Cover Image: The Caretakers

The Caretakers

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Member Reviews

"The Caretakers" is the latest installment of new releases dealing with caregiving, and in particular nannies. Bestor-Siegal puts her own twist on the genre, setting it in Paris with American au pairs. The story opens with the death of Julien, a young child cared for by his au pair, Alena. From then on, the reader is propelled through a series of asynchronous vignettes about the various families, nannies, and children that make up the the neighborhood. The cast of characters is wide, perhaps too much so. The characters, especially the au pairs, blend together. I struggled to care about any of them, and even when the details of Julien's demise is revealed at the end, I was underwhelmed. I did appreciate the very modern, and in my view, accurate view of present day Parisian society. These families are dealing with the fears of terrorism, xenophobia, racism. There are no day trips to eat baguettes in front of the Eiffel Tower here (except in one scene, where an American love interest gushes about the Eiffel Tower much to the embarrassment of his friend). While the setting felt fresh and well-thought out, "The Caretakers" ultimately ended up feeling like a long trip to nowhere with the very worst company.
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Thanks to Netgalley for giving me early access to this book, I will be giving my honest opinion about this story. I didn't like it that much
 The characters weren't that likeable and the story had alot of moments where it seemed to just drag on and on. I won't be reading another book of this author.
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A child has died and the culprit is the American au pair.  Someone knows the truth and the story of what led up to the death.  

I wouldn't necessarily call it a thriller, you are not on the edge of your seat wondering who did it.  You are however entranced by the stories of all of the different characters in the story.  The parents, the au pairs, and the French teacher.  They all have something in their past that has led them to where they are now, and many of them are trying to hide it.
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“Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us” - Marcel Proust.  It’s not until the end of this book that you realize just how well placed this quote is at the epigraph.

This book captivated me from the very beginning. As an American, I too have dreamed of living in what I imagine Paris to be, knowing that my perception is most likely different from that of Parisians.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints at different places in time. We know from the start the community is built on host families, au pairs and a tragic death will occur, but how it all plays out kept me coming back for more and more. Was murder involved? Bestow-Seigal does an exceptional job at giving each character an authentic voice.

The book gave me new insight into the au pair world. We all know au pairs live with families to care for children, but I didn’t know about communities and how au pairs meet others and form friendships. I didn’t know about au pair language classes.

While the chapters are on the longer side, I enjoyed the book immensely.  I’m left with words from au pair, Holly, “But I guess… when I came to Paris I came with me,” which reminds me you can never escape your past or “reinvent” yourself. Your history is part or you good and bad and you bring those experiences with you into your future decisions and adventures. You must stay open throughout life.

Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.
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While reading THE CARETAKERS, I had a bit of a difficult time moving through. The movement between the characters was a bit confusing at times. In hindsight, I should have written a few notes on the different caretakers (even though there were not many).

By the end of the book, I could easily see the full circle of the story. I was still a bit confused by the mystery. The book seemed to very slowly build-up to the resolution, but there was WAY too much information about other characters. I feel this book should have been shorter, maybe not so many caretakers who did not seem to have any connection to the mystery. I was not as satisfied with the middle of the book as I was with the ending, again the full circle of the mystery.
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