The Safe Place

A Novel

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Pub Date 14 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 14 Jul 2020
St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books

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Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downes's debut, The Safe Place, is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

Welcome to paradise...will you ever be able to leave?

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn't play along, the consequences could be deadly.

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downes's debut, The Safe Place, is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of...

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ISBN 9781250264800
PRICE $26.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ms. Downes has written a wonderful, engaging book with characters that you love, hate, and just plain wonder about. The writing style makes you feel that you are physically standing there with the characters and are privy to their inner secrets.

There is a small, core group of characters which makes the story all the more intimate. Scott Denny is the founder of a Capital Investment Firm. While he lives and works in London, his wife Nina and their daughter Aurelia live full-time on the coast of France on an estate called Querencia.

Scott hires Emily Proudman - a part-time actress, part-time temp receptionist to go and live in France with his family to keep Nina company. He doesn't give her full details of the job other than basic duties that she will have like housekeeping and occasional child-minding. While Emily was a temp at his offices, she caught his eye as someone who really needed a job and might just fit the bill for his family. He makes her sign a Confidentiality Agreement. She wonders about it at the time but doesn't give it too much thought as many jobs entail Non-disclosure Agreements. To Emily it sounds like a dream come true....a car, an expense account, a house to live does sound too good to be true but Emily doesn't notice that - at first.

As bits and pieces start to bother Aurelia's illness, the massive security on the property, why Emily is not allowed inside the main house and who exactly is Amandine Tessier.

This book was very difficult to put down and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Ms. Downes in the future.

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Dynamically written. Plot twists like crazy. I read The Safe Place in one day. Stayed up WAY past bedtime and am NOT sorry! Will recommend to patrons and for book club use.

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This book was received as an ARC from St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I could not get enough of this book. This was very tough to stop and every time you thought you had the book figured out, a new twist happens that is unexpected. There is Emily Proudman who had it all but suddenly lost everything she had including her job, and her home. Then comes Scott who is a business mogul that has everything imaginable and he hires Emily as a housekeeper on his estate. Emily meets his wife and son and with a house poolside, she thought she has everything she ever wanted until she realizes that life isn't always exactly what it seems. Scott and Nina are secretly dangerous and if Emily leaves, her life is at risk almost like she is trapped in paradise. Emily does the best she can by playing along and getting out while she still has the chance. I absolutely love this book and when it is released, it will be nominated as a pick for our Adult Book Club. I can't wait to share it with our community.

We will consider adding this title to our Adult Fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

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Great debut novel! Emily is a young woman unsure of what her life goals are, and after being fired from her temp job, her boss comes back with another offer for her to help his wife and daughter at an seaside estate in France. What starts as the ultimate dream job and too good to be true paradise slowly becomes a nightmare. Close knit family, an unstable and mysterious wife and child, leads Emily into all kinds of terrifying situations. This was a well thought out plot, and I read it way past my bedtime; it was hard to put down. There were many plot twists, and just when I thought I’d figured something out, along came another twist. Spellbinding would not be too strong an adjective for this book! A thoroughly enjoyable, nail biting read, and kept my interest throughout, all the way to the last page. I highly recommend this mystery thriller.
Thank you to the author, netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Fantastic book by Anna Downes. This is my first book by the author and it won't be the last. This had wonderful character development with insane plot twists. This is one I couldn't put down. I look forward to reading more by Anna.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I really liked this book. I did not know where the author was going with it for while. I enjoyed the characters and I liked the back and forth of the writing style. I would recommend this book by Anna Downes!

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The Safe Place is THE must-read psychological thriller this summer. Clean, crisp writing couples with sinister family secrets and the beautiful French countryside to create the most juicy and devourable story. I can't recommend this enough.

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Wow! Loved this book.. great characters, great plot, great writing. Just when you think you know how it ends, there's another plot twist. Couldn't put it down!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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First of all this book was awesome!! Each and every character in the book was well rounded and had a sense of mystery to them which I love. I could not put this book down reading late into the night knowing I had to wake up with a 4 year old and 1 year old at 7AM I just had to find out what happened. Totally worth it!!! 5 bright stars to a very talented author.

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Wow!! I absolutely loved this book. Definitely an interesting and intruiging plot. Great descriptions of places and characters and the authors vivid description of food left my mouth watering, This was a page turner for me, and I finished the book in one sitting. Kept me hooked until the end and I absolutely loved the plot twist in the middle of the book. Helped to tie everything up at the end of the book. Is it bad to like and feel sorry for the bad guys?

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This book was absolutely a page turner for me. From the prologue I was hooked and had to know everything about the two protagonists. I loved the plot line and the character development that occurs throughout the book. You learn a lot about all of the characters and their back story. I could not put this book and found myself up late at night to finish this thriller/mystery. I absolutely loved this book and can not stop raving about it to my husband and friends. Thank you so much netgalley and publisher for this advanced copy. It’s definitely one I will be rereading again. I give this book five out of five amazing stars!

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An intriguing mystery for the modern gothic lover. If you’re a fan of books with endings that have a huge twist, then this one is for you.

Seeing things from multiple characters’ perspectives also makes this book extremely engaging.

The main character Emily is a genuinely likable character, one that you would sympathize with. She’s a friendly and kind girl but quite down on her luck. She gets manipulated into working for a high flying CEO named Scott, as a companion/ nanny for his wife and daughter, who live in a lovely accommodation in France.

Something just seems off right from the start, even though the house and surrounding areas are exquisite and the wife is an ethereal beauty who is nearly perfect in every way. The allegory is that “all that glitters is not gold.”

Thus begins the guessing game, where you can never quite put your finger on what exactly is happening, until the shocking climax. Plenty of red herrings along the way kept me guessing, but I couldn’t figure it out till the very end.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to read a thrilling mystery or psychological horror.

Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley, for sending me an advance copy of this book for an honest review.

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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review

Emily is a flighty, lost 20-something working for Simon, a high-powered private equity manager. After being fired from her temp job, Simon gives her what seems like a perfect job: being a nanny, caretaker, and companion to Nina, his wife, and their daughter Aurelia. But all is not as it seems, and Emily realizes it is too good to be true. Emily is also adopted, and this is utilized as an underlying theme.

Wow! This was a great read and suspenseful from start to finish. You know something is *off* but you don't know what it is and the twists are fresh and original. A perfect beach read -- the book is fast-paced and had me googling French chateaux for sale in between chapters. The characters were in-depth and I was captivated throughout the book. A must-read for summer 2020!

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The Safe Place — Review

Spoiler Alert: The Safe Place by Anna Downes is one of those “can’t put down” books.

A huge thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this work.

My genre is thrillers, and this thriller had everything I wanted, which is why I blissfully give The Safe Place 5 stars.

Sweet, pitiful Emily was such a lovable character from the very beginning. There is no trace of self-confidence when it comes to this protagonist. She’s smart, but gullible. She just wants to be seen; she wants to be heard.

Then marches in Scott Denny. I have to admit something here. I have an uncle by the same name, so I didn’t quite fall for this character in the way that I think Downes intended for her readers. Emily, however, is smitten from the beginning.

I will say, Scott was definitely a man of mystery. He hides his baggage well.

Speaking of his baggage, let’s call them Nina (Scott’s wife) and Aurelia (Scott’s daughter), you’ll want to pay close attention to these characters. There’s a lot of unpacking to do.

The location of this story is a character in itself. Querencia is a beautiful beachfront estate on the French coast. You could call the Dennys Pandora and Querencia their box. This place is their home and it houses all of their secrets.

Favorite Quote
“Everyone was carrying something, she was beginning to realize. The world was a much darker and more complicated place than she’d ever thought.”

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So this is definitely one of my favorite types of books where you have multiple characters telling the story. This makes it interesting because you are seeing both sides of the story as it happens. This style of storytelling also compels you to want to turn the page to the next chapter.

Poor Emily's day went from good to worse but little does she know that some of it is totally out of her control. I will be curious to find out why Scott has "chosen" Emily and what he has in store for her. Does it have something to do with Nina and if so what? At this point in time anything positive that is offered to her will be pleasing as her life cant get any worse than it currently is. Or can it??

