Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review - The Au Pair

Title:   The Au Pair
Author:  Emma Rous
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Berkley Books
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  360
Date of Publication:  January 8, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

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. 


Seraphine Mayes and her twin, Danny, as well as their older brother Edwin, just lost their father. Soon after Also, their mother committed suicide within hours after Seraphinei's and Danny's birth. While organizing things after their father's death, Seraphine finds something that makes her stop in her tracks. What Seraphine finds has her questioning their past.

She spies a photo. When Seraphine sees her brother Edwin she asks him about it. She asks Edwin if he remembers it, and then there is a second photo, with a teenaged girl in it Edwin remembers as his nanny at the time, Laura. Although Edwin was only four years old then, Laura is clear in his memory. What Edwin tells Seraphine is that after his mother's death, Laura suddenly left. Because the first picture Seraphine found is of their mother with only one of the twins as newborns, she is intensely curious and decides to look Laura up.

As the story develops, it is in the alternating viewpoints of Seraphine and Laura. Quire naturally, Seraphine is speaking in the present tense, whereas Laura's dialogue begins while she, as an eighteen-year-old, begins working with the Mayes family. There were some odd circumstances then that lead to remarkable revelations that are revealed twenty-five years later.

What incredible drama! It is staggering and leads to an ultimately unbelievable and jaw-dropping conclusion. Simply the name of the book in this amazing debut by Emily Rous might make readers aware that there must be a twist that involves the Au Pair Laura. Suffice it to say that what happened during the time she was the nanny is part of what is revealed now. 

This book delivers fast-paced drama with a short but effective cast. Each character shares a responsive role. The mystery of the photographs might have been Seraphine's undoing, but the facts revealed, one by one, certainly just might be. What a story! It came to me as a review ARC, but it was also highly recommended. I am really glad I finally got a chance to read it.

Many thanks to Berkley and to Edelweiss for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.  


Emma 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, then worked as a small animal veterinary surgeon for eighteen years before switching to full time writing in 2016. Emma lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her husband and three sons.

The Au Pair is her first novel. It will be published in ten countries, in nine languages. She is currently writing her second book.


  1. This sounds like one I'd enjoy. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

  2. Awesome review! This one has been on my TBR and I can't wait to read it.

  3. I have this one on my cloud, glad to see you liked it.

  4. Now this sounds like a book I would totally get consumed by. Adding to my TBR!

  5. This is on my TBR list. Glad you enjoyed it!