The Au Pairby Published 08 Jan 2019
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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.
The Au Pair Reviews
The Au Pair by Emma Rous is part gothic suspense with a full measure of domestic noir!
if I were asked to choose the perfect suspense novel, it would There is absolutely nothing that I love more than dark, domestic tales of suspense and murder. The Au Pair has it all.
Seraphine and Danny are twins who, along with their older brother, Edwin, have been raised on an old Victorian estate in Norfolk (UK.) Their lives would appear charmed to the outside world, but there is a darkness within the family that pervades their existence. On the day that the twins were born, their mother threw herself off of a cliff. Now the siblings are attempting to cope with their father's tragic, accidental death. While going through their father's belongings, Seraphine discovers a photograph of their parents with one of the twins taken on the day they were born. Their mother looks blissfully happy. What possibly could have happened to make her kill herself and why is there only one twin? With stories of changelings, faeries and sprites haunting them all of their lives, Seraphine is determined to find answers. But will those answers be the ones she is hoping to find or will it lead to more heartbreak for this cursed family.
Told from two points of view, Seraphine's and that of Laura, the au pair at the time of their birth, Rous weaves together a story of a wealthy family with mental instability, far too many secrets and characters who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets hidden. The complex plot twists and turns in very unexpected ways and takes the reader on a journey from the present to the past and back again. Although I am one who does not like surprises in my noir novels, this ending will absolutely blow your mind! The resolution, however, is perfection!
For those who love domestic drama, suspense and fast paced fiction, this is definitely a book you will want to read! Mark it now, order early, it will be published January 8th
Thanks to @BerkleyPub for my copy of this fantastic book!
Such a page turner, I ended up finishing it in a day. It's just one of those good old popcorn eating reads in which you can't wait to see how everything unfolds.
Seraphine and her twin brother Danny were only hours old when their mother committed suicide off the cliffs of the Norfolk coast. Now an adult, Seraphine is mourning the death of her father. While going through his possessions at the family estate, she uncovers a family photograph of her parents, older brother Edwin, and a baby on what looks like the day she and Danny were born. But what strikes Seraphine is odd is her mother is smiling in the photo even though in a mere matter of hours she kills herself and there is only one baby in the photograph. What does this mean and will she be able to find the answers she is looking for even though so many years have passed?
In terms of sheer entertainment, this was a 5 star read. I loved the dual timelines of the present with Seraphine and the past with the au pair, Laura. The story does become a little complicated towards the end and there were times I had to pause and get everything squared away in my head before I could continue reading. I think some valid points could be made on whether the story is realistic however this book has that weird, creepy but fun, trainwreck type vibe that whether or not it is believable doesn't really matter much to me. This is the type of book you read when you want to escape from your life and read about the crazy, messed up lives of other people. A perfect vacation read!
I received a free copy in the mail from the publisher but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Mystique, atmosphere, and surprising twists!
This novel was so captivating that I did not want to put it down! There is a compelling aura of mystery that hovers around the birth of the twins- Seraphine and Danny.
The twins were born at home at the family's beautiful, sprawling Norfolk estate. A photograph is taken of the parents, their older son Edwin, and their mother, Ruth. Although, she is only holding only one of her newborn twins. Where is the second twin? Which one is in the photograph? The novel will reveal the unpredictable answers.
The setting with the estate's beautiful gardens, the near-by beach and the menacing cliffs was atmospheric. The gardener who tells spooky tales. and a young nanny hired by the family, make this story enchanting and seductive with some gothic vibes.
The secrets come out in the second half of the story and you may be able to catch some hints to what is going on along the way. I was flipping pages as fast as I could while more twists continued until they turned into a full blown tornado! I thought I was ahead of the game, but OH NO, take my word for it, I was stunned.
An elegantly written suspense novel with some gothic vibes. Highly recommend!
4 stars! A gripping, atmospheric and jaw-dropping read!
This novel follows the Mayes family, whose history holds many secrets. Seraphine Mayes is grieving the death of her father. While helping to clear out her father’s vast estate, she stumbles across a photograph that leads to some unrelenting questions. Seraphine knows that on the day of her and her twin brother’s birth, their mother took her own life, leaving the family in complete devastation. She has always harboured countless questions about that time, never receiving explanation from her father or grandmother. Laura, the au pair living with the Mayes family during that time, fled that same day, never to be heard from again.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding of this engrossing mystery. The pace was perfect, the dual perspectives were excellent, the flow was seamless. I absolutely loved the “feel” of this story. It was a thrilling ride that had me itching to click on that 5 star rating, until the last 20% when the story lost some steam. There was too much drama at the end and I felt some storyline twists were over-the-top. I do recommend this novel as the writing, the characters and the atmosphere are all unforgettably exceptional, just be prepared for a lot happening at the conclusion.
This was a Traveling Sister read. To find this review, please visit our blog at:
Thank you to Edelweiss, Berkley and Emma Rous for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Expected Date of Publication: January 8, 2019.
Thank you to the publisher Berkley who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.
Summerbourne is an English country estate set against the beach and cliffs, a beloved refuge of the Summerbourne family. However, over the years it has suffered heartbreaking tragedies involving the death of a twin, and the suicide of a mother. In 1992 Ruth Mayes (Summerbourne heir) threw herself off the cliff in back of the house on the same day she gave birth to twins Seraphine and Danny. Several years earlier she had given birth to twins Edwin and Theo, but Theo died after falling from the cliff shortly after his second birthday. In fact, Summerbourne has a mystic reputation among the villagers for not letting the family keep their twins. In the years since their births, Seraphine and Danny have been nicknamed the "Summerbourne Sprites" by some of the neighbors. There was no midwife at the house when Seraphine and Danny were born. Also, Seraphine was much larger and robust than Danny, and she sported a different skin tone. As they grew their sizes became comparable, but the mystery and horror of what their mother did always left an unsettling feeling and unanswered questions.
Seraphine loves the Summerbourne estate more than her twin brother Danny and hopes that one day her grandmother Vera will leave it to her. She's still reeling from the recent accidental death of their father Dominic, who was found bloodied and fallen from a ladder by the garage. She's exploring the contents of her father's desk and finds a family photo from the day she and Danny were born. However, in the photo her mother Ruth is holding just one baby. This fact ignites the old uncertainties surrounding her birth and that of her twin brother Danny. Her mother looks serene in the photo, with no inkling that she would throw herself off the cliff just hours later. Also, Seraphine remembers that an eighteen year old au pair named Laura had worked for the Mayes that year, but left the family right after the births. Did Laura take the picture? Maybe she can provide critical insight of that momentous day in 1992, because SHE WAS THERE. To that end, a determined and driven Seraphine sets off to find the former au pair.
This is a story of a privileged family that has known tragedy and is guarding secrets. It is a slowly unraveling mystery that culminates in a riveting, yet sobering conclusion.