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In The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware takes Henry James’ classic novella, The Turn of the Screw, plants it in the Scottish Highlands, and gives it a 21st-century makeover. She establishes a few things in her 2019 version immediately: a nanny named Rowan Caine is writing from prison, a child has been killed, and Rowan claims she didn’t have anything to do with it. Through her letters, Rowan reveals how she obtained employment as a live-in nanny for a posh couple at a remote but expansive country estate, and how the house, outfitted as a “smart home,” kept her under constant surveillance. There were signs that this gig, and its hefty paycheck, were too good to be true: the past four nannies all quit, and one of the children warned Rowan to stay away. Through an unreliable narrator, creepy kids, and seemingly haunted grounds, Ware builds a looming suspense that keeps readers on their toes until the last page. —Meg Zukin

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