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Anna Downes has won me over! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of this story and I found myself excited to head back to this beautiful French estate even if something is off and not right at all. Being cooped up in my home with what seems like the fifth winter this year I was so quickly lost into the story, the people and the setting. I felt the characters were likable and relatable. This is the summer read for 2020. A place you can go when you can't go on vacation. While some may find it predictable I did not at all and enjoyed the mystery unravel before me. I will put Anna Downes right next to my Ruth Ware books as she has earned my respect. Bravo! I highly recommend as the read to kick-off summer or a good mystery beach-read.

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This was a most unusual and well done read. Emily, an unemployed actress, was working as a temp Receptionist at a London company. After she was fired for incompetence she met the company’s owner who offered her a companion/housekeeper type job at his home on the French coast. She took the job and was flown there in a private plane. It was a gated two house estate in the middle of nowhere. His wife and child lived there with a very stoic handyman who came in daily. Emily and Nina (the wife) developed a very close relationship and she also became close to their child, a six year old girl who didn’t speak and also had some behavior issues. Going further into the plot would lead to too many spoilers but for anyone who enjoys reading psychological thrillers, I would highly recommend this novel. Thanks to Net Galley and Minotaur for an ARC for an honest review.

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Emily has nothing going for her until the job of a lifetime drops in her lap. Imagine! What could be more perfect? Her fabulously rich boss wants her to help out his wife at his beautiful estate in France. There’s a little girl, Scott and Nina’s daughter, Aurelia, who appears to be a handful. That’s pretty normal for children from time to time, though, and Emily feels she can win her over.
Emily finds her life busy and rich with Nina’s and even Aurelia’s friendships. Why Scott needed her to sign a contract protecting his family’s privacy and property isn’t of great concern, at least, at first. Why does Nina go off the deep end when strangers come accidentally close? Why can’t Aurelia speak and what is her strange medical condition? What is that smell in the Family House? The Safe Place may be anything but. You’ll find yourself holding your breath. This is a different kind of thriller, going into the past and bringing us into a dangerous future; the final decisions and actions for you to find out. Worse yet, is this more than fiction?
(I received this book as an advance reader's copy with permission given to post a review)

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This book is a blistering, whip-smart twisty thriller that absolutely blew my mind! Everything seems so real when told by the author. I felt like I could hop a plane and wander through the lush exclusionary Querencia. I could sit at a cafe and see Yves watching Emily as she sips a cafe au lait and learns the truth. I could feel Nina’s visceral fear, hope, and brittle link to reality. Scott strolls by me while blushing from a text that Emily sent. This was a hell of great story, and I’m so grateful to the publisher and NetGalley for my free ARC in exchange for my honest opinion! I have a new author to enjoy!

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I received an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was the kind of thriller you put everything else down for, until you can get to the end. It was enjoyable, but it was definitely a mindfuck to read, especially as a mother. Did not see any of that coming. Five awe-struck stars. I know I won't sleep well tonight.

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This book is one WILD ride! I could not put the book down since there were surprises around every corner. I am obsessed with these kind of suspenseful books, and I love how the twists and turns caught me by surprise! Anna Downes has a way to make you as a reader feel like a fly on the wall in the room with all of these dynamic characters. I cannot wait to recommend to my book club, followers, and friends! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for a copy of this book for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed reading this book. I was captivated by the story and I had a hard time putting it down. It was very atmospheric and I literally lost track of time reading it. The characters were well developed and they kept me engaged. I am thrilled that I got a chance to read the advanced copy through NetGalley.

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When I first read the description of this book, I knew I would love it. The main character, Emily, gets a "too good to be true" job offer in France. She takes it and immediately loves her interesting employers & unique work responsibilities. But as you guessed, it is too good to be true, and she begins to uncover some really shocking dark discoveries. What I love most about this thrilling mystery is that it is told from different perspectives. The author keeps you guessing the entire time with an ending that you won't see coming, I highly recommend this book and will be talking about it for a very long time!

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Excellent debut novel. Great pacing and world-building—atmospheric. One of my friends would say that her goal wasn't to write the "Great American Novel", it was to write the "Great American Beach Read". I feel like novels like this do their job perfectly, they entertain us and hold our attention with solid writing and well-developed characters. A solid selection for anyone looking for escape and entertainment, without having to sacrifice quality.

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I like to come up with alternate titles to books and in this case, it would be: If it seems to good to be true... I would say that Emily is having a bad day but that would be the mother of all understatements. Emily loses her agent, job and apartment on the same day if Emily was my friend I would suggest a spiritual cleansing and prayer to whatever deity of her choosing.

Now suspend disbelief for 10 seconds because gazooks Emily stumbles, trips, lands, face plants upon good luck called Scott and Nina. You see Scott suffers from the affliction of having too much money and having a problem enter center stage left Emily. Scott offers Emily a job as a housekeeper he can smell eau de perfume called desperation on Emily and no surprise SHE SAYS YES sign me up to do I dont know what on some island with just him, his wife and the daughter she is another treat.. Are you sitting wondering if maybe Emily doesn't have bad lucky and just maybe she isn't good at managing being adult because seriously same.

I want to say more but if I do there will be spoilers and I would much rather that you read this book hopefully by then we won't be sheltering in place and you can do so by the pool or at beach.

I really enjoyed this book, it was a great escape, I am a sucker for books that are set on a remote island.

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Wow ! I could not put this down I just had to know what was going to happen next ! Scott and Nina were hiding something and their daughter ? Something was off the entire time but when the truth was finally revealed I was shocked. a tiny detail in the beginning of the novel would tie this entire book together. Moments throughout I was confused but once I saw the entire picture it all made sense. Honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a long time !

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4.5 stars

Minotaur is one of my favorite publishers, and The Safe Place, with its alluring blue cover and interesting summary, caught my attention immediately. There's something inherently ominous about a thriller with the word "safe" in the title, isn't there?

Emily is struggling: with her job, her goals, with her life in general. Adopted at a young age, she feels like an outsider in her family and has no clear grasp on what her place in the world is going to be. She's broke, she's fired from her temp job, her acting agent drops her from her client list, and she has two weeks to vacate her apartment. With no other options, it seems too good to be true when her old boss reaches out with an amazing opportunity. If Emily is willing, she can take a new job within the company, move to a remote mansion in France to be a jack-of-all-trades with his wife, Nina, and daughter Aurelia. Things are idyllic, until they're not. Emily beings to suspect that there's something off about this family, and she's determined to find out what it is--no matter the consequence.

I have to say, going into this, I had no idea where this would end up, and, like Emily's time at Querencia, the twists were subtle, until they weren't. When we first meet her boss, Scott seems like he's going to be a Christian Gray figure. Charismatic, charming, dangerously handsome, and with a secret desire for pain, when I first read his offer (complete with NDA), I thought, oh, yeah. Definitely a weird sex dungeon in France. To save from revealing any spoilers, I'll just say that I was pleasantly surprised at how his character arc played out, even if it was miles from where I expected it to go.

Emily, too, is not your typical suspense MC. She's in a strange situation, she has no purpose or goals, and she has no clear idea of what she wants for herself. She's ambivalent about being a caregiver for Aurelia, but eventually comes to adore the child. She's not pitted against Nina, but instead enjoys her company and develops a sort of friendship with her that fills a hole in her heart from her own traumatic childhood. With this, the series of events is quiet and jarring. We never really know what's happening at Querencia until the final section of the book.

In a good way, though. There's no shortage of oddities and implied danger. Right off the bat, Nina makes the main house a no-go zone. You know it's only a matter of time until Emily's going to break that rule, but what happens when she does is the real intrigue.

While this might not be a heart-in-you-throat suspense, it is certainly a slow-burn with a satisfying conclusion, and I appreciated Anna Downes' handling of the character arcs and conflicts. If you like your suspense novels with exposition and buildup, characters with off-putting energy or questionable morals, this is the book for you. Overall, The Safe Place will leave you feeling anything but safe.

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Wow, what a perfect book for summer! Emily’s life is falling apart quickly and not what she expected for herself when her old boss offers her a job at his French home. It seems like the perfect solution to her current troubles.

Sit back and enjoy the ride.

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5 Stars!

The Safe Place is a terrific book! Very well written and unique, with plot twists I didn't see coming. The pacing is written like a slow burn that flares at just the right times. The unusual characters add both quirkiness and a dark undertone to the story, which is hard for an author to do. Kudos to Anna Downes for writing such an unusual, interesting story. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing an ARC of the book for an honest review.

