Saturday, 9 April 2022

Review | The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan

Published by Century on June 27, 2019


The Nanny may have been a slowburner of a thriller but it wasn’t half intriguing. Nothing and no one were as they seemed at Lake Hall and there was a lingering, unsettling feel to the place that had me gripped, obsessing over every secretive detail that was revealed and made to feel uneasy by a home embroiled with such suspenseful deceit.

This was my introduction to Gilly Macmillan and I will definitely hunt out more of her books as I loved how involving this one was – the dynamics between the characters were truly fascinating and there were moments that made me want to shout at them and shake them and force them to wake up to the danger around them.

This book had plenty of twists and turns and my feelings about some of the characters kept twisting and changing as well. To begin with, I sympathised with Jocelyn. She felt she had been left with no other option to move back in with her mother, despite their poor, pretty much non-existent relationship. The death of her husband amongst other things have lead Jocelyn and her daughter Ruby to move their lives from America to the UK and they are both grieving and unhappy. I felt bad for Jocelyn as her mother Virginia seemed overbearing and like she had nothing better to do than criticise Jo’s every move, but it wasn’t long before the tide had turned and my sympathies turned to Virginia.

Whilst at first Virginia is almost impossible to like, I found her to be a grower and my opinions changed. I felt bad for her as she is made to feel unwelcome in her own home by her daughter, as Jo just cannot allow herself to move on from the memories she has of growing up with her mother. Those memories haunt Jo and she can be pretty rude and abrupt to Virginia. She never allows herself to just listen to her mother and oh she was infuriating!

One thing I loved about this book was that it wasn’t as simple as hating the characters. It was more complex than that. Reading between the lines and seeing that yes each and every one of them had traits you could detest, but they were still human with real emotions and maybe they all had their regrets. At times, I found them all untrustworthy, and this made for great reading.

When the nanny, Hannah, reappears in the lives of Jo and Virginia, at around the same time a skull is discovered in the lake, the mystery and the tension intensifies and the way the suspense builds made this book more gripping with every chapter. There was so much to enjoy in The Nanny, in a sinister kind of way. The setting of Lake Hall was creepy and unnerving, so uninviting to strangers yet deliciously inviting to thriller readers! The friction between the characters was sharp and ominous. The way the plot unfolds is beguiling and as each little twist unfolds, I was dying to see how everything ends. The author didn’t disappoint. 

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.     


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