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This is the last email you will get from me with meeting notes before the big Christmas Party QUIZ! Yes, I said quiz, you know there will be one. One question from each of the 12 books we’ve read this year. If you haven’t read them, don’t worry – most people can’t remember what they did last night let alone a book they read 11 months ago, so the playing field is rather level. It’s just for fun, oh yeah, and prizes. But no pressure.

PLEASE NOTE: I will be including a couple of used books in your Christmas packages. Sharon Long and I have been saving them all year, so I probably have 2-3 per person – YAY BOOKS! If you use Goodreads, please friend me if we’re not already connected so I can make an educated guess when I choose which books to include for you. I’d rather not send something you’ve read already.

If you ARE coming to the party, please get those Secret Santa gifts mailed by December 1st. The USPS is not getting any better at delivering things on time. Let me know if you have any questions.

Ok, I need to start off this November update with – holy crap people! We really liked a Ruth Ware book! I don’t know about where you were, but at my location confetti fell from the ceiling, I was shocked.

Before we discussed the book, we had a book title picture puzzle. Congrats to Jose and Kelly, our quiz winners and the proud owners of a copy of The Turn of the Screw, the book that Ruth Ware used as her inspiration.

I have to admit that I hadn’t read The Turn of the Screw and only saw the newest movie (staring Lady Mary from Downton) on Halloween when Amazon Prime recommended it to me. By the time I made the connection to Turn of the Key (Ruthy was super tricky with that name change, which is why I didn’t catch on right away) I actually wondered if that would be a turn off for some. I know Amy has commented that Ms. Ware likes to borrow—read steal—her plots from Agatha Christie.

But apparently most people weren’t bothered. We gave the book one 9, a whopping ELEVEN 8s, three 7s, one 6, and one 5 (oh yeah, and Stephanie emailed with a passionate love of the book and everything Ruth Ware, all the way from Yorkshire, England – you know I’m kidding, she hates Ruth books and nothing has changed).

So what caused all of those 7s, 8s, and 9? The positives were that it was creepy and we love creepy. Although Sharon Klein did have to read it during the day because it creeped her out a little too much. Sharon Long did take away 1 point because there wasn’t a ghost and Jose and a few others also wanted one, but some (me included) were happy that there was a living culprit. We liked the twists, specifically the twist that the slimy Dad was really Rowan’s Dad too. We liked that it was told in letter form as Rowan wrote to the lawyer.

I think we all agreed that all of those cameras were super creepy (I am using that word a lot) and that the parents were not winning any awards for parents of the year. I mean who hires a new nanny and then leaves her 3 kids (one a baby) with this stranger within days? We weren’t all in agreement as to whether or not Rowan was alive at the end. I think we finally agreed that she wasn’t, but we don’t know how she died.

Some of the negatives from the people who still gave it a high score: Jeff thought there should have been more suspects, Kelly rolled her eyes at some of the characters, Allie just couldn’t like any of the characters, and the aforementioned lack of a ghost from Sharon.

Negatives from people who gave it a low score: Amy wished it was written better, but on a super positive note, she said it wasn’t the worst Ruth Ware book—she’s hated others way more. So there’s that. Janice just doesn’t like ghost stories. Stephanie thought it was a great start, rubbish middle, with an implausible ending.

You may or not be happy to know that Ruth’s next book is out. I’ve put it on the book choice list for next time. Insert evil laugh here. It appears to be a takeoff on And Then There Were None but in a workplace retreat type setting. The set up sounds a bit like our upcoming Murder in the Alps party.

Movies mentioned & recommended at the November Zoom Meeting:

I will see most of you on December 18th at the Zoom Christmas Party! Consider donning your Christmas PJs, it’s what I’ll be wearing. When else is it appropriate to show up at a party in your jammies? This is a crazy year, I say we make it special. Plus, when you have too much wine/beer/potato chips at the party, you can just stumble into bed, already dressed for it. That’s what I call win-win.

Kerry

From Sharon L.:

There is a Ruth Ware’s fans only spoiler page, which gives her answer to what happens at the end of The Turn of the Key. Some surprising info here.

From the spoiler page:

WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF THE BOOK?

I have been asked this a lot and it’s really hard to answer over twitter without spoilers – and I try to keep my twitter feed fairly spoiler free. So I apologise if you have ended up here after being redirected from twitter! The short answer is that there are some things you are supposed to know, and some things you are not supposed to know, and which I can’t help with.

What you are supposed to know is what you probably already figured out – that Rowan / Rachel was writing to Mr Wrexham when she received the letter from Ellie and learned the truth about what went down at Heatherbrae House. Consequently she realises that she cannot make good on her promise to Mr Wrexham to tell the whole truth – at least not without betraying her sister’s trust. So instead of sending the letters she hides the whole package in the wall and goes to her trial with her original lawyer, relying on her original story to save her. Essentially she takes the fall for Ellie.

What I don’t know is the verdict – that’s really up to you to decide. Either way, whether she was convicted or found innocent, she would not have been able to get back to retrieve the letters. If she were found innocent she would have been released, and if she were found guilty she would have been sent to prison probably closer to home, which is why they are still in the wall when the prison is demolished.

One thing I can tell you is that she isn’t dead. We don’t have the death penalty in the UK, and life very rarely means actual life unless the crime is particularly brutal or the perpetrator is so mentally ill they cannot be safely released. So you can rule out that concern!

As a reader, I really enjoy being left with something to ponder at the end of a book, so I try to leave a lingering question for the reader when I write too, but this is a particularly big question, I do admit. Do you think there was enough evidence against her to convince a jury? Would you have convicted in their shoes?

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