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Thank you to Minotaur and Netgalley for letting me read this thriller ahead of its July publication date.

Nothing is going right for Emily. She’s fired from her temp job, her acting agent lets her go, she’s evicted from her apartment and has no money. Then seemingly out of nowhere, her old boss shows up and offers her a job as a live-in housekeeper for his wife and child at their home on the French coast. She has no other options so she jumps at the chance.

The place or should I say compound is beautiful and has everything a girl could want, pool, outdoor kitchen, her own room, and it’s all provided plus a salary.

But something is amiss. Why isn’t she allowed in the family house and what is wrong with the child, Aurelia?

I loved Downes debut book. It allowed me to escape from my home’s four walls for a couple of nights into an idyllic setting in coastal France. Other reviewers found the story line predictable. I did not. I thought Downes dropped just the right amount of clues and I had no idea what the issue even was until it was revealed in the book. The story is tense, you have to yell at Emily for being stupid a couple of times, but that had to be.

I did some research and found the story was inspired by a time when the author was a live-in housekeeper at a remote estate in France.

So she translated her real experience into a must-read thriller and I thank her for that. I recommend this title to any thriller reader.

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I appreciate NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. I really enjoyed reading about Emily. Emily with her issues and her messy life. She doesn't seem to be living the life she wants and even gets fired from her job when she attracts the attention of her boss. He offers her a new start at the estate his wife and daughter are living on in France. Emily decides to take a chance and goes to France where she finds a paradise. She meets Nina, Scott's wife, and Aurelia, his daughter who suffers from a multitude of health issues. Emily senses life at Quarencia is less perfect than it seems. There is an underlying smell. As she gets closer to the family the layers of their lives begin to fall away until she realizes the shocking reality of their family dysfunction. Will it be too late?

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This book was great. It was enjoyable from the first page to the last. I had never read anything by this author before. I really loved her writing style. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own

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Emily is down on her luck, recently fired from yet another temp job, dumped by her acting agent right before a big audition, and served an eviction notice for being late on her rent...again. It seems like fate when she is approached by her former boss (Scott) for a special...position he has in mind for her. Living in paradise, tasked with the job of helping renovate a gorgeous old house and occasionally performing childcare duties? Who would say no to that? But paradise isn't always what it seems...

I thought this was a fantastic read and really enjoyed the alternating perspectives between Emily and Scott. You could tell that all was not right in paradise, but the specifics were kept well-hidden until the perfect time. This was an absolute nail-biter that kept me up late into the night reading. I cannot wait to see what Anna Downes comes up with next!

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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What an amazing read this was! An absolute riveting page turner that will keep you guessing. I stayed up into the night reading this. The character development and the way the story came together was amazing. I loved it!

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I loved this book so much that I had to go pre-order it immediately. I’m so thankful for Netgalley for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. The story was mesmerizing, the pacing was thrilling and perfect, and the writing was superb! I know there are scary things that happen there, but this book puts me on a relaxing escape that ends up giving me the HeebieJeebies, but I still want to vacation there!!! P.S. Don’t Disturb Auriela!!

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This book clicked with me from the very beginning. I especially enjoyed the author's writing style, a critical point for me after reading too many books with interesting plots but mundane craftsmanship. The language flowed, the characters were well-developed, and the suspense grew. Emily was not always likeable. Nina was a mystery; Scott had his quirks. I could "see" the hideaway in France and feel the tension when Emily was poking around in places she was not meant to be. The situation Emily found herself in was uncomfortable, awkward, and then just plain frightening as things escalated. People were not who they seemed to be. And through it all, the quality of the writing continued to keep me engaged.

I had a hard time putting this book down, which I consider to be a real accolade at a time when I find myself setting many novels aside in disappointment.

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This was an incredible book. I read the book without reading any reviews or premises and had no idea where the book was going so for me it was one twist after another. I waited for things that never happened and was amazed at where the story went. I loved the development of the characters and how they all acted and reacted with each other. There were times when the book was she would describe a room and two chapters later she said she never saw that room. She said she sent an email but the person received a text. Small little things that most people wouldn't really notice but I did some editing earlier in my life and so I did notice these things. They do not, however have anything to do with the plot or the intriguing storyline. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It is interesting, dark, and has many subplots that keep you thinking. I can't wait for more from this author.

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I couldn’t put this book down! So twisty and I didn’t know where the story was going! I really enjoyed this book! Looking forward for more books from this author. Thank you!

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I was so excited I was able to read this one!! I really loved the writing style and the storyline was fantastic! A must read.

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I can't say enough good things about this book! It was super suspenseful, and had me surprised with every plot twist! I read it in two days because I just had to know what happened next. Great twisty thriller book, and I would definitely recommend!

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I received a copy of THE SAFE PLACE on NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to the publisher and author.

Five stars and here’s why:

TOTAL BOOK HANGOVER. I dropped everything to finish this book given the serious number of plot twists that I did not see coming. The writing was fast-paced, beautiful even, and the character development was rich and fulfilling. I was transfixed by the story and couldn’t put it down. I feel so lucky that I got to read an advance copy. I look forward to reading more by this author! Highly recommend.

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Where do I begin? This is my idea of a perfect book! Leaving out the summary because I know others will do that. I couldn't guess where this was going - surprised me to the very last page! The characters were well-drawn, interesting and their motives, although sometimes mysterious, made sense -- at least, to them. . Emily is clumsy, funny, interested in her own self and spares no time to worry about others. She reminds me of myself at that age, so it was very easy to put myself into her story. I'm the mom of an adopted child who is still a little bit of a handful, so I could identify with this book on so many levels! (In fact, my daughter's middle name is Emily).
Can't leave out Querencia, which is actually the MC, if you think about it. Author describes this place so vividly that I could smell the flowers and feel the sand in my toes. Well-done!!!!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thanks Netgalley, #Minotaur Books and Goodreads

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!

When Emily is offered a job working for her ex-boss's wife and daughter out in the middle of nowhere, Emily immediately agreed. Though confused and nervous, her life was beginning to fall apart, and she felt that this could be an escape for her. The French estate she moves to is absolutely stunning, and she immediately falls into routine there. However, there is something weird about the place, and as Emily gets closer to the family, she finds out a secret that they have been keeping. A secret that could cost Emily her life.

I was absolutely shocked and impressed by this book. It had so many twists and turns that once I got into it, I could barely put it down. A beautifully crafted thriller, Anna Downes' story was gripping and exciting. I am feeling ALL of the emotions right now. The cover of this book is absolutely beautiful, and it was what originally drew me in to reading it!

Emily was a great protagonist who knew to do the right thing, even when it was hard. Extremely hard. She wasn't perfect by any means, but she had a good head on her shoulders, and I appreciated her character.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an exciting thriller!

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This is a book you'll NEED in your beach bag this summer! You'll be gripping the pages and lost in the story for hours and not even notice it! That's exactly what happened to me and I know many readers will agree! What an impressive and immersing debut!

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4.5-5 stars!!! I need to start by saying that I am absolutely stunned that this is a debut novel! The writing style, the characters, the suspense, the whole story,....I felt like I was reading a thriller that was written by a best selling author! I just recently bought a kindle paperwhite and I was worried I would have a hard time getting used to it but I definitely picked a wonderful book for my first kindle read!! I didn’t want to put it down! Highly recommend this one and can’t wait to see what else this author writes in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for my advanced readers copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.

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4.5 stars!!! The Safe Place by Anna Downes makes for a suspenseful beach read (I only wish that’s where I could have read it!), and I’d like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced reader copy! I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if you like your mysteries fast paced with lots of unexpected twists and turns, then you won’t want to miss this one.

When down-on-her-luck Emily accepts a summer job as a housekeeper at a too-good-to-be-true French estate, it makes for a perfect storm that will deceive its readers and leave them questioning everything they thought they knew!

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Emily Proudman just lost her temp job. She bounced the rent check and her card was declined at the supermarket. After a chance meeting, her former employer Scott Denny offers her a job with his family on a beautiful beachfront estate in France. Emily accepts the offer. It is her dream job and home . After weeks of living and working in paradise, things are not what they seem.

Anna Downes paints a vivid picture of her characters and the setting in her debut novel. Her readers are invested in the storyline and hang on until the end.

I could not put down The Safe Place. I was drawn to Emily and the Denny family dynamic and I had to know what happened. I recommend this book and I will be anxiously awaiting future books from Anna Downes.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Paradise or Something Else Entirely?

