When Her Beloved Nanny, Hannah, Left Without A Trace In The Summer Of 1988, Seven Year Old Jocelyn Holt Was Devastated Haunted By The Loss, Jo Grew Up Bitter And Distant, And Eventually Left Her Parents And Lake Hall, Their Faded Aristocratic Home, Behind.Thirty Years Later, Jo Returns To The House And Is Forced To Confront Her Troubled Relationship With Her Mother But When Human Remains Are Accidentally Uncovered In A Lake On The Estate, Jo Begins To Question Everything She Thought She Knew.Then An Unexpected Visitor Knocks On The Door And Jo S World Is Destroyed Again Desperate To Piece Together The Gaping Holes In Her Memory, Jo Must Uncover Who Her Nanny Really Was, Why She Left, And If She Can Trust Her Own Mother In This Compulsively Readable Tale Of Secrets, Lies, And Deception, Gilly Macmillan Explores The Darkest Impulses And Desires Of The Human Heart Diabolically Clever, The Nanny Reminds Us That Sometimes The Truth Hurts So Much You D Rather Hear The Lie. I ve been reading this on and off from last night I read the bulk of this book until dawn I finished the rest over breakfast and lunch.The book was glued to my hands, I really had a job putting it down.I love a dysfunctional family, and we certainly have one in the story, I loved the rich class higher archly in this too We have servants The Nanny is a class pounding thriller that I loved Plenty to get your teeth into.Highly recommend The nanny in this novel is not quite the Mary Poppins figure that usually springs to mind when nannies are mentioned, but a devious, scheming person looking out for number one In 1987, Hannah Burgess worked as a nanny for Lord and Lady Holt, looking after their 7 year old Jocelyn until one morning Jocelyn wakes up to find Hannah gone with no explanation Now 30 years later, Jocelyn or Jo as she now calls herself and her young daughter are forced back to live with her estranged and bitter widowed mother on the family estate after Jo s husband dies suddenly leaving her in a dire financial position Jocelyn begins to question what happened to her nanny and what role her parents may have played in her disappearance This psychological thriller is a little slow to wind up, but it does eventually lay out a web of lies and deceptions meant to beguile Jo into trusting the nanny and suspecting her mother s motives Neither Lady Holt nor the nanny are very likeable characters, although Jo does seem just a tad too naive and gullible to always side with the nanny, especially when her own daughter s safety is at risk 3.5 With thanks to Netgalley and Random House for a digital ARC to read In 1987, Hannah Burgess worked as a nanny for Lord Lady Holt, looking after their seven year old daughter Jocelyn One morning Jocelyn awakes to find Hannah has left with no reason It s now thirty years later and Jocelyn and her daughter, Ruby have no choice but to move back in with her bitter estranged widowed mother after Jocelyn s husband died Ruby and her grandmother quickly form a relationship I don t want to say much as I don t want to spoil it for you The book does start as a bit of a family saga but it s not long until you ll find yourself questioning who you trust This is a very well written novel with a plot that s been well though out, and a fabulous set of characters.I would like to thank NetGalley, Random House UK, Cornerstone and the author Gilly Macmillan for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was expecting sonething from this book but in fact got a very different book to what I had imaginedThe Holts are titled and noble folk and even though it is just Lady Holt now in the big manor house she keeps appearances and customs as they always have been, stiff upper lip, straight backed and aloof and still employs staff I adored her in all her entitled luxury Jo her daughter has arrived after a tragedy and is now also penniless, with her is her daughter, she has lived in America for years and is now back as has nowhere to else to go, the tension between mother and daughter and their different take on life is wonderful.but under all this is the secret and the mystery of The Nanny , Jo s Nanny, who disappeared one night, never to be spoke of again, and nor could she be,afterall she is dead as Lady Holt knowsimagine then her surprise when she turns up at their home.The story continues from there as secret upon secret within secrets make a really good and dark story, ofcourse with twists and turns and all manner of things you expect in a book like this but told in a complete and organised fashionPolished Thats what I would say, an experienced author telling a very interesting and scarily credible storyVery much enjoyed 9 10 5 Stars The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan was a slow burn of a story but absolutely worth sticking with The details are very cleverly revealed through the alternating points of view and times The characters in this book are not particularly likeable and some are just evil and don t we love that Once I got into this book