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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four and a half stars - interesting plot, well-drawn characters - I highly recommend
I highly recommend this book, about a stressed, exhausted couple taking on the seemingly exemplary nanny, Agatha, to care for their two young children and their home while they pursue their careers. All three main adult characters are portrayed realistically and are likeable, and herein lies one of the book’s main strengths; too often in novels of this type many of...
Published 4 months ago by Christabelle

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a Thriller
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...
Published on 18 Jun. 2012 by Emma


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but a disappointing ending., 24 Mar. 2015
Review of Everything and Nothing - Araminta Hall.

Read as part of monthly Bookclub read.

The book is centred around Christian, Ruth their two children Betty and Hal along with their nanny Agatha.

Ruth is a full time working mum, deputy editor of a magazine and therefore an extremely busy woman, whose children have problems of their own.

Christian is Ruth's husband with his own job and all seems well. He's working and completely obvlious to his surroundings until Sarah walks back into his life. Sarah is a woman he had an affair with a few years back.

Betty is the eldest child who has never slept in her own bed all night, this causes problems between the parents, each with their own view what should be done.

Hal is the youngest child who has only ever drank milk until Agatha (the new nanny) walks into their lives and through gentle persuasion helps him understand food and encourages him to eat. They form a bond, too strong of a bond which is where the story seems to centre on to me.

Agatha has a past a dark past which you get a glimmer of through the book, but is employed to look after the children, unbeknown to the parents she has an ulterior motive.

The book moves along with the story entwined between them all, each sides story being unfolded as you turn the pages.

Towards the end you have a rough idea of what is going to happen and as you get to the end the story unravels quickly .... too quickly in my opinion and I felt that the ending was rushed, as though the author had realised she didn't have long left to finish the story. You are left with a few unanswered questions I felt and the book seem to end too suddenly.

My rating is therefore 3 stars, based on the fact that I enjoyed the book but it finished too early for me to warrant a higher rating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four and a half stars - interesting plot, well-drawn characters - I highly recommend, 7 Mar. 2015
I highly recommend this book, about a stressed, exhausted couple taking on the seemingly exemplary nanny, Agatha, to care for their two young children and their home while they pursue their careers. All three main adult characters are portrayed realistically and are likeable, and herein lies one of the book’s main strengths; too often in novels of this type many of the characters are so unbelievable or unlikeable that the reader cannot relate to them, but in Hall’s novel we see Ruth and Agatha, who both have mental health issues, as well as Christian, struggling to cope with life for various reasons. Ruth, for example, wants so much to be a perfect mother but experiences everything, every little task, every decision, as overwhelming and can’t believe that anyone else in the world finds life as difficult she does, Christian knows what he should and shouldn’t do but often can’t quite bring himself to do, or not do, something, Ruth’s and Christian’s marriage is faltering, but it’s clear early on that, as well as needing one another, they still love eachother very much; here are flawed individuals who we can definitely relate to.

Although this novel deals with dark subjects, there is also a lot of humour, which is entertaining (for example, Ruth’s awful experience in a horrible nutritionist’s office, with him clearly blaming her for her son’s eating problems, while her daughter lies on the floor throwing a tantrum!).

I felt that the ending of the book, while dramatic, was not unrealistic. I don’t know whether Araminta Hall has since written any other novels, but if she has I would definitely be interested in reading these.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is not a Thriller, 18 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars NANNY AGGIE, 24 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
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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2.0 out of 5 stars A good beginning but....., 27 April 2015
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
Ruth and Christian are a busy middle-class couple (whose marriage is in a rather precarious state) and they need help with their two young children. Previous nannies have not been satisfactory and failed to stay the course. When Agatha turns up at their chaotic large house she seems to be ideal. She is soon making herself indispensable and they wonder how they managed without her. But is she too good to be true or is she a malevolent cuckoo in the nest?