Emily has lost all hope of being an actress, and now has also lost her job and her apartment. In the midst of her crisis she is approached by her ex-boss, Scott, who offers her a summer job helping his wife and daughter who are living in a French beachfront estate. It sounds way too good to be true, and she joyfully accepts, but paradise is not all she finds when she arrives. Scott’s wife, Nina, has an unnatural paranoia over her daughter Aurelia’s movements and contacts. Emily performs her duties, slowly gets to know Aurelia, and finds Nina to be a gracious host. At least most of the time. Unexplainable events are brushed aside at first, but Emily’s curiosity mounts as more things come to light.

A remarkable book by first-time author Anna Downes, The Safe Place is a well written thriller that draws you into the characters, piques your imagination, and leads you into the setting to the point you are almost there at the estate. I had no idea where the story was going, which kept me reading long into the night. There never seemed to be a lull to prompt closing the book and going to bed.

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Holy moly! This was one of those thrillers I had to stay up late reading. It reminded me of a Hitchcock movie...that slow-growing feeling something isn't right, but you're uncertain what it is...that people are not who they seem...then the powerful reveal, with the danger level maxed out. And finally, the ending, which was exactly spot-on.

Definitely the kind of read I needed to take my mind completely off things during the coronavirus lockdown. I'll be sharing about this one with all my psychological thriller loving friends. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an early copy for me to read. All opinions are my own.

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I absolutely loved this book. The characters easily grab you and don’t let you go. It kept me reaching for my phone (ereader ) so I could find out what happens next.

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From page one you are hooked into this story. It was one I could not stop reading. The desire to know what happens next is critical.

Emily is down on her luck, lost her job, days from being thrown out of her apartment. Her former boss Scott offers her a job to help take care of his house in France and be an assistant to his wife Nina and care for his daughter.

Emily excepts the job and finds herself in a place that is beautiful and the work on updating the house is fulfilling. But everything is not as it seems. Will Emily unravel what is really going on there? Is this really a happy place?

Thank you Netgalley for complimentary copy. The thoughts and opinions are my own!

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This was such a fun read. I was instantly hooked and didn’t want to put it down

When everything was falling apart Emily was given a dream opportunity by her ex boss Scott, go to this beautiful secluded home on an island and just hang out with my wife and kid. Everything was wonderful until Emily paid a little too much attention to her surroundings

Great mystery ❤️

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Tense chilling a book that kept me reading late into the night.Characters that come alive twists and turns that kept me guessing.Terrific psychological thrillers an author who I will be recommending, #netgalley#The safe place

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I received an ARC of this compelling story. A riveting tale of a young woman trying to find a new start but making an unexpected choice. I was swept along on her journey, excited and then terrified for her. Couldn't out it down! Highly recommend!

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Well this was a plot I wasn't expecting! The offer of a very well paid live in job in France seemed to good to be true - and you know how the saying goes........ The flow of this book is seamless and the character's all totally believable. Wonderfully written, the story definitely held my full attention and will stay with me for a long time to come.

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The Safe Place is a fast paced and cleverly plotted thriller! I really enjoyed the twists and turns and was surprised plenty of times. Would love to read more by this author in the future!

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Captivating, suspenseful, entertaining novel! This beautiful story kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it! Would highly recommend to those who enjoy this genre.

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Absolutely loved this book! Fantastic character development and story building. Descriptive scene setting, made me feel like I was there. I would highly recommend this book!

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Received this in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
This was a great suspense novel. I liked how it evolved as in the first part of the book I had no idea what was in store for Emily. Of course when she starts off having a crush on her former boss, I thought this would descend in to just another love (hard to get) story. I was very wrong.
When Scott offers a job that sounds to good to be true, trusting Emily jumps at the chance. She thinks this will bring her closer to Scott, but Emily is hired to help out Scott's wife and daughter.
Once Emily is in France with the daughter and wife, things go south. Then the real problems start and the fun begins.
I thought this was well written, and while it is an Uncorrected galley, I found no problems with style or grammar. Maybe I was just to engrossed to notice. Yes, I did stay up late to finish because I could not sleep till I knew the outcome.
I can see this becoming a real hit for all and a sequel for the future

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy for an honest review. This is going to be 2020 psychological thrillers summer hit! Anna just can't get a break, she is a struggling actress who just lost her basically everything her job and her home. She is offered an amazing job to be a housekeeper at this amazing estate in France. So what is she has to sign a confidentiality agreement, and that she can't go into the main house and that there is lots of security and soon she realizes that if she leaves, she might not live.....what!!! Excellent, can't put down thriller. Totally recommend.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy for an honest review. This is going to be 2020 psychological thrillers summer hit! Anna just can't get a break, she is a struggling actress who just lost her basically everything her job and her home. She is offered an amazing job to be a housekeeper at this amazing estate in France. So what is she has to sign a confidentiality agreement, and that she can't go into the main house and that there is lots of security and soon she realizes that if she leaves, she might not live.....what!!! Excellent, can't put down thriller. Totally recommend.

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wow! this book had it all, I was pulled in and read it in two days. I loved Emily and was kind of confused about Scott and Nina's relationship but then the twists started and I couldn't stop reading. I had to know what was up with Yves and Aurelia. I liked how it told the story from past memories too! made it easy to follow. Definitely worth the read! Thanks for the chance to read early!

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As far as I can recall, this is the first time I've ever given an ARC five stars. This is thriller fiction done right. Apart from Sharp Objects, this is probably the fastest I've ever read a thriller or mystery. I literally could not put it down I was so compeled to find out what happened next.

The Good: There was so much I loved about The Safe Place. The setting, the characters, the descriptions, the "there's obviously something deeply wrong here" vibes. This is everything I love in a thriller. The writing is definitely a step above that of many of the British thrillers I've read, and the setting felt so real to me I almost felt like I was there. So many things that could have turned into cliches were not, and I was literally on the edge of my seat for then tire last 30% of the book.

The Bad: There's not much I have in the way of complaints, but I do stress that this is a thriller and NOT a mystery. The actual 'mystery/twist' was fairly predictable and is revealed at about 60% of the way through. However, the action and suspense after was so well done that I didn't even care. Just as a warning though, if you've read a lot of mysteries before, don't expect to be totally shocked because you won't be. I can guarantee you will be thrilled though. ;)

TL;DR: I loved The Safe Place and I will absolutely be purchasing any future Anna Downes books! Highly recommend this for a quick, fun beach read.

Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to R&R

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It took me forever to dive into this amazing novel and I apologize to the publisher who granted me access to the advance copy. HOWEVER, once I was properly hooked, a couple of chapters in, I just couldn’t put it down. THE SAFE PLACE is a stunning debut, full of mystery and heartbreak. You just have no clue what’s really going on and what’s happening next, although all the details point in a very certain direction to help you figure it all out. Very likable, well drawn characters, well executed story and well written.
Thanks again to the publisher and Netgalley.

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In The Safe Place author Anna Downes gives us the story told in the voices of the two main characters. Emily, our heroine, does things that the reader with find themselves mentally telling her not to do....of course, there wouldn't be a story if she listened to us! I want to thank Net Galley and Minotaur Books for an early copy to review,

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Wow! I couldn’t stop reading! You think you know what’s going on or going to happen and then it doesn’t, so many twist and turns. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!!

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In the world we live where everyone is so connected to their phones, computers, internet, etc, I was dying to see what would happen when that was all taken away from someone. This book definitely gave me that creepy vibe and had me guessing all the way until the end!

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What a great book! So twisty and unpredictable. It kept me entertained the whole time. I love books that keep me guessing. It made my imagination go nuts trying to figure out was happening! Thats the best kind of book!

