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Everything and Nothing [Paperback]

Araminta Hall
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011

A family near breaking point hire a nanny with secrets of her own in this gripping novel from an exciting new talent.

On the surface, Ruth and Christian seem like an ordinary working couple with two kids – and a home in chaos. As the cracks in their marriage widen, they decide to get their very own super-nanny, Aggie. Quietly efficient, she brings calm and order, and the children adore her.

But why is Aggie so eager to gain their trust? Is there something sinister about her efforts to create the perfect family? And what is she really doing in their home?

‘Everything and Nothing’ builds to a mesmerising climax in a story that is, at its heart, about thwarted and damaged love.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007413955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007413959
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 12.5 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Araminta Hall began her writing career as journalist on teenage magazine, Bliss. She went on to work for women's magazines and national newspapers. Her first novel, Everything and Nothing, was published in 2011 and was choosen as a Richard and Judy bookclub read in autumn of that year. Her second novel, Dot, was published in May 2013.

She lives in Brighton with her husband and three children.

Product Description


‘Unputdownable…chillingly well-drawn’ Sophie Hannah

‘An assured debut takes the Mary Poppins myth and turns it into a menacing tale of the enemy invited in…What makes this smartly written first novel so disturbing is its moral ambiguity’ Daisy Goodwin, The Sunday Times

‘A suspenseful and emotive examination of a family in meltdown…It’s a skilfully executed debut novel that nestles perfectly alongside the dark, nuanced psychological thrills of Daphne du Maurier and Sophie Hannah’ Waterstones Books Quarterly

'”Everything and Nothing” is a beautifully written, completely gripping novel that plays on the unsettling notion that sometimes the least safe place is your very own home' Emily Mortimer

About the Author

Araminta Hall has worked as a journalist since 1994 at some of Emap's biggest titles, including Bliss Magazine and New Woman. Since 2000 she has freelanced for a variety of magazines and national newspapers. She lives in Brighton with her husband and three children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a Thriller 18 Jun 2012
By Emma
Having picked up this book expecting a Nicci French/Sophie Hannah style thriller (and such expectations, I would argue, were not unreasonable given the fact that the book's publishers essentially have masqueraded it as precisely that), I was very disappointed with the actual content of Everything and Nothing. The blurb promises a suspenseful, sinister tale of a perfect nanny infiltrating a chaotic working couple's home - yet what is delivered is a tedious exploration of a cliched couple's marital issues and a cliched crazy nanny's psychological issues.

The first few chapters are promising, and Hall's initial characterisation of the book's protagonists did leave me intrigued. Yet the narrative descends into a horrific series of cliches and depressing musings which have very little substance or point. The characters stagnate, the plot stagnates, and Hall seems to use the bulk of the story as a medium to rant about the downsides of parenthood, marriage and life in general. Since her/her characters' meditations are in no way constructive or original, most of the book is empty and dispiriting with no redeeming factors. The narrative is also irritatingly moralistic in parts, occasionally switching to the irksome second person and doling out generic life advice in a sage and 'cryptic' tone ("Moments of joy mixed with terror and shame could not be lived through too many times, they would kill you in the end.").

Everything and Nothing is lacking in two essentials: plot and writing style. Whilst one of these requisites may, in certain cases, subsidise the other, Hall unfortunately neglects both. Perhaps I missed something, but I am genuinely surprised that this book was published. The story is nothing more than a regurgitation of worn out ideas, with little direction and no originality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre at best 13 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I was so excited to start reading this book having heard a lot about it in particular the review by Richard and Judy made it seem excellent, then when I read the blurb it described it as a menacing read and gripping. Sadly this was neither. Nothing in this book made me want to keep reading it I only finished it because I was told to always finish books. The characters although going through normal everyday things that people can relate to are all rather annoying and hard to think anything positive about them. In my opinion this had the potential to be a gripping read, the plot is certainly good but was not developed to its full potential so ended up being quite dull. The idea about who you let into your house is a good one as you never really know everything about someone but sadly there was always something missing in this book that means I did not find it enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars NANNY AGGIE 24 Aug 2014
By Gloria
Everything and Nothing is Arminta Hall’s debut novel and featured in the Richard & Judy Book Club list in 2011.
I had the title on my ‘reading list’ for some time and when I saw a copy in my local charity shop I quickly ‘snapped it up’.