There are lots of good ideas in this debut novel and some good sections of interesting writing (such as the trip to the nutritionist that is disrupted by five-year-old Betty’s temper tantrum). The way that Aggie inveigles her way into the family’s confidence is also well drawn. It is odd how some people are able to hand over their most precious possessions – their children – to someone they hardly know.

Unfortunately the story rambled on and on – the sections discussing Christian’s affair and Ruth’s reaction to it were especially tedious. The final denouement was really not very believable.

This book was marketed as a psychological thriller – which it clearly is not
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Menacing atmosphere in a domestic setting... no safe house!, 29 Jan. 2011
By 
EllyBlue (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
This debut novel casts a spotlight on middle class family life in the early 21st century. Ruth and Christian are making heavy weather of the 21st century dream of having it all, of sustaining their marriage, building careers and nurturing their two young children, Betty and Hal. Their lives seem to get easier when they hire a new Nanny, Agatha, who seems to be the answer to their prayers, a true latter day Mary Poppins. However, right from the start, Hall generates an atmosphere of menace and forboding, which builds well as the story reaches its climax and events conspire to make Ruth and Christian reconsider their priorities. This isn't a thriller in the conventional sense but it does have the suspense which makes it, at times, feel like one. It could so easily have been yet another novel about the struggles of families in modern Britain, but the addition of Agatha to the mix, and the quality of Araminta Hall's writing ensures that this rises above that to be a gripping and thought provoking read. I enjoyed this and found myself compelled to turn the pages, particularly in the second half of the book, to see how things would work out. A recommended read.
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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
This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
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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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psycho Nanny, 6 Oct. 2011
By 
A. Rose (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
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I was really captivated by this book and found the steady pace hard to put down. Juggling childcare and work is one of the most difficult things a parent has to do and if the mortgage is to be paid then someone, or two someones, have to work and leave the children with a stranger. They may feel that they know and trust that stranger, in fact they give her a room and accept her as part of their family, but they only know what she tells them and that may or may not be the truth. Whatever they believe of her, they have given her total control of their most precious possessions - their two little children.

It's well written and the characters are all believable, if a little irritating at times. Ruth and Christian are like many busy parents, Ruth is harassed and lacking self worth which all leads to her neglecting the home a little bit, and Christian thinks he can have it all - loving wife, adorable children, great job and a hint of a `bit on the side'. Agatha is the help that both Ruth and Christian need and with the physical abuse she suffered as a child locked in her head for years the mental scars have to come out sooner or later. This is a great page turner, not a long book, but what's there is chilling and gripping.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "...it's better they have a nanny they love.", 14 Mar. 2013
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
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, who is slightly autistic and won't eat. Ruth hauls him off to an expensive nutritionist, but Agatha has already been at work and Hal is beginning to eat. But things are not right with Agatha, as we see her hiding certain facts from Hal's parents.

There are issues in Agatha's past, and there's more. Christian has had an affair and though Ruth took him back, he is still seeing the girl, Sarah, though they are no longer having sex. When this situation escalates Christian is in danger of eviction from his home and marriage.

Then the worst happens. In the nightmarish final scenario, a life is poised on the edge of an abyss. This is a satisfying and well-written book, but there is very little that is new to the domestic horror.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flat and cliched, 28 Nov. 2011
By 
Saxena (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Everything and Nothing (Paperback)
The book starts out well with a good (if overdone) premise, but fails to deliver on developing the plot, or characters, to any depth. The author explores the issue of marriage and consequences of infidelity well, but this is the only strength of the book and not sufficient to flesh a proper plot around. The couple in the story are hard to empathise with, the husband's ex-mistress is briefly introduced as a slightly interesting character, but I think the author then cannot decide what to do with her and she is suddenly dropped out of the plot. The nanny's life story and psyche are explored in a very amateur-ish way, resorting to cliches. The end of the book and final scenes are rushed and confusing. To summarise, the book lacks punch and is very forgettable once you put it down. Maybe Hall's next book will be an improvement, she has some talent but in my opinion needs to work on building a lot more soul and depth into her work.
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Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall (Paperback - 20 Jan. 2011)
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