Anna Downes | The Safe Place

the safe place anna downes

The Book:

The Safe Place by Anna Downes

The Characters:

Emily Proudman; Scott and Nina Downes and their daughter Aurelia; groundskeeper Yves

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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The Plot: 

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day. Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily. 

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool.

But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.

Click here for book spoilers
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Safe Place, I suggest you turn back now.

Emily has had a crush on Scott since before he approached her about the housekeeping job. When he visits the family one weekend, they get drunk and he kisses her. Emily is wracked with guilt since she has become good friends with Nina. 

The Twist: 

One day while in town shopping, Emily realizes that she has seen Aurelia before–in missing child adverts a few years ago when she was kidnapped. She considers going to the police but goes back to the estate instead. 

Nina had instructed Ives, the handyman, to follow Emily. When Ives sees Emily sitting outside of the police station, Nina puts together that Emily knows her secret. She contacts Scott to come to take care of Emily for her. 

Scott has feelings for Emily and is unable to kill her like Nina wants him to. He fires a shot into the air, bribes Emily with money to keep her quiet, and goes back to Nina and tells her he killed and buried her. 

The Ending: 

Emily donates Scott’s bribe to charity and then turns him and Nina in to the police. Nina is arrested, and Scott kills himself by jumping from the guest house window as the police are coming for him.

The Review: 

This book was largely enjoyable–I loved the setting on the coast of France. The author did a beautiful job of describing the scenery. I thought the atmosphere was perfect for the story.

However I feel like the ending left a lot unanswered, and the author could have done a better job of tying up the characters’ storylines. I am not sure how to say more without giving things away, but I feel like I latched onto a few things early in the story that didn’t end up coming up again, or that didn’t matter to the plot in a way that I felt they should have.

The characters weren’t bad, but also didn’t have me falling in love with them enough to carry the plot. Emily was a little annoying–she refused to stand up for herself with her employers (maybe she shouldn’t have gone to work privately for a married guy she had a thing for in the first place?) and was horribly wishy-washy when it came to important decisions. At least she made up for it in the end.

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC of The Safe Place in exchange for an honest review.

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