Publication Day Book Review – The Safe Place by Anna Downes

Dear Reades,

30 June 2020 is full of Publications’ Celebrations.

Thanks to Netgalley approvals and pre-approval from Hachette Australia I am lucky to read several books to be published today.

The first one I read out of the 30 June PDay bunch was The Safe Place by Anna Downes. And I didn’t regret it. I could not put the book down and read it in one go.

There were a few places where I wanted to stop. It was too much. I wanted to turn off my E-reader and come back to the book in daylight… but… One sleepless night later, here it is. Done.


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

Welcome to paradise…will you ever be able to leave?

Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

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. 


Never forget the garden and nice old lady from the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen… When it looks too good, it usually is…

When Emily life goes to sh” she has nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing… Being a Devil’s Advocate (and mum to a grown up daughter) I could see what Emily does wrong and point out her failures and ways how she could have saved herself some grief. But everyone should have their own story…

Emily takes her boss up on an offer noone in her situation could refuse. He offers her an escape. He offers her a pause. He offers her the world for close to nothing.

When Emily sees the grounds of the estate she is to work at, she is mesmerised. However, the author while painting a picture of paradise leaves some shadows and some sticks around to get the reader’s danger radar on… She does it so amazingly, you can hardly notice. But… remember the Snow Queen fairytale.

While settling in quite nicely, Emily begins to pick up on signs of disquiet very quickly. On one hand she opens up to her employer, the mistress of the estate. On the other, she is wondering why Wi-Fi does or phone does not work.

Bit by bit Emily is getting on. And when all pieces of the puzzle drop in place… she is trying to do what she does best – run away from problems. But she can’t. She decides to act, to grow up and to face her demons and those around her…

The horror of the story is not in gore and ugly details. It is in the beauty and luxury, endless money reserves and satisfying every whim. But the luxury is covered in sticky dust. And money seem to buy useless things. Moreover, the power that money give is used for evil.

I loved this book. I was shocked by the story. It was so beautifuly horrific and horribly amazing. The characters were drawn with scary precision and insight. There was noone to like, to identify with. They all had their falws and rottenness. They all had their secrets and forgotten memories. They all needed each other like a sore needs a surgical knife…

This book was unputdownable and was read in one sitting.

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