Published January 8th 2019 by Berkley Books
This book opens in 2017, shortly after Seraphine’s father has died. She is sorting through his things when she finds a picture. It is a picture of her mother, father, older brother Edwina baby in her mother’s arms. It is dated the day Seraphine and her twin brother Danny were born, but why is there only one baby in the picture? It is also the day that everything changed for her family. Her mother looks happy and calm, yet this is shortly before she throws herself off the cliff and dies, leaving the family bereft and forever changed. When she shows the picture to Edwin, he is also puzzled about the missing twin. Finding another picture of himself, he points out Laura, his au pair and wonders aloud whatever happened to her, after she left the family. Seraphine is sure that Laura will have some answers for her, so she sets out to track her down and sets in motion the opening of a box or secrets.
This is Emma Rous’ debut novel and it is a winner. The characters were fascinating, multi-layered and full of emotions. The story is told from the POV of both Seraphine and Laura, as well as from the past and the present. It sounds like it could be confusing, but it is not. The author does a great job with the various time periods and narrators, I never had a problem knowing who was speaking or what time we were in. There were a few times that the story was a bit slow-moving, but would pick up again keeping this reader invested in the story. I didn’t find this story a thriller, so much as a suspense with some mystery to it. There were so many secrets, folk tales, and whispers that there was also a gothic feel to this story. I did not see some of the twists coming and suffice it say that as the secrets were unveiled, I was glued to the story. There was a satisfactory ending to this one, but not as good as I expected. Once the final twist occurred, I was a bit let down by some of the reactions and the wrapping up of the story. Besides that, I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it to readers of suspense and mystery.
About the Book: 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 beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.
Who is the child and what really happened that day? One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.
About the Author: Emma Rous grew up in England, Indonesia, Kuwait, Portugal and Fiji, and from a young age she had two ambitions: to write stories, and to look after animals. She studied veterinary medicine and zoology at the University of Cambridge, and worked as a veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before starting to write fiction. Emma lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her husband and three sons.
The Au Pair is her first novel. It will be published in eleven countries, in ten languages. She is currently writing her second book.