to try not only a new author, but to start a mystery that sounded so compelling.

I was right to be excited about both. 

I. Could. Not. Put. This. Down. 

Every bit the page turner that the synopsis promised to be, it was tantalizing, intriguing, thought provoking and irresistible. I needed to know all the details of both the past and the present. In Short, I just needed it all.

The Au Pair was well written and flowed seamlessly through both the past and the present and each was just as entertaining and intriguing as the last. 
As the chapters went on and more and more of the mystery unfolded, I found that I was constantly guessing what was about to happen next and wondering if I was right about who exactly the twins were and in some instances, hoping I was wrong. 

With twists and turns that kept me on my toes and on constantly on edge, this truly has been one of my favorite mystery reads of 2019 and one I won't be forgetting soon.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars
In this gothic suspense tale, Seraphine Mayes searches for her beginnings after finding a picture that disrupts everything she knows about her family.   I really can't say more than what's in the blurb because you'll want to experience this story yourself -- most of the fun here is from the gradual unveiling of what really happened at Summerbourne.

The story is told in alternating points of view -- a chapter from Seraphine in the current time and then a chapter from the au pair in her time, with the creepy cool Summerbourne estate as the place where it all happens. I really did love how this story was told.  It made the events from the past seen up close and personal .  

It takes a few chapters to get to the good stuff, and you'll probably guess some of what is going on, but there was enough to keep me reading and I was a bit surprised with some of the twists and turns that come furiously fast in the final chapters.  I did like the quicker pace of the second half of the book.

There's a great cast of secondary characters in The Au Pair.  I particularly loved Edwin -- he was a bright star among the darkness at Summerbourne in both the early days and current day. His childhood friend Joel was a lovely surprise as well.  The story really revolves around the circumstances of Seraphine and Danny's birth, and as someone who primarily reads contemporary romance, it was nice to have some relationship material in the story as well.

I really did like The Au Pair.  I love a good gothic thriller and The Au Pair hit the bullseye for me. I did find the beginning a bit slow, and there were a few scenes that I would have liked "more" from, but overall, this was a satisfying gothic suspense story that I enjoyed reading.

An ARC was provided for review.
Was this review helpful?
An exquisitely spun web of spellbinding secrets and dark deceit! 

This suspenseful story Will keep you riveted from first line to last... a magical tale that will awaken your imagination and stretch your mind....Emma Rouz has woven together an enchanting story that will make the unbelievable believable....

This book is like a walk on a foggy morning... when you start out you can barely see your hand in front of your face... but as you go on the fog begins to Clear... The path is Windee with some unexpected twists and you may not end up where you originally thought you would.... but every step was SO  worth the satisfying end....

A grande estate, a set of twins, a mysterious photograph, and a rumor of a curse... Seraphine has always felt as though she didn’t quite belong... so when she discovers a picture after her father passes away... A picture with only one baby...Seraphine is more convinced than ever that things are not as she’s been told her entire life.... is the baby in the picture her or her twin brother Danny? And why are both babies not in the picture? And how can her mother look so happy when merely hours later she takes her own life? So many questions and only one person who knows the answers....

This book was told from duel perspectives... Seraphine and her struggle to finding who she really is... and Laura, The au pair, in 1991 when she was working for the family taking care of Edwin the twins older brother.... both these characters were likable and sympathetic, but I have to admit Laura really stole the show for me.... A better au pair  you could not ask for.... not to mention the girl was thrown into this dysfunctional family’s drama...

A captivating creepy story with a gothic vibe that will keep you glued to those pages! A dark deceptive tail that will leave your mind reeling and your heart racing! An absolute must read! Strongly recommend!

*** huge thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars for a solid debut novel
This is a book that I picked up because it sounded a bit different and I’m glad I did. 
We meet Seraphine shortly after her 25th birthday and shortly after her father’s death. We follow along with her as she investigates a family mystery that heavily involves Laura, the family’s former au pair. 
Told in dual point of view and following dual timelines, the story in The Au Pair is complex and compelling. I have to confess that I didn’t feel a strong affinity for any of the characters, but I was quickly invested in seeing how things played out. 
Heavy on intrigue and just a bit sinister, the story line kept me engaged and curious as to what would happen next and the motives behind the secrecy. I am pleased to say that the end is one I didn’t expect, but found completed everything nicely. 
This is an author whose work I would read again.
Was this review helpful?
The Au Pair is such a great book that I could not put it down.  I do admit that I had to read several parts of the ending a couple of times because all of the various relationships were so confusing - but not in a bad way, more in a “wow, this is twisty, convoluted and amazing” kind of way.  I really enjoyed the characters and the story.  This would make an a great movie too!
Was this review helpful?