Book Review: The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

Last year I was able to purchase tickets for a Harper Presents event organised by Harper Collins Canada to hear one of my favourite authors speak. Even though I do enjoy all of Gilly MacMillan’s novels, it was only now that I slipped The Nanny off of my TBR pile.

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Format: Paperback


When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, seven-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind.

Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. But when human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother…

In this compulsively readable tale of secrets, lies, and deception, Gilly Macmillan explores the darkest impulses and desires of the human heart. Diabolically clever, The Nanny reminds us that sometimes the truth hurts so much you’d rather hear the lie.

My thoughts:

Gilly MacMillan has done it again by writing a story that keeps readers on their toes and takes them through some unexpected scenarios. As expected, MacMillan’s pacing is perfect in the novel and I could not help but turn the pages – I needed to know how the story would turn out. It is not a nail-biting novel but one, instead, that cleverly turns the expected behaviour into something unexpected.

In The Nanny, MacMillan suggests to us the power of the person who looks after our children. Nannies, for example, tend to be people who work in the background and yet, as is seen in this novel, they have untold power over a child’s relationship with the parents, as well as over the behaviour of a child.

In this novel, the author also explores the relationship between mother and daughter. We are shown two relationships in this story: the one between Jocelyn and her mother; as well as the one between Jocelyn and her own daughter. It is interesting to compare these two relationships – and how the nanny influences both.

MacMillan does throw in an unexpected twist at the end of the novel – which I certainly appreciated. I also appreciated the prose of the author’s writing as well as her insight into human nature. I am a fan of Gilly MacMillan and this novel did not disappoint.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This novel was the 39th novel in my book pledge for 2020)

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

  1. I really enjoyed this book. Surprisingly I needed up rooting for the grandmother – lol. And I really enjoyed the edge of my seat kind of feel I got from it, loved the twist, although wished the ending wasn’t as rushed.


  2. I had this as a pre-order until Amazon royally screwed it up, so I never managed to get my hands on a copy. I really need to!!! Great, great review!


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