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This is one of those mysteries that I could just keep on reading. There is nothing that I did not like about this story - it flowed well, the characters came to life and the storyline was intriguing.
Emily is a want-to-be actress. She has even skipped work to go for some readings, but has never been chosen for any parts. One day she loses her job and when she gets home to her apartment, she finds that she has to leave her apartment also. Just when she thinks that her life cannot get any worse, her ex boss Scott offers her a position that sounds too good to be true - a housekeeper/companion for his wife Nina and their daughter in a beautiful house in France. Emily arrives and falls in love with her surroundings, but she senses that something is not quite right. Eventually she becomes friends with Nina and everything seems to be good except that she is never allowed to discuss her job to anyone. Then Emily discovers something that will turn her life upside down.
This book has a surprising ending and one that will not disappoint.
I thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Emily has landed in the best place ever. She is helping Nina take care of her daughter Aurelia. She's kind of a personal assistant. She does lots of different things. Mostly she's a companion. In France of all places. At a beautiful place. She was interviewed for the job by her ex-boss. She had been let go as a temporary receptionist for being late to work several times. She was being evicted from her apartment, she was overdrawn on her bank account and her parents weren't going to bail her out again. The job offer was a great opportunity at the perfect time.
This is a very suspenseful book. It is intense and keeps you reading faster and faster to see what happens next. At the same time you don't want to miss anything, and you don't want the story to end. Excellent read!!

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This is *the* summer thriller for your beach bag! Man what a wild ride.. Downes has crafted a supremely suspenseful story full of believable but yet surprising twists and turns. I wasn't sure where the story would take me, but I had to stay up late to find out. The writing is superb - smart but accessible. The plot moves quickly but thoughtfully. The characters seem genuine and complex. This is a definite recommendation for fans of Ruth Ware - a similar creepy gothic sensibility.

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The Safe Place is a perfect beach read! Flawed, believable characters draws one in from the first page. Hauntingly atmospheric, this thriller grips the reader and unfolds like a film noir. I loved it!

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I had heard a lot about this book so I was very excited to read it for myself. The book is from multiple points of view and focuses on Emily, a temp who has a dream of being an actress, whom finds herself out of a job and about to be homeless all at the same time. Scott is her boss who hires Emily to being a personal assistant for his wife and to help care for their daughter at their estate in France. Emily can't believe her luck and soon settles into the lavish life at the estate. She helps Nina, Scott's wife, with fixing up the estate and grows to become "part of the family". But Emily soon realizes everything is not what it seems and finds herself in a precarious situation. I found this book very enjoyable to read. It had just the right amount of suspense, romance, and intrigue that kept me glued to the book the whole time. I found the ending maybe a little predictable but also felt proud of the main character for making the choice she made.

Thank you netgalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy of this wonderful book.

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Thank you NetGalley for offering me a prepublication copy of this thriller—it was absolutely hard to put down. Emily Proudman is a mess and one confused young woman. She is an aspiring actress who has just lost her pay-the-bills job, is discontented with her lot in life and blames her parents, Juliet and Peter, for all of it. A chance encounter, or so she believes, with her old boss, finds her being offered an incredible job opportunity she just can’t turn down. Unbeknownst to her, Scott Denny the successful CEO of the company where she was just recently let go, has decided, after watching her closely, she is perfect to be the housekeeper/companion to his wife and their daughter at their rural French estate. Emily takes the job and is soon enamored with everything about this French paradise. Although Emily is naive and immature, it doesn’t take her long to quickly become aware that something isn’t quite right with Scott’s wife and daughter. The secret they are hiding becomes apparent as Emily’s curious nature leads her into places she is not welcome and puts her life in danger. Thriller fans will undoubtedly find this book as enjoyable as I did.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC which I received in exchange for my honest review. The Safe Place is a dazzling debut novel from author Anna Downes. Like many current thrillers, the novel features dual narration. Emily, is a twenty-something aspiring actress who takes temp positions to make ends meet. Scott Denny is a highly successful businessman who seems to have the world on a string. He is handsome, rich and the much celebrated CEO of a wildly successful company. When Emily finds herself fired from the company Scott owns and released by her acting agent, she is facing eviction and at the end of her rope.Will Emily be forced to go to her adoptive parents with her hat in her hand yet again? It seems that way until Scott steps in with an offer she just can't refuse.

Scott tells Emily that his wife Nina is overwhelmed at their French seaside property Querencia and could desperately use some assistance in renovating the property and caring for their young daughter Aurelia. He asks Emily to move there in order to be Nina's assistant, nanny and all around Girl Friday. The money and fringe benefits Scott offers Emily in exchange for her services make Emily's acceptance a foregone conclusion.
The intersection of these two individuals initially seems random, but it soon becomes apparent that Scott has orchestrated some of Emily's recent financial setbacks because he has determined that the sweet and trusting Emily is just what his wife needs.

Once the story moves to France, the book really takes off and the author does an incredible job of transporting the reader to the French coast. It is easy to see why Emily quickly becomes enamored of the stunning property and the beautiful yet mysterious Nina. Emily helps Nina with the seemingly endless demands of caring for her six year old daughter Aurelia. Emily is told that Aurelia has a multitude of medical conditions including a severe sun allergy which explains the seclusion in which mother and daughter live.

Soon after Emily arrives it becomes clear that nothing at Querencia is what it seems. What unravels beyond the facade of the chateau is sinister and the tension becomes nearly unbearable as the book reaches its conclusion. As it turns out Emily is exactly the woman that Scott, Nina and Aurelia need. The ending left me breathless! While the author did include an epilogue, I feel that there were some questions left unanswered and I wasn't quite ready to part company with the characters.

This is an absolutely compelling debut novel which I highly recommend! I am eagerly looking forward to the author's next book!

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this book was surprisingly good, while i guess part of it after awhile, it took an interesting journey to get there. left with some questions though, would love to talk to someone about how they interpreted it a part of it. but was engrossing, well written and had characters you cared about

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While I started off feeling unsure about the book, it didn't take long for me to be drawn into the story.

What ultimately impressed me was the way the author managed to create such a surreal situation for the protagonist. And yet, I found it believable.

I was also impressed by Anna Downes writing style, which captured the voice of an insecure 20-something quite well.

Great read!

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I'll admit the premise of Emily hit a little too close to home, which is what probably drew me to the book. I put it down a couple times because it didn't seem to be drawing me in; also I think I was a bit distracted. At some point I've no idea when I found I couldn't put it down! I even took a half day off work so I could finish it LOL. Terrific story, devious characters and really well written. Thank you so much!

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Emily’s life has always in her eyes been a constant struggle. She lost her temp job, her acting agent, and her apartment all in one miserable day.

Until Scott her boss at the temp job chases her down and makes her have a full blown panic attack. All he wants to do is offer her another job, he tells her it was a mistake she was fired but he has a better job for her that no temp agency could fill for his family.

She is swept off to France where she will take on the roll of being his families housekeeper, she then soaks up all the day long swimming, the occasional redecorating of the guest, taking care of animals, etc. She falls head first into the beautiful weather along with the daily wine drinking. But there is no WIFI, no phones, no one around them anywhere and she isn’t allowed to speak of the place they live when she goes to the market.

She senses one day that Scott and Nina are holding onto a very deep and dark secret as their daughter can’t be as ill as they let on.

My review: I absolutely loved this story. It had me inhaling the pages and words. The story line was like nothing I have ever read before. I was enjoying this magical place called Querencia. I was lost in the friendship between Nina and Emily, how Emily fantasized about being with Scott, just all of it had me feeling like I was there.

Until the day that Emily takes off the blinders and sees what is really happening around her for the first time in 6 weeks since she has been at Querencia.

Is Emily’s life now in danger? How can she get away? No passport, no phone, no exit!!!!

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Emily Proudman wants to be an actress, but can't seem to break in to the business. Then she loses her office job; then she gets evicted. Life is going downhill until she runs into Scott Denny, the CEO of the company where she just lost her job. He offers her a job at his estate in France to help his wife with everything from watching their daughter to renovations at the house. Although she isn't quite sure about it, she has nothing to lose since she has no job and no place to live right now.

However, as in lots of psychological thrillers, things aren't quite what they seem. Something seems off to Emily, but living at the estate is like a dream come true.

We get perspectives from Emily and Scott, as well as what is most likely Scott's wife Nina, so you can quickly discover there are dangerous secrets being kept. I thought the ending was a bit predictable, but I enjoyed the book and the story and characters were intriguing.

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What a read! It is suspenseful and sometimes just plain weird. Emily Proudman aspires to be an actress but somehow always seems to screw up her auditions. She is also the receptionist for Proem, an investment company, but ends up getting fired. Facing eviction from her apartment, her former boss and head of Proem, Scott Denny, offers her a job at his estate in France. The job would be as housekeeper, gardener, part-time nanny, decorator, etc. She accepts the job and is in awe at the beauty of the estate although some of it seems to be in disrepair. Emily is to live in the guest house and is told by Scott's wife, Nina, that she is never to come into the main house. Daughter Aurelia is nonverbal and supposedly has a sun allergy so she is dressed in long clothing and a large hat at all times. As times goes on, Emily notices how strange things are around there and she decides to go into the main house and do some snooping. There are lots of surprises in this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this book, which turned out to be a page turner for me, in exchange for an honest review.

