31 January 2019

Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair by Emma Rous book cover
* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

The Au Pair by Emma Rous is the perfect blend of atmospheric tension, mystery, twins, dark family secrets and folklore surrounding a large family estate on the Norfolk coast known as Summerbourne.

Unfolding in two narratives, present day Seraphine is a twin exploring the mysterious suicide of her mother the day she and her brother were born at Summerbourne. Seraphine believes the au pair - who disappeared after the suicide - may have information and seeks to track her down.

The second narrator is the au pair Laura and we read about the lead up to Seraphine's birth in the early 1990s from her perspective. This reads like an historical fiction novel, but given the alternate time line is set in the 1990s I guess it really isn't. 

There is an underlying feeling of menace as Seraphine is warned against digging into the past and questioning a photo she found of her mother holding just one baby the day of her birth.

This was the perfect read for me and my only criticism is the cover art. I'd go so far as to say I wouldn't have picked this up in a bookshop based on the cover alone. It just doesn't do the novel justice in my opinion.

The Au Pair by Emma Rous is described as perfect for fans of Kate Morton and I heartily agree. The author gently pulls the reader along on the mystery and I was heavily invested in the story.

Highly recommended!

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I'm glad you read this and loved it! The cover puzzled me a bit too. I wasn't sure if it was Seraphine on the cover or a young Laura. A moody layered image of a house might have been better.

  2. Thanks Theresa, yeah I wasn't sure either. I was imagining a cover with an image of Summerbourne and inset black and white image of the photo Seraphine finds. Even though it was taken in the 1990s, lol! Something a little more atmospheric anyway.

  3. I picked up this one in a pile of books from the library yesterday - now moving it up the reading order. Thanks

  4. I hope you enjoy it Carole, it's definitely worth bumping to the top (or near the top) of your pile.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!