Suspenseful page turner!

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The Safe Place is a standout debut novel by Anna Downes that I found to be fast-paced and fresh. The cover itself would have been enough reason for me to pick this book off the shelf in a bookstore, but the synopsis hooked me completely and I couldn’t wait to read it!

Things in Emily Proudman’s life have not been going according to plan— she was fired from her job, dropped by her acting agent, and evicted from her apartment all in the same day. So when Scott Denny offers her a summer job on his gorgeous French estate as a live-in housekeeper, it doesn’t take long for her to graciously accept the position. Emily finds herself captivated by Scott’s wife, Nina, and the two quickly become friends. But soon after her arrival, it becomes clear that there are secrets centered around Aurelia, Scott and Nina’s peculiar daughter, who has a myriad of health issues. Emily realizes that life in Querencia isn’t as enchanting as it seems, and there are dangerous secrets lurking below the surface that she knows she must reveal.

Told from multiple points of view, the tension and anticipation of the plot was slowly built up, keeping readers guessing until the end. Emily’s chapters were told in the present and allowed us a bird’s eye view of the events as they unfolded. Nina’s flashbacks took place in the past and allowed readers to understand the backstory of how the present came to be. Scott’s chapters allowed us a glimpse of his thoughts and anger, slowly revealing hidden secrets, and tying together the past with the present. The alternating timelines gave the narrative depth and allowed the layers of mystery which surrounded Aurelia to slowly be peeled away until the truth was ready to be revealed.

Some earlier reviews mentioned they found the plot to be predictable, but I was completely thrown off the scent trail. I’m a sucker for a huge twisty ending, and I didn’t feel this conclusion was that for me. However, it did not leave me feeling disappointed. I think all the loose ends came together nicely and I was quite pleased with how was all wrapped up.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes to read fast-paced page turners, and I look forward to what Anna Downes’ writes next!