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This book is INTENSE. I didn't see it going where it went. So many times I couldn't put it down during a crazy time. It had great build up and explanations on how the characters came to their situations. Emily ultimately is a better person because of her experience throughout the book. Recommend it for it's intensity and ease of reading.

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The Safe Place is the tale of a young woman struggling to make her way in the world, her difficulty in doing so in conventional venues and her disastrous and nearly fatal gamble on a too good to be true job offer. Not having much luck in her chosen field of acting or success as a temporary office worker, Emily, our main character jumps at a chance for the too-good-to-be-true opportunity to work for her former boss as a sort of glorified au pair assisting her boss's wife and their allegedly sickly child on a fairy tale estate in France, .While Emily is at first dazzled by the opulence of her new life style, she soon discovers the grim truth behind the job description. Author, Anna Downes manages to bring a fresh voice and original twists and turns to a familiar theme with this expertly crafted thriller.

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Emily has been down on her luck lately with the final straw being fired from her job.
Unsure what to do she is approached by none other than her former boss who has just the job for her.
A caretaker of sorts for his wife & their home.
What seems like an ideal job in the lap of luxury ,however,has more than meets the eye.
This story is filled with surprises from the first to last page.

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Totally did not see the end of this book coming! Thought the story was about one plot, and then by the end, all I can say is wow! Read this in 2 days - moves really quickly, and definitely kept my interest!

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What an incredible debut! This was a slow burn about isolation and secrets and lies and the lengths one how to in order to keep those buried. I inhaled this book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Told in alternating POVs The story follows a young woman, Emily who has just hit rock bottom (losing her job, her apartment) and is just looking for a sense of belonging. She’s made an offer of a lifetime to become an Au pair to a young girl in a beautiful and secluded home in France all expenses paid and the only cost is her silence about what she sees. This was a gripping suspense thriller and I can not recommend this book fast enough. Grab a copy ASAP!

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What an incredible debut from Anna Downes. This was the perfect, juicy summer thriller - an idyllic setting and spine-tingling suspense. I didn't move from my seat for several hours because I just could not put this book down as my heart was literally thumping in the final chapters, not sure how it was going to end.

Emily is having a rough go of it - she's lost her job, her acting agent, and her apartment in a matter of days. She isn't sure where to turn when the CEO of her former company saves her from a near traffic accident. Scott has a major problem - he's worried about his wife, Nina, and thinks Emily might be the perfect solution. So Scott offers her the incredible opportunity to become the housekeeper/personal assistant for his wife and daughter at their private seaside French estate, Querencia. Emily can't believe her luck - a summer spent poolside with Nina and little Aurelia, soaking in French wine and French sun, no longer having to worry about money. But when Emily uncovers what Scott and Nina have been hiding behind the walls of Querencia, she begins to fear she won't make it back out the front gates.

Downes had me absolutely hooked from the beginning. The book is a thriller - you know something is coming, but I loved that I couldn't guess what it was. The suspense built to a shocking discovery and I was completely along for the ride, in the dark with Emily then equally surprised and made uneasy by the turn of events. The one thing that didn't feel quite right to me about the book was Emily's relationship with her parents - I didn't really see the contentious relationship she claimed to have with them and found it a bit difficult to think someone would take off to a new job in another country without telling anyone at all where she was going. But despite this one note, The Safe Place is an absolute page-turner that had me flying through the final chapters, desperate to see how it would end. This is the perfect summer read to completely engross you and leave you guessing every step of the way.

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An excellent story, told from the three main characters points of view. Emily, a wannabe star, working as a temp, meets her good looking married boss, Scott Denny, in an unusual manner. His wife Nina, lives in France, not the UK, it is even gossiped about the office workers, that he hates his wife. Emily is hired to work as a housekeeper, companion to Nina in France, on their isolated, private, gated, park like estate,with a view of the Mediterranean. Emily firmly believes that her life is finally looking up, but is it? Great read, unique, page turning suspense, with a lot of great personality written in.
I highly recommend! Thank you Netgalley!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Safe Place
AUTHOR: Anna Downes
PUB DATE: July 14, 2020

RATING: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️/5 •

SYNOPSIS: Emily considers herself a failure. She can’t make it in the acting world, she’s running out of money 💰 , and just got fired from her job. Things are looking down, that is until Scott offers a job she can’t refuse. Whisked away to France 🇫🇷 , Emily becomes the live-in assistant to Scott’s wife, Nina, and their sickly child 👶 . Emily’s living the perfect life until things get strange. Is the child really sick 🤒 ? Is Nina really mentally stable? What’s Scott’s motive?

PROS: I read this book in all of a day and a half! I couldn’t put it down!! Anna Downes wrote so swiftly, but with great detail. I quickly was able to put myself in Emily’s shoes. Run 🏃‍♀️, don’t walk to get this on July 14!

CONS: NONE! This is everything and more that I expected from a thriller!

Thank you so much @netgalley , @anna_downes_writer , @stmartinspress and @minotaur_books for the AMAZING ARC! 📚

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This is a super entertaining book, it's a very intense thriller that kept me interested from start to finish. This book starts with Emily Proudman, who is a mess, she has just lost her job and her apartment, all in one day. Imagine that, from one day to the next you lose your job and the place where you live, it is without a doubt a frustrating situation. Fortunately, Emily meets Scott Denny, a very successful businessman who has a personal problem and is looking for someone who can help him. Furthermore, Scott offers Emily a job as a housekeeper for his beautiful estate located in the rural French area. Emily accepts and embarks on her journey to the French province. However, there are details Scott does not mention to Emily and she is about to find out. A sensational thriller that made me curious about Scott's situation. I love the part where Emily meets Nina, Scott's wife, because it seems like everything is normal, and that the life they lead on this property is one of absolute happiness. A must-read book for those who like the excitement and mystery that Emily is about to witness. I thank NetGalley, St Martin's Press and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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I received an advance copy of this book from net galley. The book had interesting characters and was suspenseful. It left the reader wanting to know what was going to happen next. I couldn’t put this book down. Spoilers: Emily loses her job gets a housekeeping job with her former bosses family. Things start off well but then things take a turn. The book leaves you wondering what happened to the daughter as you get some back story throughout. Nina starts to show her true colors in the book as Emily pieces things together. I would definitely read another book by this author

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The Safe Place was the perfect summer, beach read--if you enjoy picturesque thrillers, which I do! I knew from reading the description and seeing the cover of the book that The Safe Place was going to be a book I was going to love. That being said, I would have loved to be able to read this on an actual beach which isn't possible due to the current COVID situation but at least I was able to imagine myself laying in the sun, by the pool and sipping a delicious fruity adult cocktail while reading this salacious thriller. I am so excited to keep my eye out for new Anna Downes books!

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A moody, lush thriller that escalates slowly but surely to a satisfying fever pitch. I honestly wasn't sure what the book was building to for the longest time--this is not the type of commercial thriller that lays it all out for you, but I was pulled along for the ride nonetheless. I loved sinking into the descriptive prose of the luxurious yet eerie setting, reading along with Emily trying to figure out what could possibly be going on. The ultimate twists and turns were thought-provoking and compelling.

This is a rare third person POV thriller, but only occasionally did I notice it. The slight distance worked really well for the overall story conceit and approach, while lending itself especially well to description/mood. The POV still felt close enough in Emily's chapters to pull the reader along like in any good thriller, but provided the necessary distance in Scott's chapters to keep the suspense going.

What you know: Emily is a failed actress about to be evicted, with a strained relationship with her adopted parents. She's a temp at a startup and the boss, Scott, sees something in Emily he likes... so he has her fired (!), bribes her agent into dropping her (!!), and then offers her a dream position: move to his estate in France to be an live-in personal assistant/handywoman to his wife Nina. Nina desperately needs help so she can spend more time on homeschooling their sick daughter, Aurelia, so it would be Emily's job to do the home reno projects Nina is struggling to complete.

