Monday, April 27, 2020

Review - The Nanny

Title:   The Nanny
Author:  Gilly Macmillan
Publisher:  William Morrow
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   400
Date of Publication:   September 10, 2019
My Rating:   3 Stars


The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew conjures a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another.

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.


There are some things in life that we just don't get over. In Jocelyn Holt's case, it was the loss of her nanny in 1988. This devastating loss ultimately made Jo a very unhappy and unfulfilled person. It is now decades later, and after years away, Jo returns to the home that once held precious memories. One thing Jo must do is to try and deal with the rift that has long developed between her and her mother.

When human remains are discovered, Jo cannot help but think they belong to her beloved nanny. There are a couple of other factors that come into play. Jo has gaps in her memory due to the loss she experienced. Also, a stranger shows up while Jo is at her mother's house and then just about everything from Jo's life going forward goes completely out of control. Who is this stranger, and why do things start to begin to connect in Jo's mind now that this woman has turned up?

While the premise was truly intriguing, there were just some things that did not gel with me while I was reading this book. What did work for me were the characters and their secrets and their truly bizarre behavior at times. I did find The Nanny to be compelling, however, because there was plenty of suspense along the way while Jo strove to piece together her past while reconciling it with her present.

Many thanks to William Morrow and to NetGalley for this ARC for review.  This is my honest opinion.


Gilly Macmillan is the internationally bestselling author of five novels including WHAT SHE KNEW, THE PERFECT GIRL, ODD CHILD OUT, I KNOW YOU KNOW and THE NANNY. TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH is coming in 2020.

A former art historian and photographer, Gilly studied at Bristol University and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She lives in Bristol, UK, with her husband and three children.

Her first novel, WHAT SHE KNEW, was a Target pick, a LibraryReads pick, an Indie Next pick, an Edgar award nominee, and an International Thriller Writers award finalist. THE NANNY is a Spring 2020 Richard & Judy WHSmith Book Club pick.

Gilly’s novels have appeared on the New York Times, Sunday Times, Globe & Mail and Der Spiegel bestseller lists, been translated into over 20 languages and sold over one million copies worldwide. She’s been described as ‘one heck of a good writer’ (Wall Street Journal) and her novels have been praised as ‘nuanced, completely addictive’ (People), ‘riveting’ (Publishers Weekly), and ‘visceral, emotionally charged…heart-wrenchingly well told’ (The Daily Mail).

She is currently working on her sixth novel.

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