Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
Source: Received an ARC through Amazon's Vine program in exchange for an honest review.
What a creepy book-as you might guess from the cover. Inspired by Henry James' The Turn of the Screw comes this page-turner from Adele Griffin. Having never read that (though it's on my list!), everything that happened was completely new and surprising to me. Even if you have read James' story, I bet there is a lot to discover in this one.
Jamie is recovering from an injury and has grown to rely on painkillers. She receives a job offer to be a summer au pair to Isa on an island. Although Isa is sweet, the housekeeper Connie is snippy and Isa's older brother Milo, who comes to stay after being kicked out of summer camp, knows just how to push Jamie's buttons. Jamie also begins to learn about Jessie, the previous year's nanny, and her boyfriend Peter, who mysteriously died last year; thoughts about the two consume her until the final conclusion.
Although I at first believed this was a straightforward story, I soon realized that was not the case as Jamie's reliance on pills pushed her narration into unreliable territory. I was constantly questioning the veracity of what she said because I wasn't sure about her sanity. This kept me in a state of perpetual anticipation as I devoured the book, needing to know what came next. There were even a couple of parts that frightened me, especially those relating to Peter, who may have had his own problems.
Overall: Good pacing, good writing, good story.