The safe place A novel

Anna Downes

Book - 2020

"Emily Proudman's life is in chaos. She's just lost her acting agent and her job in one miserable day. Scott Denny has a problem. Even though he's a successful CEO, neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can come close to fixing it. He's at a breaking point. Until he meets Emily. Emily is friendly and agreeable. Emily is desperate. Emily is perfect. Scott offers Emily what seems the perfect summer job as a housekeeper and nanny on his remote French estate. Emily is quickly enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and even his strange young daughter, and falls headlong into this apparent paradise. But before long, Emily realizes that Scott and his wife are hiding dangerous secrets. And if Emily doesn't play along..., the beautiful place they call home might turn out to be a prison from which none of them will ever escape."--

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FICTION/Downes Anna
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Downes Anna Checked In
Thrillers (Fiction)
Gothic fiction
Domestic fiction
Suspense fiction
Australian fiction 21st century
New York : Minotaur Books 2020.
Main Author
Anna Downes (author)
First U.S. edition
Physical Description
353 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Emily Proudman has just lost her temp job, bombed her most recent audition, and was almost hit by a bus. She's beyond desperate for money, so when her former boss, Scott, offers her a job as a housekeeper at his second home in France, she can't say yes fast enough. As housekeeper, she will wear many hats: groundskeeper, babysitter to his six-year-old daughter, Aurelia, and companion to his wife, Nina, while Scott spends most of his time at work in London. The French estate, Querencia, is pristine in its beauty with a pool, views for days, and delicious food offered up at every meal. Emily never wants to leave, but soon she starts to see cracks in the beautiful life that Scott and Nina have made for their family. British actress Downes' debut novel is a slow burn of a story with Emily picking up on snippets of conversations as a breadcrumb trail leads her to an astounding conclusion. A great read for those looking for a side of mystery with their women's fiction.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Almost overnight, struggling London actor Emily Proudman, the protagonist of former actor Downes's atmospheric, fitfully gripping debut, goes from being fired from the office temp job that's barely paying her bills to being hired--by the same boss, no less, dashing investment firm CEO Scott Denny--for a gig as housekeeper/personal assistant for his reclusive wife, Nina, and their six-year-old daughter, Aurelia, at the family's estate, Querencia, in the French countryside. At Querencia, Emily is initially bewitched by both the unimaginably lush estate and Nina, who's fiercely devoted to a child whose issues seem to go well beyond a supposed extreme sensitivity to sunlight. But as wine-soaked summer weeks pass with Nina remaining as emotionally tightly defended as the gated grounds, the girl either mute or howling during one of her tantrums, and no sign of Scott, even someone as naive as Emily suspects there's something rotten in paradise. At her peril, she starts to snoop. Though plenty of surprises await the reader, Aurelia's palpable suffering casts something of a pall over this mix of romantic escapism and gothic menace. Ruth Ware fans may want to check this one out. 200,000-copy announced first printing. (July)

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