The Nanny

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

A thrilling read which kept me turning the pages, characters you care for and just brilliantly written.  Great novel!!
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A Nanny, one child, titled folk and a dark secret - what could possibly go wrong?

The Holts are well to do, titled family with Lord and Lady Holt at the helm. Jocelyn, whom we come to know as Jo later in the book has a Nanny. Nothing out of the ordinary here, until one day, the Nanny has gone, nowhere to be seen, no clue, nothing. 

Fast forward to adult Jo, life hadn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for her and she turns up at the family home with her own child in tow.  But she isn’t the only one! The Nanny is back too, but how, wasn’t she dead? Is she still dead? Is it all a dream?

Well, this is one book which takes you down the path of mystery, reveal, plots which thicken and surprise you and who is telling the truth? Who is lying? Well you have to read and find out for yourself, but it isn’t what I expected to read 👍🏻
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Wow! This was such a good book with a really unusual theme.
Jocelyn grows up in a life of luxury and wants for nothing. She is doted on by her Nanny and her parents (her mother in particular) pays her little attention.
One day, her Nanny, Hannah disappears and Jocelyn is devastated. Jocelyn  is told Hannah left because of she was such a. naughty girl.
Skip forward to Jocelyn (now Jo) being forced to move back to Lake Hall with her daughter Ruby as her husband has died and she has nowhere else to go. 
Her father Lord Holt has died in the interim and the house seems empty without him.
A human skull is found in the lake at the house, could it be Hannah who hasn’t been heard of since her mysterious disappearance? 
Without adding any spoilers, what follows is a fabulous trail of deceit and lies that have held the family together and now threaten to fracture it completely.
I so enjoyed this book and will definitely look for more by this author.
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Jocelyn loved her nanny. She wasso much more affectionate than her mother! In the big house sheonlyseemed to be with her parents when they wanted her to beon show. She wasdevastated when Hannah suddenly disappeared from her life, especially after her mother toldhershe had left because of Jocelyn's bad behaviour.

Years passed & Jocelyn (who now prefers to be called Jo) was happily married, living in the US with her husband & daughter. When her husband died she had no choice but to return to her unhappy childhood home, even though she stilldislikesher mother intensely. As if in answer to a prayer Hannah reappears.

The story is told by Jo & her mother. The reader finds out tje real reason Hannah disappeared & who sheis.

This was anedge of your seat read. At times I couldn't decide which side Iwas on= probably the signof a good writer as they canmake each character plausible. I really enjoyed this book. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this 5 star book.
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I enjoyed this and wasn’t quite sure how the story was evolving.  It was quite slow to get goi g and then seemed to go almost too fast.  
Jocelyn had a beloved nanny when she was a child who disappeared suddenly when Jocelyn was seven years old.  She had a distant relationship with her mother and when she has to move home with ten year old daughter Ruby all the old resentments return.  Then a skeleton is found in the lake of her childhood home.  The book is written from three POV, Jocelyn, her mother and Hannah the old nanny.
This author would not be at the top of my pile but I would read her again.
Thanks to Random house and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
#TheNanny #NetGalley
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This is a fantastic book, very cleverly put together. All the characters were well rounded and believable. A truly excellent read I highly recommend. The story line is so complex right to the end and keeps you guessing through every chapter. One of the best books I've read recently. Definitely deserves five stars.
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This was good and kept me guessing until the end. Characters were great and really suited this story as they all worked really well together. I didn't get the twist at the end so was surprised at the way the story went. Brilliant writing from this author so will lookout for her next book.
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A slow burning psychological thriller. A dysfunctional family. A plot intertwined with stories and lies. Enjoyable.!
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Yet again another well constructed and well written book by Gilly Macmillan. As usual I am pleased I did not read the blurb to this book before I started it - far too much information is given. I read the book to learn the story!!!! The style is the popular two time frames and as the book progresses it turns out to have far more twists and turns than expected. Jocelyn is quite a damaged character who seems to have spent her life trusting and believing the wrong people so perhaps her behaviour is not quite as surprising as it might be. It kept me reading til late in the night.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Gilly Macmillan/Random House UK for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
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What I love about Gilly Macmillan’s book is that they are so different from each other – you never know what you will get! With THE NANNY, I was half expecting a “hands that rock the cradle” type of story, and partly it was that. On the other hand, it was a slow burning and very intriguing character study of three different women tied together by an old mystery: mother, daughter and the nanny.

Like most character driven stories that rely heavily on family dynamics and the setting, this story started off slowly to set the scene, only to build up tension as the book progressed. I admit I initially struggled a bit with the characters, but as soon as the skeleton pops out of the closet – or in this family’s case, the lake -  it had well and truly gripped me. 

Because like most mysteries, this book relies heavily on surprise elements, I will only give the bare bones here. After the death of her husband, Jocelyn Holt returns to her old family home with her young daughter in tow. Having long lost contact with her mother Virginia, who she resents bitterly, this is not a happy reunion but a move borne out of financial hardship. Initially, the two women warily circle one another in the cold, polite fashion of the English upper class, two polite to ever say how they really feel but also not prepared to air out their grievances. Jocelyn is convinced that her mother never loved her, and that she was responsible for the sudden disappearance of her beloved nanny Hannah when Jo was just 7 years old. Virginia Holt, in the meantime, remains tight lipped about the matter, refusing to discuss Hannah. Until an old skeleton is washed up on the shores of the estate’s lake, once again arousing Jo’s suspicions that her nanny has come to harm. 

