Dare you get engrossed in this book? As we read here so we see that Jocelyn, who has recently become widowed, returns to the ancestral home with her ten-year-old daughter, Ruby. Relationships have always been strained between Jocelyn, and her mother but when a skull is found on the lake on the property, so things look like they will become more so.
Told in a multiple narrative format, and with flashbacks to the past so we are initially made to wonder whose corpse was dumped in the lake, what exactly happened, and will the perpetrator be discovered by the police? This is further confused for us as we are firstly led to believe the body is someone, who then may or may not have reappeared, which helps to raise the suspense another notch.
Cleverly told so we are drawn into a family who have enough skeletons in the closet already, with their own schemes and machinations, but now it looks like someone has plans for those concerned, ones that could run out of control. Taking in memories and how they can be blocked and distorted, the secrets that we keep and hide from others, as well as family secrets that have not been revealed so this is quite meaty but given to us in a way that is easy to get to grips to.
Showing how people are bullied, manipulated and isolated so this is a book that should do really well, and will more than keep your attention throughout. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC.
I was expecting ‘sonething’ from this book but in fact got a very different book to what I had imagined The Holts are titled and noble folk and even though it is just Lady Holt now in the big manor house she keeps appearances and customs as they always have been, stiff upper lip, straight backed and aloof and still employs ‘staff’ ( I adored her in all her entitled luxury ).....’Jo’ her daughter has arrived after a tragedy and is now also penniless, with her is her daughter, she has lived in America for years and is now back as has nowhere to else to go, the tension between mother and daughter and their different ‘take on life’ is wonderful....but under all this is the secret and the mystery of ‘The Nanny’, Jo’s Nanny, who disappeared one night, never to be spoke of again, and nor could she be,afterall she is dead as Lady Holt knows......imagine then her surprise when she turns up at their home.... The story continues from there as secret upon secret within secrets make a really good and dark story, of course with twists and turns and all manner of things you expect in a book like this but told in a complete and organised fashion Polished! Thats what I would say, an experienced author telling a very interesting and scarily credible story Very much enjoyed 9/10 5 Stars
Jocelyn adores her nanny, Hannah. She gives her the love and affection she craves while her parents, Lord and Lady Holt enjoy their glamorous parties and busy lives while ignoring their only child. Hannah, however suddenly disappears one night without even saying goodbye to the distraught Jocelyn. A mystery never solved or spoken of again. Fast forward 30 years and Jocelyn, now known as Jo returns to her family home from California with her young daughter in tow after the tragic death of her husband. Her father has now also died and Jo has to try and build bridges with her mother but their relationship is as strained as it always was. One day her daughter discovers a skull by the lake belonging to the house. Could it be Hannah? Without spoilers, the answers would appear to be obvious and just a short way into the book I wondered where the story would go. However, this dark, disturbing book had me riveted as it switched from the different eras and told from various perspectives. I raced through it as the long buried secrets were revealed. Clever, twisty and creepy, it was a brilliantly told story with an ending that left me wondering just who was the most evil. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the advance copy.
Jocelyn or Jo, as she now likes to be called, is returning to her childhood home with her daughter Ruby after recently becoming a widow. She didn't have the best relationship with her mother, Virginia but she has nowhere else to go. Jo is the daughter of Lord and Lady Holt, a very well to do family and, growing up was looked after by her nanny, Hannah who she adored, then when Jo was seven Hannah disappeared without a trace. Not long after Jo returns home human remains are discovered within the grounds of the house and while the police start their investigations, Jo begins to question what really happened the night Hannah disappeared and, just when she thinks she's figured it out, an unexpected visitor turns up at the house and throws everything she ever believed from her past into turmoil, who is telling the truth and how can she ever trust anyone again.
This story is told over two timelines and is full of unexpected twists, I was drawn in right from the start. To begin with I disliked Virginia and felt sorry for Jo but as the story progressed my loyalties switched and I was firmly on Virginia's side and praying she would be proved right, I adored Ruby and loved the relationship she immediately struck up with her grandmother, it brought out a softer side to Virginia and gave her the love she'd missed out on when Jo was growing up. This is a well crafted book and the first I've read by this author, but it definitely won't be the last. Definitely recommend this one.
I have read and enjoyed Gilly Macmillan’s other novels so was delighted to have the chance to read this one. It’s quite different in setting and style, somehow, but just as readable! In fact I have spent the last few hours finishing it and ignoring everything else I should have been doing.
The novel centres around a fractured mother and daughter relationship and events that happened years ago at Lake Hall. A skull is found in the lake and this leads to the uncovering of secrets. I enjoyed the characters, particularly the three generations of the Holt family - unhappy, recently widowed Jocelyn and her spirited daughter Ruby who gets on so well with her grandmother, the mother Jocelyn never liked as much as her nanny. It’s a very interesting study of mothers and daughters. I changed my opinions about the characters as the novel progressed. The shifts are cleverly handled and I became absorbed in the story, keen to find out what really happened one eventful night in 1987. It’s quite tricky writing this review as I don’t want to give anything away! Plenty of tension and atmosphere make this a novel worth reading.
Thank you very much to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
I wrote a lovely long review of The Nanny, then accidentally deleted it before it could be posted. Oh no! Anyway, here goes again.... having loved Gilly Macmillan’s previous books I was excited to read this one and delighted to be approved for an ARC.
Reeling from the sudden death of her husband, Jocelyn (Jo) returns to her family home, Lake Hall, with her ten year old daughter Ruby. Jo’s childhood was blighted both by the overnight disappearance, never to be seen again, of her beloved nanny Hannah, and by a relationship with her haughtily aristocratic mother, Virginia, which is distant at best. Although Virginia is now also a widow, their long-damaged relationship remains frosty in the extreme, although Virginia bonds to a surprisingly immediate extent with Ruby.
When a shocking discovery is made in the lake, things escalate quickly. Can it really be connected to the long ago disappearance of Hannah? And how reliable are Jo’s childhood memories, anyway?
The story is narrated mainly by Jo with sections from the points of view of Virginia, a police detective named Andy and a young woman called Linda in the 1970s and 80s. This generally worked well although I’m not entirely sure how much was added by Andy’s brief sections, other than to provide an outside perspective and illustrate how the Holt family are regarded by many.
Towards the end things perhaps rushed a little too quickly towards a dramatic conclusion, for which there would surely be consequences further down the line. However it was a gripping read with an original premise, touching on themes of familial relationships, manipulation, and where and why our love and trust are (mis)placed. I very much enjoyed all the characters, particularly Virginia and Ruby, and found Jo’s struggles and dilemmas very relatable.
The author lived in the US for some years and very occasional Americanisms do creep in - Lord Holt is described as wearing a “vest” over his checked shirt, which I’m pretty sure is the American usage rather than the British! And I’m not sure the British police use Jane Doe as a placeholder to the same extent as the Americans - although I could be wrong.
All in all an excellent read which I really enjoyed.