The bestselling author ofThe Death of Mrs. Westaway offers a take on Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. In Ware's telling, a woman arrives at what seems like a dream job—nannying at the posh Heatherbrae House— but becomes a nightmare, one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
What kind of suspense writer would be so reckless as to invoke Henry James’s masterpiece of terror and ambiguity and expect to see her own work do anything but suffer in the comparison? Happily, the answer is: a superb suspense writer who is dead set on making her own distinctive mark on the governess-alone-with-weird-children-in-an isolated-house formula. The Turn of the Key pays scrupulous homage to James’s The Turn of the Screw and also slyly updates it ... Ware is a master at signaling the presence of evil at the most mundane moments ... Ware’s gifts for structuring an ingenious suspense narrative really come to the fore ... Ware pulls out a stunner on the penultimate page that radically alters how we interpret everything that’s come before ... I daresay even Henry James would be impressed.
... a clever and elegant update to James's story, one with less ambiguity but its own eerie potency ... contains all the most pleasurable hallmarks of the genre ... Rereading Ware, you admire her cleverness, the way she hid her tracks and left bright threads winding in different directions, but the charge is gone. But though mystery is solved, she offers the possibility of another kind of horror, one that is ongoing and very real.
Furnishing a traditional Gothic suspense story line with such ultra-modern trappings may seem incongruous or even anachronistic, but Ware handles this juxtaposition admirably ... The Turn of the Key is a modern Gothic novel with a simple, chilling premise: '[A] young woman, alone, in a strange house, with strangers watching you.' Built around this premise are layers of suspense forming a web of complexities reflecting a number of contemporary concerns ... Unlike The Turn of the Screw...Ware picks a lane, deploying a satisfyingly dizzying parade of twists and reveals without leaving much unexplained.