Ruth and Christian have two children, a daughter (5) who doesn’t sleep at night and a son (3) who doesn’t eat.

Their relationship is troubled to say the least and they are trying to get their life back on track after Christian had an affair a year previously.

In order to continue with their careers and maintain their lifestyle Ruth decides to employ a nanny.

Here enters Agatha (Aggie) who on the outside is the answer to all their problems. However all is not as it seems as she hides a deep dark secret of her past.
There are many twists and turns as you move through the story line and the reader is exposed to a number of emotional experiences, e.g. anger, guilt and blame.

The story began very well however I felt it ‘waned’ somewhere in the middle and I almost lost interest. I’m so glad I persevered as it picked up again and the climax of the story was unexpected and tense.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel which I would certainly describe as a psychological thriller and would certainly recommend it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is chick lit not a thriller 5 Jan 2012
I do feel that the marketing department of the publishing company seriously misled me (and probably others) as to what this book was about.
The cover and back page blurb suggested a sinister thriller but what I got was chick lit. As a result it took me a month to complete this book because I simply wasn't engrossed by it at all.
This is not necessarily the writer's fault. Chick lit is not my chosen genre.
The cover led me to believe this was going to be a story primarily about an evil nanny, but the main theme was the couple's broken marriage.
I didn't like the back story to Agatha - why is so much fiction obssessed with paedophilia? There was no warning to this subject, and frankly it's not something I want to read about in fiction.
The ending was the only bit that vaguely resembled the kind of book I was expecting, but it was all so rushed it was clear the author wasn't comfortable with this kind of writing.
Very disappointing for me personally.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather flat for me 9 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I certainly don't get the "gripping suspense" of the blurb on this one. A couple who I find it hard to empathise or be involved with take on a nanny to deal with the children. Rather than any sense of tension I felt more inevitability of likely problems ahead. The parents are heavily involved in their workings lives and seem rather shallow to me. The husband has had an affair previously and the woman involved re-appears on the scene - indeed her behaviour is - to me - very bizarre.

I guess the characters were mostly ok and I rather liked the children, particularly the young boy. The nanny really did have some issues in her background and I guess her part of the story was both credible and sad. Not a bad book but not all that great for me as a reader sadly.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great read.
Published 15 days ago by Miu miu Lin
2.0 out of 5 stars Gloomy characters
Can't say I found any of the characters appealing, I like to find something in the lives I'm reading about to but into and it didn't happen with this novel
Published 17 days ago by Bookish worm
4.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday read
Two plots going side by side good holiday read
Ending a slight disappointment and seemed to be cut short reader felt cheated
Published 3 months ago by alison vine
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
I've not read anything by A Hall, but after reading the reviews decided to give it a go - this was a really good read & kept me interested throughout. Read more
Published 5 months ago by JB
5.0 out of 5 stars Can having everything mean you end up with nothing?
This book is an excellent study of middle class city life, and the dangers faced by one family who are determined to "have it all". Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miss L. M. Boa
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as expected
A brilliant read mostly. A disappointing ending for a book with so much promise. Enjoyable to read despite the ending
Published 14 months ago by A. Vaughan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book!
This is an exceptional book and would recommend to anyone. I love this genre and found this to be one of the best books I have read in a long while.
Published 17 months ago by fiona1869
5.0 out of 5 stars nail biting
this book is the only book that i have read by this author. I think it is very well plotted. its gripping and haunting. recommend it.
Published 17 months ago by ireadnovels
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable can't-put-down read
I'm shocked by the disappointed and bad reviews about this book - I loved it! I was hooked from the first chapter. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Soogles
3.0 out of 5 stars "...it's better they have a nanny they love."
Agatha arrives in the household and everything immediately becomes more orderly and less fraught. Ruth and Christian are a youngish couple with two small children, Betty, and Hal,... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Eileen Shaw
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