This week's book was very hyped up on Pinterest before it's release, and I was very excited to read it. It promised to be a suspenseful mystery, full of family drama set against a peaceful English estate.
I found that the book failed to deliver on many fronts, and I was actually a little disappointed after all the hype!
So, before I dive into my review, catch up on why I do a weekly book review here!
Sit back, and keep reading, because here's my review for The Au Pair by Emma Rous.
The Au Pair starts at Summerbourne, an idyllic English estate on the Norfolk coast. The novel opens with the protagonist, Seraphine, going through her deceased father's desk. Inside, she finds a picture of her parents only holding one baby, despite the fact that she has a twin brother.
This is the only picture of her mom holding one of the twins, as she committed suicide by jumping off a cliff after the twins were born. She tells her brothers, twin Danny, and older brother Edwin, about the picture causing all the kids to wonder about what really happened the summer the "twins" were born.
Seraphine soon tracks down the woman, Laura, who was the Au Pair the year they were born. And soon realizes that Laura is being threatened not to speak to Seraphine.
Seraphine soon finds herself being threatened at Summerbourne, with a message in lipstick on her mirror, and "stop" burned into the grass in her front lawn.
Despite the warnings, Seraphine searches out Alex, or "Uncle Alex," as Edwin used to call him, knowing he had been at Summerbourne the summer she and Danny were born.
When she meets Alex, and his daughter Kiara, he tells her that it's impossible for her to exist and to not talk to him anymore.
Kiara reaches out, searching for information on her own mother. She learns that she was born on the same day as Danny and Seraphine. She joins the siblings at Summerbourne, and soon they discover that Laura was there and attacked by the cliff's edge.
Once Laura recovers from her attack, she travels back to Summerbourne to reveal to Seraphine, Danny, and Kiara what really happened on the day they were all born.
Interspersed between Seraphine's chapters are chapters from Laura's point of view that help fill in some of the gaps of the story.
This book was very highly anticipated on Pinterest, so I excitedly added it to my list of books to read in 2019. And I am actually a little disappointed. The novel has several huge jumps in logic, and is highly unbelievable (Someone is pregnant with twins and doesn't know it! Because that's plausible!)! The plot feels very stretched. For a mystery to be good it needs to be at least a little likely to actually happen.
I also found Seraphine to be a really unlikeable charater. I liked Laura's chapters, but found Seraphine to be annoying. She makes huge assumptions, doesn't call the police when someone breaks into her house, and asks a guy to move in with her after only three months! I found myself rooting for Laura more than Seraphine.
From a stylistic stand-point, there was nothing special about Rous's writing. It read as childish sometimes. With such an idyllic setting I expected some lovely poetic writing, and got very little in that regard. It was a plain read with no phrases that stuck out to me.
I expected to The Au Pair to be a mysterious family drama juxtaposed against an English estate, and I was sorely disappointed.
I give The Au Pair a 2 out of 5.