“The Au Pair,” by Emma Rous, follows Seraphine Mayes as she works to untangle the true story of her parentage and the reason her grandmother seems to prefer her twin brother, Danny, over her. Is there a mystery as to her true parentage? Is that what her father was hinting at when he said he needed to talk to all the kids just before he died unexpectedly in a home repair accident? Or is she just overwrought with grief and lashing out, looking for something to keep her occupied? Or is she… going crazy?
I received this book for free as part of a promotion. My opinions are my own.
“The Au Pair” is a fast read, I consumed it in about a day, and follows the lives of two linked women during important times of their lives: Laura, as she au pairs for a family living on the coast of Norfolk in a palatial manse; and Seraphine who is the daughter of the family Laura au paired for up until her birth. Laura is dealing with her own trauma and mysteries, while Seraphine tries to track down who her parents actually are… although she has no real reason to suspect her parents aren’t her own other than her being larger at the birth of her and her twin brother, and their mom throwing herself off a cliff. Although at one point they find a photo of their mother looking happy and cradling… a single child.
The book’s a bit of a thriller, a bit of a mystery, but mostly very predictable. The Big Reveal is a bit of a cheat because it lies on an unreliable narrator lying/withholding the truth about something vital to the plot when she’s a viewpoint character. There’s hints to that lying and the lie is fairly obvious but it’s… still there and I hate those kind of cheats.
Because it’s so predictable, there’s a stretch of the book where the reader has mostly figured things out and is waiting for the cast to catch up. There’s also a lot of frankly unrealistic stuff going on, but going into that is spoiler territory.
The actual writing was engaging and good and why I finished the book, and why I rated it three stars instead of two. “The Au Pair” cover blurb compares it to V. C. Andrews but for that to be the case there needed to be a soupçon more incest. It’s as fast paced as an Andrews book, I’ll give it that.