I really did have a hard time putting it down The writing creates a very vivid picture of Lake Hall and the village and you feel as if you are there when reading it An ending that I didn t see coming also made for a very enjoyable read.Jocelyn had a very privileged childhood at Lake Hall She adored her nanny Hannah, who was certainly no Mary Poppins let me tell you She was devastated when he packed up and disappear one night when she was around 7 years old She never had a good relationship with her mother but 30 years later she is forced back to her childhood home from the USA when her husband dies With her 10 year old daughter she is back in England and coming to terms with her loss When a skull is found in the lake on the grounds of Lake Hall all the deep, dark secrets of the past start to emerge That is about all I can say about the plot without giving much away.Thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone Century and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read All opinions are my own and are in no way biased. The Nanny is my first read by Gilly Macmillan, and I m not entirely sure why I ve waited this long to read something by this notable author It s getting harder and harder for thriller mystery novels to succeed in this oversaturated market, especially when publishers are asking for new titles each year The Nanny is a novel that is reminiscent of Ruth Ware s gothic noir type of writing, infused with the character study of Liane Moriarty The Nanny takes place during two different time periods current day and in the late 1970s early 1980s In the current day, Jocelyn Holt moves into her childhood home with her daughter Ruby After Jocelyn s husband s death, she s been struggling to keep her family life stable and needs the help from her mother Virginia Jocelyn s parents come from a long lineage of wealth and power, and although she doesn t have the best relationship with her mother, the help is definitely needed As a child, Jocelyn was extremely close with her nanny Hannah, but one day she left without a trace leaving a void in her life that was never fulfilled by her mother As Jocelyn and Ruby settle into their new surroundings, they come across human remains by the lake To make matters worse, Hannah returns to settle what was left covered from years past These unexpected turns are going to open secrets that this family may not be ready to handle The Nanny really is nothing new when it comes to thriller novels You can literally write the story from this synopsis What happens in this novel is exactly what you re thinking, with very little twists or deviations Although I do believe fans of the author will be pleased with this upcoming domestic thriller, fans of the genre will be left wanting . While I was expecting something from this book, THE NANNY delivered something very different from what I had imagined It was compelling It was masterful It was just brilliant Just WOW The story begins in 1987 with 7 year old Jocelyn waking one morning to find her nanny has disappeared overnight She is devastated and distraught, for little Jocelyn adored her Nanny Hannah, and couldn t understand what she had done to make her leave so suddenly Hannah Burgess had worked for the Holts at Lake House for seven years, having taken up the position when Lady Virginia was still pregnant Suffice to say, Hannah was like a mother to Jocelyn as her own mother grew distant over the years It was always Hannah the child wanted, not her mother And as a result, Jocelyn grew up distant, bitter and resentful towards her mother Virginia, long after Hannah had left them.Thirty years later and Jo as she is now called returns with her 10 year old daughter Ruby from America after the tragic death of her husband Chris Sadly, her own father had died just two months before from a heart attack, and she never returned for his funeral because it meant dealing with her mother Jo adored her father and she feels his loss deeply alongside that of her husband But now she has returned home to Lake Hall not because she wants to but because she has to After her husband s death, her residential status in America was no longer validated and therefore she had no choice but to return home It uprooted both her and Ruby, for it was their home and the only one Ruby had ever known But needs must, and it was only until she got on her feet again.The tension between Jo and Virginia is palpable You could cut the air with a knife at times Everything Virginia said, Jo took exception to and vice versa The two women could hardly get along The only light between them was Ruby Virginia adored her granddaughter and indulged her every chance she could, which Jo again took exception to Despite Jo having had a very privileged childhood, she did not want the same for her own daughter The airs and graces that came with the aristocracy was what put such a distance between her own mother and herself she couldn t bear for it to happen with Ruby But Ruby is an adventurous spirit a tomboy and