The Safe Place by Anna Downes

Well, I am just plugging through these books this summer. Do you remember reading programs from when you were a kid? Like from the library during the summer? I got so into those as a kid and killed them pretty much every summer. I just loved to read and would go home with so many books from the library. And I think NetGalley is quickly becoming my new summer reading program as an adult. I’ve started reading a lot of thrillers and crime fiction, and I have to give a shout out here to one of my favorite Instagrammers, Crime by the Book, for her recommendations. I love her aesthetic on Instagram, and she seems to know all the good books as well. I definitely recommend giving her a follow if you’re into pretty book pictures and good crime reads.

My next read (via NetGalley, of course) was The Safe Place by Anna Downes. Like seemingly a lot of the books I pick up lately, this one takes place in Europe and partly in London (by far my favorite city on the planet). First I have to mention, how beautiful is this cover? That pool looks super inviting and the colors are just perfect. I just had an electronic copy of this book, but if I was out book shopping, this cover would catch my eye for sure. 

Plot Details

The Safe Place is the story of Emily, an aspiring actress who seems to be having no luck lately. However, her luck starts to turn around when her former boss, Scott, offers her a new job as the housekeeper and helper for his wife and young daughter on his estate in France. After some thought, Emily jumps at the chance. Spending a summer on a beautiful secluded property on the water in France? What’s not to like? So she heads there and finds that it is everything Scott described it as. Has her luck finally changed? While the estate is beautiful, as is Scott’s wife, Nina, Emily starts to feel like something is off. Is it their supposedly ill daughter?  Why is it that Nina won’t even let her in the main house, instead banishing her to just the guest house, as beautiful as it is? The more Emily starts to notice about Scott’s home and family, she starts to wonder if this is really a dream or more of a nightmare.

My Thoughts

This is Anna Downes first novel, and it is a doozy. I was into this one from the start! It’s such a fascinating premise. Girl is down on her luck and gets an offer that’s too good to refuse. I know I’d be tempted to go stay at this awesome place in France too. Of course, there’s almost always a catch. But what are Scott and Emily hiding? One thing that kept me sucked in was that I really didn’t know what the twist was. You know from the very beginning that something is going on, but it could be so many different things. I have to admit, the ending really wasn’t what I was expecting. But that’s a good thing! 

One great thing about this book was the slow burn. But not too slow. Just enough to keep you hooked and make you want to keep reading to find out more. The book is told from both Scott and Emily’s perspectives, alternating chapters between the two. You got to see both sides this way. There’s also some scatterings in there from even Nina’s perspective. You find out bits and pieces but it’s not quite enough to piece together the whole story until you’re meant to. And that’s about as much as I can say without giving away spoilers!

The Safe Place was a perfect summer read. Whether you’re stuck inside or sitting by the pool, pick this one up when it comes out next week. Anna Downes is a great storyteller, and I can’t wait to read whatever’s next from her – hopefully there will be more to come!

Rating: 4/5 stars