Friday Book Whimsy: The Au Pair

I patiently awaited my turn at the library for The Au Pair by Emma Rous because you just can’t beat a thriller that involves a nanny or an au pair. Really, you can’t beat any story involving a near-stranger taking care of your kids. And an au pair is just THAT much more interesting and potentially nefarious because no one really knows what an au pair is.

Seraphine and Daniel are adult twins who live near the sea on the Norfolk coast of the UK. They, along with their elder brother Edgar, are mourning the accidental death of their father. As Seraphine is going through his things, she stumbles upon — as characters in such stories tend to do — a photograph of their mother holding a newborn baby. Seraphine knows it’s either she or Danny, but can’t figure out why it’s only one of them. And it further gets her to wondering just why her mother committed suicide just hours after she and Danny were born and why the au pair who was hired to care for little Edgar disappeared that same day.

Though I felt the plot was somewhat flawed (aren’t there a number of reasons why her mother would only be holding one of the babies?), I found the story interesting enough that I kept on reading.

I’m mostly glad I did, because I liked the author’s character development. The mental instability of the mother made her a sympathetic character. The fact that Seraphine’s brothers (mostly) rallied around her quest to discover the secrets of her family’s past felt real. The ending provided a few surprises.

The ending however, also seemed very contrived, almost as though the author got tired of writing the story and just wanted to wrap things up. I found her conclusion confusing and somewhat predictable and unrealistic. That somewhat spoiled what I thought was otherwise a pretty decent read.

Here is a link to the book.