Title: The Safe Place
Author: Anna Downes
Age Group: Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher—many thanks to St. Martin’s Press!
I received an advanced readers’ copy of The Safe Place in the mail a few months ago, and I was so excited! This book doesn’t come out until July, but after some prodding from my husband, I decided to really get cracking on the massive pile of ARCs and I realized he was right. I’ve been thinking about The Safe Place since it came in the mail, and the cover was so gorgeous and creepy that I decided to start it as soon as I was finished with The Immortal Rules. The Safe Place is Anna Downes’s debut novel; I just finished The Safe Place last night and I’m still reeling. This mystery thriller combines the strange gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the complex, secretive family dynamics of Lisa Jewell. This might be one of my favorite books of 2020; I finished it in less than two days. This was a thriller and a mystery, certainly, but like none I’d ever experienced before. I felt lost on the gorgeous, forbidding and isolated estate of Querencia, awash with sunshine, flowers, sea salt, as well as seeping with secrets and dread around every corner. It even haunted my dreams in the night; I felt like I was really there, not certain where to look or who to trust...
Emily life is one hot mess, and she knows it. Though she is slowly inching toward her mid to late twenties, the acting career she’d left school for isn’t turning out to be as lucrative as she’d hoped. But then, mysteriously, her prayers for salvation are seemingly answered, in the form of a prominent and handsome businessman, Scott Denny. Despite not knowing Emily from Eve, he offers her the job of a lifetime: come to his isolated estate off the coast of France, and be his wife Nina’s personal assistant and live-in housekeeper. Nina welcomes Emily with open arms, and introduces her to their sweet, shy daughter, Aurelia. But it turns out that the spacious, isolated estate hides more secrets than Emily could possibly imagine. And uncovering those secrets just might get her killed...
I really, really enjoyed this book! Mysteries and thrillers make me leery as a genre; I enjoy them a lot, but unfortunately, at times they can be a little bit predictable past the first 100 pages or so. But that wasn’t the case with The Safe Place! This was a thriller that sent chills up and down my spine, and the beautiful, isolated expanse of Querencia had me shivering, the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck standing up. The pacing was breakneck, and I was holding my breath as the book went on. The locale was absolutely beautiful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t quite right about this happy little family, isolated just off the French coast. The creeping sense of dread was such that it followed me aground, even to my dreams. I dreamed I lost myself in the trees and couldn’t find my way out, the air thick with the scent of oranges, flowers, and secrets. I loved all of the characters; I felt like I couldn’t trust any of them. This book doesn’t come out into late July, but I can promise you that this book is not to be missed! I loved every tense, crazy moment, right up to the shocking twist at the end that literally made me gasp! The bottom line: Mysterious, dreadful, gothic and gorgeous, I loved The Safe Place! Next on deck: Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast!