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The Caretakers
Cover of The Caretakers
The Caretakers
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

"Bestor-Siegal switches perspective among a group of characters with tenderness and intimacy. . . . The writing is smooth as honey. . . It's utterly absorbing." — NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

"Thrilling and deeply moving, gorgeously written and intricately plotted . . . bold and brilliant."ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN

Recommended by New York Times Book Review

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    Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family—a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

    Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family's American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault—the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

    The truth lies with six women: Géraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother's attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family's household.

    Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It's a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family—and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

    "A deep, enthralling pleasure, as wise as it is lovely. I read it voraciously, desperate to discover the fates of its unforgettable characters . . . Magnificent."ROBIN WASSERMAN

  • "Bestor-Siegal switches perspective among a group of characters with tenderness and intimacy. . . . The writing is smooth as honey. . . It's utterly absorbing." — NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

    "Thrilling and deeply moving, gorgeously written and intricately plotted . . . bold and brilliant."ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN

    Recommended by New York Times Book Review

  • USA Today
  • Glamour
  • Business Insider
  • Popsugar
  • CrimeReads
  • The Millions
  • BookRiot
  • and more!

    Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family—a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

    Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family's American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault—the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

    The truth lies with six women: Géraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother's attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family's household.

    Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It's a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family—and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

    "A deep, enthralling pleasure, as wise as it is lovely. I read it voraciously, desperate to discover the fates of its unforgettable characters . . . Magnificent."ROBIN WASSERMAN

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    About the Author-
    • AMANDA BESTOR-SIEGAL received her M.F.A. from the Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas, specializing in fiction and screenwriting. Her nonfiction work has been published in The Threepenny Review, River Teeth, and Salon. Amanda lived in France for four years before relocating to Austin, Texas. This is her first novel.

    Reviews-
    • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Saskia Maarleveld gives a magnificent performance of this assured debut concerning the suspicious death of 9-year-old Julien in his family's home in a Parisian suburb. Maarleveld is simply outstanding as she seamlessly shifts accents, tones, and pace to create a stunning depiction of the tensions underlying this seemingly ordinary neighborhood. Subtle social commentary is interwoven throughout the intricately structured plot. Maarleveld flawlessly portrays six women, some of whom may have played a role in Julien's death. They are Charlotte, Julien's chilly mother; Natalie, Julien's insecure half-sister; Lou, Holly, and Alena, three American au pairs; and Geraldine, a compassionate teacher. Overall, Maarleveld creates an enthralling listening experience for fans of character-driven stories, as well as mysteries. M.J. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
    • Publisher's Weekly

      April 4, 2022
      Bestor-Siegal explores the isolating world of au pairs in her introspective debut set in Maisons-Larue, France. The quiet, predominantly white town is rattled by the arrest of Alena, an American au pair charged with the murder of Julian Chauvet, an eight-year-old boy she had in her care. The mystery of what happened to Julien unravels through the perspectives of a neglected daughter and a number of caretakers‚ from au pairs to the mothers who sometimes feel inadequate, and their shame is only heightened by the community’s class-based judgment (Bestor-Siegal sums up the collective attitude among the working mothers: “This is what happens when you don’t raise your own children”). The whodunit plotline, though, is entirely eclipsed by a series of powerful narratives from Alena as well as fellow au pairs Holly and Lou, all of whom deal with homesickness and struggle to adapt in France; and from their host families who keep disrespecting their boundaries. While it takes a while to understand how each story and character connects to Julien’s murder due to the slow progression of the plot, Bestor-Siegal excels at character development. Once the author gets going, she cracks open an intriguing world. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME.

    • Library Journal

      June 1, 2022

      Au pairs have a unique job. They live with host families, and take care of the children, but they are employees who spend more time with the children than their parents do. In this debut, Bestor-Siegal explores this dynamic through the perspectives of six women--au pairs, mothers, a French teacher--when a child dies and an American nanny is accused of murder. Maarleveld narrates the novel with its multiple points of view as each young au pair, their French teacher, and the grieving mother tell how they ended up in Maison La Rue during that fated time period. Each of them has their own background and Maarleveld ably captures each character's personality that lends to their differences. As the story unrolls slowly, Maarleveld's narration will keep listeners hooked, eager to find out who did what to whom and what happens to each of the women introduced. VERDICT A blend of literary fiction with a hint of a mystery, give this title to listeners that want to be swept away to France.--Stephanie Charlefour

      Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    The Caretakers
    A Novel
    Amanda Bestor-Siegal
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