she thrives on running rampant around the grounds of Lake Hall, climbing walls and exploring One day, Jo takes Ruby on a boat out on the lake she has been dying to explore and they end up at the little island in the centre Virginia had been adamant in her refusal to allow them anywhere near it, but Jo didn t see the harm However, that changes when Ruby makes a shocking find in the shallow waters of the island A human skull Jo quickly ushers Ruby back in the boat and they hurry back to Lake Hallall the while, with Ruby looking back in awe at the find and wishing she had her phone to take a photo to show her friends.The police are called and an investigation is underway to find out who the skull belongs to and how they got there Rumours run riot in the village, with whispers of it being the way the Holts dispersed of their insolent family members How many bodies lay in deep dark lake How many secrets does it hold Virginia is quietly nervous about the find for she believes she know whose skull it is After all, she put the body in there herself some thirty years ago But she is staunch in her silence And just as quietly, Jo begins to wonder whether her mother was somehow involved in Nanny Hannah s disappearance But are the two incidents related Jo tries questioning her mother about the night Hannah disappeared as she remembers nothing beyond being told Hannah left because you were such a horrible child But being back at Lake House brings memories long since buried and Jo finds herself continually thinking about Hannah But Virginia refuses to discuss it Hannah left and is never to be spoken of againso imagine her surprise when Hannah returns Thrilled at the return of her nanny, Jo invites her back to Lake Hall as Ruby s nanny while she commutes to London four days a week for her new job in an art gallery Virginia is aghast She doesn t see why she can t look after Ruby herself but she has proved herself incapable of doing so on than one occasion and Jo believes Hannah is the answer to all their problems But Virginia doesn t think so Who is this woman who calls herself Hannah Is she really Hannah or is she just masquerading as her Virginia doesn t believe it could be, for she put Hannah s body in the lake thirty years ago and her skull has just been recovered So who is this woman One thing is for sure, whoever she is, Virginia doesn t trust her And neither does Rubyand she says as much to her mother on than one occasion But Jo doesn t believe either her mother or her daughter She trusts Hannah She has nothing but wonderful memories of her time with Hannah as a child and wants to pass that on to Ruby But Ruby begins to withdraw and is constantly tired She loses that sparkle that was always there when they first arrived She no longer explores or even wants to Then when Virginia notices the bruises on her arm, Ruby discloses it was Hannah but rescinds it when Jo asks her about them Virginia begins to wonder what Hannah s motives are, while Jo remains oblivious, silently and not so silently thanking her lucky stars for Hannah.As the story unfolds through dual timelines, the reader begins to realise that Hannah is not all she appears to be So what deep dark secrets of the past does she bring with her THE NANNY is layered with complexities throughout and various plots within, embellished with secrets upon secrets upon secrets that will have you turning the pages long into the night Perceptions change with each chapter and the reader is left wondering who is lying Who is telling the truth When the story began, I saw things through Jocelyn s eyes and tend to side with her to the point I, too, disliked her mother But as the story progressed, my perception changed and I began to sympathise with Virginia and grow irritated with Jo for being so selfish and frustratingly blind There were times I wanted to shake her and scream You may not believe your mother, but do you really think Ruby would lie so blatantly The thought that she was telling lies was a seed planted by Hannah in the first place and as I began to question Hannah s true motives I thought Jo could benefit from a slap or two at times.While Virginia was portrayed as the uncaring mother in the beginning, the reader must remember that was through Jocelyn s eyes, and as the story progressed I began to feel sad for Virginia While she appeared to be a negative presence in the beginning, as the reader we soon begin to understand her and feel for her as a vulnerable old lady This was her home and she was losing all control of it to the point she didn t even feel comfortable there I felt sad that her opinions and views were overlooked so callously by her daughter that her existence was merely devalued In her 70s, Virginia was still a very strong woman but was of insignificant worth to everyone but Ruby, who adored her grandmother I think Jocelyn may have even been a little jealous when watching them together because Virginia was never that way with her as a child No, that was because she had Hannah and she saw to