Macmillan is very clever at spinning her web, so it is worth persevering over the initial few chapters where not much happens but which are vital in setting the scene. I loved the gothic vibes of the old family home and the family’s crumbling estate, which is one of my favourite settings and which added much to the intrigue. I also appreciated how the author had me change my loyalties throughout the book – whereas I first found Lady Holt cold and stand-offish, she ended up becoming the character closest to my heart. The mystery relies heavily on family dynamics and old simmering suspicions and emotions, which are explored here through the eyes of the three women. Ruby, Jo’s ten year old daughter, was a refreshing impartial perspective that added some hope and light to the book for me.

I admit that for the first two chapters I was not expecting to like this book very much, and I even put it aside for a few days to try again later. However, it soon became utterly addictive and I became so embroiled in this family’s dynamics that I ended up reading late into the night, muttering a few times as some characters made some very questionable decisions. Such an emotional response is always a good sign that a book is working for me!

All in all, THE NANNY turned out to be an addictive, character driven study of family dynamics and old secrets that have a way of making their way to the surface when you least expect it. There is no ridiculous twist or action packed finale, so if you are expecting either you may be disappointed, but I loved the way this one played out. In short, it made for an entertaining story I devoured in a couple of days and have no qualms recommending to lovers of the genre.
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A really enjoyable  psychological thriller. I was totally gripped by the story line it has dark secrets and extremely intriguing , a really good read
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Loved this book. the story was so unique and the characters so well described, some being downright nasty and mean. Although I guessed whose body would be in the lake I did not get all the rest of the twists.  Highly recommend this book.
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Returning to her childhood home wasn't an easy decision for Jo but after her husband dies she is left with no real choice for herself and her daughter. Back in 1987, Hannah Burgess had been employed as Jo's full-time nanny until one night she disappeared. Jo had never got over the fact that she didn't say goodbye, with the gap widening more between her and her mother and it had grown even colder between them as time went on. Jo and her daughter find a skull in the lake so the police are called. It seems that the case of the disappearing nanny may be solved until a knock at the door proves everyone wrong.
Oh my, this is one mighty read, with some very distinctive characters from the start. Lady Holt is quite a regal figure who still manages to look the part of a wealthy woman but she is failing in health and wealth and seeing Hannah has certainly knocked the stuffing out of her. Hannah stills seems to have command over Jo.
The story drops back in time with both Hannah and Lady Holt in this multi-layered serving of deceit from both of them, while in present-day Hannah is making her mark on the third generation of the family.  This is one of those stories that made everything around me disappear as I was so engrossed in the story, unable to take my eyes off these characters for a minute. My opinions on the characters changing constantly the further I read. Brilliant conclusion.
This is a top class read that won't leave you alone even after you finish reading it. I wish to thank NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
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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 more 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 Hall...all 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 more bodies lay in deep dark lake? How many more 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 again...so 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  more 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 Ruby...and she says as much to her mother on more 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 more 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 more finality to them but the end result was the same. Without giving too much away, for example, regarding Virginia's tablets...I 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 #RandomeHouseUK and #Cornerstone for an ARC of #TheNanny in exchange for an honest review.
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The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan is a slow building  psychological thriller full of lies and deceptions. The chapters alternate between the past and present with different POV’s and even though most of the characters are unlikable, the ending I didn’t see coming made it an interesting read


Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK and Gilly Macmillan for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.
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You gotta love a good old dysfunctional family, and you get one here along with more!

I’ve never read anything like this before to be honest and I was pleasantly surprised. It had me on the edge of my seat, the nanny was not a nice person far from Mary poppins!

Loved all the different characters who are very intricate and all gelled together in a sort of mish mash of a family, it showed how someone can defo be a wolf in sheeps clothing and how memories can be twisted to suit.

Loved it, must read more by the author.
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Excellent story of the unique challenges faced by British aristocracy - money truly isn't everything. The whole book is well written and all the threads are tied up neatly. I thought the ending was perfect though I can't shake the feeling that the story isn't actually over.
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# The Nanny # Netgalley 
I was really looking forward to reading this book, however I do tend to read books in order of release date. So although I had the book reading others this one had to wait. Finally I get to it, with great anticipation with wanting to read it so much. However it was ok not as good as I expected, after reading the synopsis I got the impression it was going to be a book I would not want to put down. Unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. It seemed to really drag and too fussy at the beginning. Probably a few people would not know what I mean by being too fussy, it just seemed charterers where in plenty at first with little much else going on hence to fussy about characters. It’s had some good and bad reviews. Mines mediocre. It’s one of those books I could give or take. Had I not received the book through Netgalley I probably after first couple of chapters let it sit in my library for months if not a year or two I would not have been in any rush to have read it to be fair
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I would firstly like to thank Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review. 

While it was rather a slow burner overall, this one was certainly worth a read. Filled with plenty of twists and turns and shocking reveals, I would definitely recommend this one for mystery/thriller read lovers. 
The characters are all brilliantly-written and were done so with so depth and mystery that I honestly didn't know who to trust! 
A must read!
Looking forward to this author's next.
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Gripping and compelling: The Nanny drew me in from the first page and kept me entertained throughout.

The book begins in 1988 when Jocelyn Holt’s beloved nanny leaves suddenly on the night, leaving Jocelyn distant from her parents. She eventually leaves her home at Lake Hall for a new life in California. 

Thirty years later Jo returns home and is forced to address her relationship with her mother. Add in some human remains being found on the land and an unexpected visitor and you are guaranteed a book full of secrets, lies and deception.

I can highly recommend this book and would rate it 4.5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House UK and the author for the chance to review.
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