No one ever listens to me. When I tell the heroine of a spooky movie not to open the cellar door, or a character in a book to avoid the shortcut through the forest, they always do so anyway.
And so it is in “The Nesting,” by C. J. Cooke, when Lexi Ellis, after losing her job, her boyfriend, and her home, applies for a position to nanny two young girls. Don’t take that job, I try to tell Lexi.
Why not, you might ask? After all, a job is a good thing and her employer, a noted architect, is building the show-stopping, eco-sensitive home where they’ll be living.
The negatives, it turns out, are numerous. Lexi is an emotional wreck, having just attempted suicide, the home is in a different country — Norway — so she is far away from those she knows, and even more, it’s totally isolated.
Oh, and did I mention that Aurelia, the girls’ mother, committed suicide on the property not long ago and that Lexi is pretending to be Sophie Hallerton, the woman who initially applied for the job?
It doesn’t get better. The young girls are overly energetic, leaving Sophie/Lexi exhausted by the end of the day, and the beauty of their location fades as a sense of eeriness seems to overtake the house as odd things begin happening.
Cooke, an award-winning poet whose books have been published in 23 languages, also writes scholarly pieces on creative writing interventions for mental health. That fits Lexi, who before moving to Norway found that writing helped her cope with all her troubles.