The Nanny by Gilly McMillan, 3.5 Stars

It’s been awhile. Life has gotten crazy. But I try to stay committed to blogging at least 4x a month. And I’ve read books, but not as many, and I haven’t quite gotten the chance to sit down to write. But I’m here now!

And if I can carve out that writing time I should be able to get back going again. I have jury duty on Thursday. For the second time in 10 months. Last time they didn’t need me to report. This time they do. But I still think it’s dumb that they can actually call you to report more than once a year.

I had a big stack of books ready last time, I have a big stack of books ready this time. Any recommendations?

Today I’m reviewing The Nanny, by Gilly MacMillan, which was recommended to me by a fellow blogger.

From the Publisher:

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.

My Review

I think I’ve mentioned recently that it’s funny but sometimes I’ll read several books in a row with a similar theme running through them. And once again, I felt that way about The Nanny. Having just finished Turn of Key, this one definitely had a similar feel.

In The Nanny, we meet The Holt Family. They are the richest, most important family in a small town, or at least they were in the 1980’s. They’ve fallen a bit since then. Once a house filled with staff, only one family member remains, Virginia, an old frail lady who lives alone with just two part-time servants to look after the estate.

Following the tragic loss of her husband, Virginia’s daughter, Jocelyn, returns home with her daughter Ruby to get back on her feet. She never saw herself returning and isn’t happy to be back. She still blames her mother for when her beloved nanny, Hannah, who had raised her, left the estate suddenly one night when she was a child.

Still, Jocelyn tries to settle in and help her daughter make friends at school. Until a skull is found in the pond on the family’s estate and everyone in town starts talking. Even Jocelyn doesn’t know who to trust and wonders if the skull might be the key to explaining what happened to Hannah years ago.

MacMillan does a good job building the story and creating characters that are multi-dimensional. She also creates the mood around the estate that feels like old money. I liked this one. I wanted to love it. I just didn’t. And I’m not sure why. For me it lacked the wow factor. But I have talked to others who say it was one of their favorites this year.

Books are just like that sometimes. Have you read it, what did you think?

This one released last month. Get your copy.


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