So going in, we the readers know Scott is kind of dodgy, and something must be up at the estate. From there, it is a slow burn, and mostly in Emily's POV. The estate is, indeed, isolated but also gorgeous--Emily gets an entire guesthouse to herself, but she's forbidden from entering the family home. Aurelia is a bit peculiar--totally mute, and with a deadly sun allergy. She is sensitive to touch and sometimes has episodes of panic and screaming. Nina is beautiful and winningly social--she and Emily strike up a fast friendship. As the reader, you're wondering when things are going to turn... and honestly the turns aren't huge. Though subtle, they ratchet up tension and pull you along. The third act was INTENSE.

So this is less of a "guessing what's going on" (though you do plenty of that) and more of a "be carried along with the current of the story until everything explodes." I enjoyed the ride a lot. Downes has some particular passages of description that were breathtakingly vivid. I reread a few of them because I liked them so much. I will say that at times Emily as a character got a bit lost for me, though by the time the third act kicked off it didn't really matter because I was so emotionally invested. Scott has his own turns that I thought were interesting, and then I was pleased when the book didn't do the thing I was worried it would do. I liked the ending.

My only note for some readers is that if you are sensitive to aspects of mental health being used to build suspense/as a plot device, this book ultimately might not work for you. Difficult to cover without spoilers, but I can say that some characters deal with trauma, and there are hints of other mental health concerns some characters may have, that may not sit right with some readers.

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I don’t know where to start with this one. I read a lot of mystery/thrillers so it is hard to find one that completely surprises me with the twist. This one, however, I did not see coming.

Our main character, Emily, has no direction in life. She’s working temp jobs while trying to break in to acting, until she loses her job, loses her agent and loses her apartment all on the same day. When her ex boss offers her an once in a lifetime opportunity to move to France and help out his wife and child, she thinks it’s too good to be true. And it just might be....

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I did not expect this book to go quite the way it did. Emily is a self-conscious, young lady with a lack of confidence and the mistakes she has made in her life following her and burdening her. She works temp jobs and is trying out an acting career and none of that is working until the owner of one of the temp companies decides to try her out in a new role. What started out as a simple story of an employer helping out an employee by giving her a different type of job turned into mystery and suspense. When Emily meets Nina, Scott's wife and their daughter Aurelia she thinks she has found the family that she has always wanted. Querencia is the home she has dreamed of. As she becomes more comfortable with them and there, pieces start to unfold. What unfolds is not what you expect.

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**Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review**
The Safe Place, by Anna Downes was a 5-star read for me! I read it over 2 days, neglecting many important things that needed to be done in order to finish it. I simply could not put it down. I was hooked right from the start, then I sped through, not able to wait to find out what on earth was going on with this family.

Emily Proudman is down on her luck. An aspiring actress with no work, and an agent who dumped her, she has hit rock bottom. In comes Scott Denny, the CEO of the company she was temping for, prior to being fired. Scott offers Emily the job of a life time-to help his wife with housework and childcare at their beautiful estate in France. Emily jumps at the chance, but not long after starting, begins to see odd behaviour from Scott's wife, Nina and their 6-year old daughter, Aurelia. Something is not right with this family, but Emily tries to overlook the strange occurrences, continuing to make excuses for Nina, until she can no longer explain what is happening...

If you are looking for a gripping thriller to read at the beach this summer, The Safe Place is the book for you!

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This was the fabulous book one that kept me up till 3:30 in the morning and I read it in two sessions wow really really a good book.

This was a first book for me by Anna Downes.

Emily lives in London she works temp jobs... down-on-her-luck kind of girl.. things just aren't going her way... being fired from your job not sure where you'll go from there..

Asking mom and dad for a lone again isn't the ideal thing.. the last time Emily called home forgetting mom's birthday .. things just kind of went South..

When your Ex Boss Scott Denny approaches you with a deal of your life.. offering you the safe place.... but is it really the things that will happen there are things that you learn some things aren't always what they seem.

I honestly found this book hard to put down and I couldn't wait to finish it..
This was an arc book and I would like to thank the publisher for this book as well as the author and netgalley for this early edition
All thoughts in this review our my own....

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A thrilling debut novel that I just could not figure out until the end. ⠀

Emily’s life is falling apart - she lost her job, acting agent, and apartment all in one day. Scott Denny, a rich CEO, saves Emily by offering her a housekeeping job at his enchanting French estate. Emily quickly becomes friends with his stunning wife, Nina, and odd daughter, Aurelia. Wine by the pool at noon, luxurious grounds, and endless money. Life is perfect! But as Emily starts to uncover their secret, she must play along or it could turn deadly. ⠀

With flawless writing and numerous twists, 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙖𝙛𝙚 𝙋𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚 is the perfect summer read. The beginning was an enjoyable slow burn, but the ending bursts with suspense that punches you in the gut and leaves you breathless. ⠀

Anna, you are a spectacular writer. Is this really your first book? Sign me up for your future novels, I’m a fan. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review before it’s available July 14, 2020. ⠀

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Thanks to a Netgalley, Minotaur/ St. Martins Press and Anna Downs for this ARC, in exchange for an honest review. I read this is 2 days, yes, I loved it ! A great first book for this author. It was unpredictable, tense, funny, bit of romance, and thriller suspense. Who could ask for more in a book ? This is my opinion... A 5 star for sure, and hoping there is more to come by this author.

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WOW. this debut thriller was insanely good!!!!!!! OMG I read this in 2 days and was engrossed the whole time. This debut author has got an amazing career ahead of her!!!!! I couldn't figure out what was going to happen. The characters even had me sucked into their lifestyle and everything. If you haven't read this you need to get a copy on July 14th when it comes out. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for my early copy.

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Loved it! Did not see the major twist in the story. Very shocking! This book will keep you reading because you have to know what will happen next. I would read this author again.

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What a page-turner! Once I began, I couldn’t put this book down. I found the characters believable and full of layers that intrigued me. Emily was likeable and I found myself rooting for her as well as wanting to know her secrets.

This book killed me into a sense of safety, then took my emotions on a rollercoaster. This is the perfect summer read for those who love suspense. I highly recommend this read. Absolutely loved it!

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I really really really loved this book. But let me tell you why...

I really love those books that kind of feel creepy without being obvious or transparent. You just start to feel "Off" while turning the pages. Its like deep down you know there is something really freaking wrong but you havent a clue what it is.... thats how I felt when I started reading A safe place. I felt creeped the F out and anything but safe. But as I read all these odds and ends came together to form this insane picture that somehow the main character remains abysmally ignorant to. Realistic? No. Did it make for a good story? Yes, honestly if she didnt take the job there would have been no story to tell.

From the start the characters add to the unsettling feelings. Scott sent off major creep vibes from the moment we meet him. Emily ( ohhh girl...what were you thinking?!) is obviously naive and going to have a crude wake up call. Nina and Aurelia... hello creepy helicopter mom and strange child that live in BFE. But in all the setting, the characters, the descriptions, the "creepy" vibes meld together to create a fast paced thriller.

I recieved a digital copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley im exchange for an honest review.

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The Safe Place by Anna Downes
Book Review by Dawn Thomas

354 Pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books / MacMillan
Release Date: July 14, 2020
ASIN: B0818B89T9

Drama, Literary Fiction, Psychological Thriller

Emily Proudman is wants to be an actress but hasn’t found a job. In the meantime, she is working as a temporary receptionist at Proem, an investing company in the U.K. After she is fired from the position, she is approached by Scott Denny the CEO. He offers a job of a lifetime – to work at his country estate in France. Out of work, being evicted from her apartment and not having enough money to pay for groceries at the grocery store, the decision is a no brainer for her. She tells him she can start right away.

When she arrives in France, she meets Scott’s wife Nina and daughter, Aurelia. The place is magnificent, and Emily feels like the luckiest woman in the world. That is, until she doesn’t. Things take a turn from light to dark in a very fast turn of events. Now she must try to escape paradise, but will she make it? With no Wi-Fi or cell phone service her options are limited.

This book was a fast read. The story moves quickly and takes place over the period of several months. It is written in first person switching narration from Emily to Scott with memories from Nina scatters in between. If you like psychological thrillers, you may enjoy this book.

