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The Nanny


The Nanny

THE NANNY by Gilly Macmillan is not just a murder mystery where we must determine who did it; we also wonder exactly who is dead. The story is told from several points of view, mainly from Virginia, also known as Lady Holt and the mistress of Lake Hall, where she had lived with Lord Alexander Holt, the love of her life and Jocelyn's father.

When Jo was seven, her beloved nanny, Hannah, disappeared one night without saying goodbye and without any notice. She was devastated and blamed her mother, with whom she had always had a strained relationship. Years after Jo left England, her parents, their ancient estate in the English countryside, and their decadent lifestyle, she is forced to return home when her husband dies unexpectedly. With her is their daughter, Ruby, who has lived in California for all of her 10 years.

"The ending is perfectly conceived and executed, offering poetic justice right after the final twist is revealed."

Right after Jo and Ruby move in with Virginia, they go on a forbidden jaunt on the lake and discover a skull there. Suddenly, Hannah appears in town and begins to rekindle her relationship with Jo. Jo remembers Hannah as a loving second mother who was more affectionate than her real mother. However, we are aware through flashbacks and other points of view that what Jo is feeling and recalling might not be the complete truth. And although we know more than Jo, we have no idea to whom the skull belongs or what happened to Hannah after she left. Is this woman who claims to be Hannah in fact Jo's former nanny?

The twists, turns and family secrets that develop and are uncovered make THE NANNY quite difficult to put down. The many glimpses into the glamorous life of the wealthy British upper class, their parties, profligate ways and manor homes are all wonderfully described.

The ending is perfectly conceived and executed, offering poetic justice right after the final twist is revealed. And while a number of readers may work out some facets of that twist, the conclusion is still certain to please most everyone. The writing is suspenseful and effective, and the inclusion of some unusual details makes the story even more gripping. Everyone loves a villain they can hate, and Macmillan gives us one who is truly evil (#evilnanny).

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on September 13, 2019

The Nanny
by Gilly Macmillan