Book Review, NetGalley, Psychological, Thriller

The Safe Place by Anna Downes



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.


What dark secrets are hidden away at Querencia?  Emily is about to find out.

Emily is sweet, quirky, and naive. The perfect person for Scott’s unthinkable offer to stay with his wife and daughter at Querencia. What Emily finds at first is a loving, yet possessive, mother to a daughter with an illness that can be controlled in a happy environment.  But secrets start to come out and Emily is in danger.

Told in Emily’s, Scott’s and Nina’s voices, the story slowly unfolds. My heart breaks for Emily and her need to belong. She seems to find it with the Denny’s, but then all hell breaks loose and a frightening truth unravels that only she can fix.  Scott is another sad character that has backed himself into a corner with no way out. As for Nina, she loves Aurelia, but at what cost?  And Aurelia, I can’t imagine the trauma she has gone through.

Overall, this is a slow-building emotional whirlwind of a story that is gripping until the very end.  I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you to Ms. Downes for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.



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Anna DownesAnna Downes grew up in Sheffield, UK. She studied drama at Manchester University before winning a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and moving to London to pursue an acting career. Her acting credits include EastEndersCasualtyHolby City, and Dalziel and Pascoe, as well as a long-running stage production of The Dresser in London’s West End.

In 2009 she left to go travelling with her Australian partner, a trip that included a stint working as a live-in housekeeper on a remote French estate, where the seeds or The Safe Place were sown.

Anna now lives on the Central Coast of New South Wales with her husband and two children. In July 2020 The Safe Place is being published simultaneously in Australia, New Zealand, UK, and North America, with several other countries to follow.

Follow Anna on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.