it that Jocelyn relied solely upon her and no matter what attempts Virginia tried to make to be closer to her daughter, they failed In the end, I found it ironic and even amusing that while Jocelyn tries so much to be different from her own mother in doing so she ends up adopting the same dismissive parenting approach with Ruby.Throughout dual timelines beginning in 1976 through to 1987 and the present day, we are privy to the story as told by a cast of characters Jocelyn, Virginia, Hannah and the detective investigating the discovery of the skull Only Jocelyn and Virginia s chapters are in the first person, with the others being in the third person But each chapter is telling in its own way through each character as the reader sees how differently things are perceived through Jocelyn and Virginia s eyes The past chapters, taking place from 1976 to 1985, from Hannah s perspective are incredibly telling and even chilling as the reader learns about her and her motives This insight into the Hannah we know is both eerie and frightening So why is she back now And what has she come for THE NANNY is anything but the Mary Poppins type many of us have grown up with She is cold, calculating, devious and back with a vengeance I didn t trust her and couldn t see why Jocelyn did With each page, I kept waiting for Hannah to reveal herself how, I don t know, but it was with baited breath I kept turning the pages into the night.The ending was intense and completely unexpected as the moment of revelation unraveled the many secrets that was held within the pages from start to finish I did feel it was a bit rushed as it was so sudden but the intensity made it a compelling end to what was an absorbing and intriguing thriller There were a couple of things I felt that could have been tied up with a little finality to them but the end result was the same Without giving too much away, for example, regarding Virginia s tabletsI just felt they could have been confirmed rather than just insinuated But that aside, THE NANNY is beautifully plotted and a definite five star read that had everything I love in a book A mystery with twists and thrills, a touch of historical fiction, dual timelines and multiple narratives The descriptions are rich and vivid that the reader feels as if they are living the tale as they read.This is my first Gilly Macmillan and it won t be my last I just hope her other books can live up to this brilliant offering.I would like to thank GillyMacmillan, NetGalley and RandomHouseUK and Cornerstone for an ARC of TheNanny in exchange for an honest review.This review appears on my blog at I liked the idea of this one but it went off the rails a bit and was a tad predictable from the get go 3.5 starsI received this book from the publishers author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Jocelyn Holt has never been close to her mother, and her fondest memories of her childhood also include her old nanny Hannah, who vanished overnight when she was small When Jocelyn is forced home to live with her aging mother and a skeleton is unearthed in the family lake, Jo begins to question whether somehow her mother was involved in Hannah s disappearance all those years ago.The Nanny is a mystery thriller that has so many twists and turns and what ifs, it left me reeling at points but desperately eager to continue on to the next chapter and the next and the next I flipped opinions about characters from the start to the finish, and I really liked how Gilly Mamillan was able to present them as one kind of person and transform them into another within a few chapters I started the book firmly on Jocelyn s side, and really disliking the grandmother in the story Virginia Holt But by halfway through, I really felt for Virginia, and couldn t stand Jocelyn who honestly was one of the most pathetic, frustrating and selfish characters I ve read in a long time I physically threw up my hands at the book at one point because Jocelyn was being so dumb I felt sad and uncomfortable at times at how easy Virginia could be overlooked and talked over by other characters, and I think it highlighted well how old age disability erasure can happen to those who are elderly and or infirm in any way.The end was quite rushed for me but I liked the intensity of some moments I feel like I would have preferred conversations between Jo and Virginia and a few grievances properly aired and past actions explained I also feel like there were some loose ends just not tied up properly and left to flap in the wind a bit. Really enjoyed this from Gilly Macmillan, a tense and well paced psychological thriller with some interesting characters and unexpected moments I liked the rich are different feel to the narrative and the mystery of what happened to The Nanny is beautifully plotted I love the descriptive nature of the storytelling and read it over two quick addictive sessions Full review nearer June publication Recommended.
- 400 pages
- The Nanny
- Gilly Macmillan
- 20 August 2018 Gilly Macmillan