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A tautly plotted Gothic mystery of dark family secrets, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kate Riordan. Seraphine Mayes and her brother Danny are known as the summer-born Summerbournes: the first set of summer twins to be born at Summerbourne House, a crumbling manor on the Norfolk coast. But on the day they were born their mother threw herself to her death over the cliffs behind their house, their au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark-cloaked figures, changelings and a stolen baby. Now twenty-five, and mourning the recent death of their father, Seraphine's brothers join her at Summerbourne to go through their father's things. When they uncover a family photograph taken on the day the twins were born featuring both parents posing with just one baby, Seraphine becomes fixated with the notion that she and Danny might not be twins after all, that she wasn't the baby born that day, and that there was more to her mother's death than she has ever been told... This captivating mystery of who's who will keep you guessing until the very end - because memories, it seems, should never be trusted. 'Don't just pick up and read Emma Rous' The Au Pair, dive into it and get washed away with it' A bookseller
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After her beloved father has died, Seraphine Mayes digs into her family’s history. When she finds a photograph of her mother, her older brother Edwin and one baby, she is astonished: it must have been taken on the day of her birth, but which one is the baby? Seraphine or her twin brother Danny? And why does the mother look so happy, only hours before she committed suicide? The photo must have been taken by the au pair who was then looking for Edwin, a certain Laura. When the young woman starts her search for the former babysitter, memories of rumours surrounding her family home Summerbourne also come back to her mind: why did everybody in the small village always say that twins do not survive in that house? When Seraphine tracks down Laura and tries to contact her, she inadvertently sets in motion a series of events. Emma Rous’ mystery starts as a simply family story and then develops into a suspenseful crime novel. The story is told alternatingly between Seraphine’s search for Laura and the latter’s experiences as an au pair 25 years before. Two young women full of distress who cannot foresee what they run into. The plot is carefully crafted and to sort out the complex connections takes some time thanks to unexpected twists and turns. “The Au Pair” clearly lives on the two protagonists. I liked both of them dearly, Seraphine’s stubbornness is quite convincing, she does not give up even when being threatened, actually this only spurs her curiosity and fervour to uncover the events surrounding her birth. On the other hand, Laura had to flee from her evil stepfather and tries to regain control over her life. Both women are created multifacetedly, especially their relationships are complicated which makes them authentic and believable. Apart from the characters, I especially liked the atmosphere of the novel and the spooky tales that circle around the two family homes which give you the impression of old gothic homes which have some secrets buried that are never meant to come to the light.
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