The Au Pair by Emma Rous, 3.5 Stars

I’ve just returned from MotherBoy. Well, it wasn’t a pageant. But it was a super-hero themed school event for boys and their moms. Games, sweets, DJ…that’s right, it was a thinly veiled mother/son dance. And I tried to warn them, but they refused to see the very clear signs.

First I was ditched. Which I was actually okay with. Next, there was a balloon batting, knee slamming incident and my son was mortally wounded. Or at least that’s how it appeared.

Just 45 minutes in, I  pull the car up and somehow my son hobbles to his seat. Don’t worry. Miraculously, 5-minutes later, when we got home, he was much better and was able to walk without even the slightest limp. Hmmm…

For the record, it was not my idea to go…that was all them. I mean, they could have just asked to leave. But, all’s well that ends well.  Here I sit in my She-ra shirt I bought for the super-hero event with some unexpected time to blog. I think the night worked out nicely!

From the Publisher:

If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

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?

My Review:

The premise of The Au Pair pulled me in right away. A woman throws herself off a cliff behind her isolated estate the night she gives birth to twins. And now, 25 years later, her daughter, Seraphine, wonders what led her mother to the edge of that cliff and whatever happened to the au pair–what does she know?

I agree there were certain V.C. Andrews elements to the plot. The story switches back and forth from Seraphine’s present day perspective to Laura’s ( the au pair), 25 years earlier. Laura has been hired to keep an eye on Edwin, whose twin toddled off the side of the same cliff behind his house. So she has to really watch him as his mom is a bit of a mess. 

So just the fact that Seraphine has a twin–Danny, and Edwin had a twin is a  little weird,  but I guess those types of things do run in families? And the mom isn’t a hot mess, she is just sort of absent-minded and random. And she has a “friend” who visits a lot and she has kind of weird relationship there. 

From this point in the story, things start to get going. There are love triangles or squares and secrets and lies. And I really couldn’t figure any of it out on my own. I’m not sure if it was because some of it was just that random or if the author did a great job of eluding me. 

I’m giving it 3.5 stars. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. And I loved the mystery. But in the second half of the book, the mystery threated to run away with itself and I would have liked to identify more with at least one of the characters. Good story, but I wasn’t emotionally attached. 

Special thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for an e-galley in exchange for my honest review. The Au Pair was also a January 2019 IndieNext Selection, so don’t just trust my opinion, check it out! This one is out January 8, 2019. 


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