The Safe Place by Anna Downes, 3.5 Stars

Summer 2020, a summer that will go down in history as the most boring summer ever. Okay, hear me out (although I’m sure you totally agree). There is plenty happening in the world as far as the pandemic goes. There is all kinds of racial unrest, causing a movement that feels like it might bring change. It feels that way. I’m also a white woman so I don’t really get to have a full perspective on it.

But I do hope and pray that we are moving towards a world where everyone feels safe and people are not treated differently based on anything- skin color, gender, sexual orientation, any of it. Because really, the only person whose business we need to worry about is ourselves.

Clearly, none of that is boring. But the day to day is. The sitting at home because there is literally nowhere to go. The worry that if we do leave and even dine outdoors at a restaurant that we could make ourselves sick, or worse, pass that illness on to others.

So we sit, we eat and drink well, and take countless walks. And it’s so hot outside, but it doesn’t really feel like summer. Or anything. And the isolation we are all feeling, I felt that in the book I’m reviewing today, The Safe Place.

From the Publisher:

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.

My Review:

It took me a little bit once I started reading this to figure out exactly what was going on. But it goes a bit like this. Emily has lost her job, her boyfriend, and doesn’t even really like her family all that much. Oh and her dream to be an actress? Well, she also lost her agent.

So when her former employer, Scott, offers Emily as job as a nanny/maid at his home in France, she jumps at it. Kind of a weird scenario. Not necessarily one I can imagine ever happening to anyone I know. But she goes, despite the fact that she probably never saw herself as a French housemaid, and that’s there the story gets going.

Things are weird at the estate. The daughter, who she is vaguely told she may watch from time to time, has that rare sun allergy – you know, the one that occurs much more often in movies and books rather than real life. And there’s that instance where the person is stuck out in the sun and you’d think they are melting? That one.But Emily, bizarrely starts enjoying her time at the beautiful, if not run down estate despite family dynamics being a bit off – or way off. Because Scott’s wife, Nina, something is going on there. And Emily’s about to get pulled in deeper.

This one was definitely a good read. I identified with Emily’s isolation on the French Estate – I think we can all identify with isolation right now. I was definitely surprised by the plot twists while also feeling like they didn’t come out of nowhere.

If you want to magically whisked away to France in your isolation, check The Safe Place out. It might even make you feel fortunate for your situation. Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an advanced e-galley in exchange for my honest review. This one is out July 14. Get your copy!


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