The Safe Place by Anna Downes

Happy Pub Day, Anna Downes! Tremendous thanks to you and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced reader copy of The Safe Place!

Superbly tense and oozing with atmosphere, Anna Downes’s debut is the perfect summer suspense, with the modern gothic feel of Ruth Ware and the morally complex family dynamics of Lisa Jewell.

I’ve kind of become obsessed with entering giveaways and jumping at every chance I can to get my hands on advanced reader copies of books. The Safe Place was no different. Plus, it looked like the perfect summer read.

About Anna Downes

anna downes the safe place

It turns out that Anna Downes used to be an actress and has starred in a ton of things in the UK. She has multiple drama/theatre degrees as well. She was inspired to write The Safe Place based on her time as a live-in housekeeper in an estate in France.

The Safe Place

the safe place

We are introduced to two different character perspectives: Emily, a struggling actress; and Scott, a disconnected millionaire. There are also interspersed “journal entries” from a third person. Emily works at Scott’s company as a receptionist, but is quickly fired for poor job performance. She tends to run late from auditions, or is scatterbrained and unable to do her job.

We come to learn that Scott has a wife who he does not live with full time. She is at their “vacation estate” in France with their daughter. After being fired, Scott plans a run-in with Emily where he offers her a job as a live-in housekeeper (plus a hundred other jobs) with his wife. The estate can get lonely, and it’s a great place to spend the summer.

Emily accepts the job, heading off to France in the height of luxury. She quickly becomes friends with Scott’s wife, Nina (the “owner” of those journal entries), as well as their…”troubled” daughter. A large portion of the job is fixing up the guest house on the property, taking care of the animals, and things like that. There’s just one rule: Never enter the main house.

As time goes on, Emily realizes that there is something strange going on and she needs to get out of there.

My Thoughts

I can’t write too much more about the storyline without giving too much away. There is a twist in the end that caught me just a little bit off guard. There was a fair bit of lead up to it, so you couldn’t be too surprised.

Overall, it was a good book! I believe I gave it four stars on Goodreads. The multiple perspectives kept the story moving which meant that I didn’t want to put it down. At points, I did feel that Scott’s perspective was unnecessary. It was laying the groundwork for some of the nonsense that happens in the end, but it was a lot of the same thing over and over again.

Also, super unrelated, my ARC was a good size. It was a large enough book to hold without my fingers cramping (like mass market paperbacks do), but some points were lost for the paper used (it dried out my hands real bad).

The Safe Place published July 14, 2020!

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