The Au Pair by Emma Rous | Book Review
Author: Emma Rous
Release date: January 8th, 2019
Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother, Danny, were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is smiling serenely and holding just one baby.
Who is the child, and what really happened that day?
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Why did I choose to read The Au Pair?
I learned about The Au Pair when I was doing research for a post for this blog (you can read this post here).
The synopsis is really what caught my attention, although I did find the cover to be beautiful as well. The synopsis intrigued me immensely: I didn’t hesitate and added the book to my shopping cart right away. I wanted to receive it on its release date.
I also thought the story seemed really original. I didn’t think I’d read anything a bit similar.
And finally, I chose to read this book because, as you know by now if you’ve read a few of my book posts, I am a thriller-addict. Whenever I buy a book on impulse, it’s usually one of the mystery/suspense genre. What can I say, I love me a good scare/thrill!
What’s it about?
Seraphine and her twin brother, Danny, have never met their mother: she tragically committed suicide a few hours after their birth. When Seraphine, now an adult, finds an old family portrait taken the day of their birth, in her deceased father’s things, she knows her world is about to be turned upside down.
Because in that picture, their mother is holding only one baby.
Seraphine quickly becomes obsessed with the mysterious photo. Why is their mother looking so serene and happy, just hours before her tragic jump off the cliffs? Which one of the twins is the baby being held? And most importantly, where is the other baby?
The only person that could be able to answer those questions is their older brother’s old Au Pair. As Seraphine tries to track her down and find out the truth, someone is threatening her and the family she holds dear. Someone really doesn’t want the truth to come out…
The story is narrated through Seraphine’s voice and another narrator.
What did I think of The Au Pair?
The Au Pair showed great promise: however, I was a little disappointed (although I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it).
I was a little thrown off when, very early on, the main character finds the mysterious picture mentioned in the synopsis. I’m used to books with a few pages (or even chapters) acting as an “introduction” of sort to the story. In this case, I was left a bit unsatisfied of the lack of background information when Seraphine finds the picture on the second page of the novel.
Also, I had a hard time believing someone could develop such an obsession with finding out about her mother’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, simply by finding an old family portrait. Again, the lack of background information or introduction may have been the cause of my skepticism.
Finally, I thought part of the ending was not very surprising. I hadn’t quite figured out what the big secret was, yet when it was revealed, I wasn’t shocked. The story builds up toward it: you kind of see it coming.
Now, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the book. Once I got past my weird feeling that a few chapters at the beginning were missing, I got into the story. And the other big reveal of the ending DID surprise me.
I read The Au Pair fairly quickly. The book was easy to read and the switch between the two narrators kept things different. The pace was good, and the story was intriguing. I enjoyed the mystery but would have loved to feel a little more deeply for the characters and their backstory.
That’s it for my review of The Au Pair by Emma Rous. Hope it helped you decide on whether to read it yourself. If you’ve read it already, and agree or disagree with my review, please let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!
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