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Just when Emily is down on her luck, having lost her job, unable to pay her rent, her former employer comes to her with a proposal of sorts. Who wouldn't want to live on a remote island in a different country? Scott offers Emily the opportunity of a lifetime, a summer on a French estate helping his wife and young daughter. Having the time of her life, spending time in the sun, befriending Scott's wife and their daughter, Emily soon comes to realize that not everything is what it seems. This is such a fun book and a great beach read. Just when you think you know what might be going on, you soon realize you're wrong. .

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With a cover like this, there's no way I would not be all over The Safe Place by Anna Downes and I'm pleased to report that it lives up to the hype! This is going to be one of the top psychological thrillers of the summer!
Emily is broke, her acting career prospects are drying up before her eyes, she's getting evicted, and she just lost her day job. Just when she thinks she's going to have to crawl back to her parents to beg for money- again- she gets offered an opportunity that just might solve all her problems.

When her old boss contacts her and says her firing has been a mistake she never expects to be offered another job- not the one she left, but a position helping his wife Nina and their daughter on their luxury estate in France. She accepts, all too eager to get away from London and the life she's messed up there.
Before long Emily realizes things at this idyllic home are far from perfect... and as it appears. The secrets she unearths may put her own life in danger.

This was a thriller with some stunning writing, which is something I really appreciate in the genre. Additionally, Downes gives us well-formed characters and a gorgeous setting, all elements that give nods to gothic novels of the past, but with juxtaposed with modern elements in today's world.

This book has so many fascinating ideas to explore and lots of shocking twists to keep you guessing.
This book was a bit of a slow burn with the writing taking its time, but was nonetheless a compelling page-turner and I couldn't wait to see all the secrets come to light.
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the advance copy.

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Did you ever read a book that you couldn't stop thinking about for days after you finished it? The Safe Place by Anna Downes was one of those books for me.

Emily is extremely likable as a somewhat scatterbrained, out-of-work actress desperately in need of a job. Her ex-boss, Scott, offers her a job as the housekeeper at his very private, beautiful French estate where his wife, Nina, and their daughter, Aurelia, reside. Nina is upset that Scott spends most of his time in England working instead of in France with his family. However, Nina likes to spend money on the estate so Scott has a legitimate reason for staying away. Emily falls in love with the estate and enjoys spending time with Nina and Aurelia. However, there is deception, and Emily realizes the estate may be beautiful but deadly.

The character development in the story was great. All the characters were believable and the plot sucked me in immediately. The ending wasn't what I expected and, as mentioned above, haunted me for days. Any author who can do that has me waiting for their next book to come out.

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I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can get your copy here:

I just finished this book and all I can say is HOLY CRAP, to keep it lightly. We begin this book with Emily pulling up to a private jet center in a car driven by an actual driver. She then boards a private plane and lands with yet another private driver there to pick her up. They then arrive at an estate with the name Querencia. Ironic, since the street names that she passed were in French and the Estate name is clearly Spanish coming from the name Desire. We are then brought to Chapter One with Emily auditioning in a cold, drafty church hall. Not only did she bomb the audition, but she came back to work late from her “lunch” to be fired from her temp job. Quite the day! The next chapter toggles to Scott, as is the trend with this book. Back and forth between people. Scott is trying to self-mutilate himself before his next appointment. We then go back to Emily who goes to the grocery store and is unsuccessful in purchasing anything and then finds out her rent has bounced and is getting kicked out of her apartment-all this has happened all at once, where she seems like she cannot catch a break. The story soon unfolds as we learn that Emily had actually worked for Scott and that was how they were intertwined. Emily was a temp receptionist in his office. Scott found her entertaining, as she didn’t have a clue what was going on. Scott put her through quite the tasks, just to see if she would do them. Various tedious, redundant tasks, and she succeeded in doing these mindless tasks. Scott hatches quite the plan for Emily and while she is down and out and at her most vulnerable, she falls for it, hook, line and sinker. We are then taken on the adventure of Emily at Querencia. We are taken on quite the adventure! There were so many times that I was freaking out, screaming at Emily, questioning everything. Calculating, manipulative, masochistic, and so many descriptive words can be used to describe this book. I LOVED the author’s ability to describe every situation. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this book. I drank in this book in one afternoon! The author was just AMAZING! This story was soooo good! I am going to be chasing the next amazing book for the next month! Safe place, it was NOT! The ending had me blown away. I did not see that coming!

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It’s not a hard decision to make. You’re estranged from your parents. You failed an audition, your agent just dropped you and you were fired from your temp job. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance offered by your boss, the charismatic, wealthy financier Scott Denny. He asks you to be an assistant to his wife Nina. You’ll be part cook, part gardener and part babysitter to their daughter Aurelia at their beautiful, remote farmhouse on the coast of France. Oh, the job comes with your own guest house, Land Rover to drive, expense account and generous salary. You’ll take the job, right? Of course. And so does Emily Proudman. Unfortunately, she misses some behind the scenes manipulation.

When Emily arrives in France, she is driven to the estate “Querencia” by Yves who does odd jobs around the house. Soon Emily is hard at work and totally captivated by the ethereal, fragile Nina and the troubled Aurelia. However, she notices that things are not as perfect as they originally seemed. Secrets cannot be kept forever and when Emily discovers what is hidden in front of her eyes, she is devastated.

The Safe Place is a mystery guaranteed to keep you up at night. The scenery, the farmhouse, the fast paced plot and well described characters will stay in your head long after you read the final page. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, St.Martin’s Press and Anna Downes for this ARC.

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This is one of the best thriller/suspense novels I've read this year. The sense of foreboding was so strong and the situation was so believable. If there were plot holes I didn't see them. I stayed up way too late racing to finish and I don't regret it at all.

I really can't recall the last book I read that had my brain scrambling as much as this one, the whole way along you could tell something wasn't right, the sense of foreboding and the use of foreshadowing was so well done, but I couldn't really figure out exactly what was going on. The reveal was more of a slow burn than a shocking twist but I liked that. I thought the multiple voices and the flashbacks were both really well done.

This book was a great stand alone but I could also see it as a loose series where maybe emily next uncovers her mystery of her past while finding herself in the present, and maybe Aurelia/Amandine processes what happened to her and struggles to find her place in the world as an older teenager/young adult. I would definitely read more.
This book is at the top of my recommendations.

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The title is a misnomer. The place where Emily ends up appears to be but surely isn’t. When she gets offered an unexpected opportunity by her former boss Scott, she take the chance together her life on track. Everything slowly unravels as we realize that things are not as they appear. People are not who they are supposed to be and things begin to take a frightening turn. The ending is definitely not what I was expecting but I was not disappointed just the same.

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This is a new to me author. Her debut novel and it’s a good one. This book pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. From the start it held my attention. Wanting to know what happened next and why any of it was happening was the pull for me. I loved it. I have to admit I truly loved this book and look forward to more by this author.

Told from two different voices, Emily and Scott, this book is about some deep emotions. About a family and what they will go through for their child.

Emily’s life is really messed up. She doesn’t have anything, no job, no money and soon no place to live, when Scott offers her the chance of a lifetime. She embarks on a new adventure that will change her life forever. She will meet Scott’s wife and daughter and become a part of their lives in ways she never knew possible. A place that is far from ordinary and is most beautiful. She’s to help in many ways and just be a part of the everyday life. It’s perfect for her. Until it’s not.

Scott thinks Emily is the perfect person to help his wife and hires her as a housekeeper, grounds keeper of sorts, to care for their child, help with animals, redoing the guest house and anything that needs to be done. He goes through a lot to get her to accept the position and she is so very grateful. Until she’s not.

This book is so good. It’s setting is a beautiful place that you can visualize. The people that you meet are both good and not so good. But you will like them and you will have mixed emotions about what is happening. You will feel like you are right there through this whole story. From the edge of your seat thrills to the touching feelings of a mother’s love. It’s a roller coaster of a ride for sure. It had me turning pages at a fast rate. I wanted to know who did what and why. One thing I did figure out but mostly I was wrong on most of what I thought was going to happen. This author did a fantastic job of writing this book to keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. I applaud her for that.

It’s honestly a very good book. I could picture so many of the scenes as they played out. How they would look if it was a movie. That is what it felt like, a movie. Only in book form that had me holding my breath at each turn.

Thank you #NetGalley, #AnnaDownes, #StMartin’sPress Minotaur for this ARC. This is my own review.

I gave it 5 stars and a huge recommendation to anyone that likes a good thriller.

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