The Au Pair

In The Au Pair, Emma Rous presents readers with a thorny tale of twisted relationships and their lasting ramifications. Seraphine and her twin brother, Danny, have just lost their father. While going through his papers, they discover a photograph that neither of them has ever seen before--a photo that was taken shortly after their birth and only hours before their mother's tragic suicide. It shows their smiling parents and one baby. Unsettled, Seraphine begins to dig into her family's troubled past and discovers that the only person left who can provide any answers is the mysterious au pair, Laura, who fled in disgrace the day Seraphine was born.

Emma Rous's engrossing debut novel is delightfully lurid and evocative. Full of twists, turns and red herrings, the mystery is satisfyingly complex with a nice touch of romance on the side. The setting, an estate and village on the coast of England, adds color and atmosphere, while the alternating narrators--Seraphine in the present and Laura in the past--inject the story with an exciting sense of urgency. At times, Seraphine herself recedes to the background as her imperious grandmother Vera steals the show. The Au Pair is a juicy and compelling read, by a promising new author. --Judie Evans, librarian

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