The Nanny – Gilly Macmillan

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 385
Release Date: September 10, 2019

The New York Times bestselling author of What She Knewconjures a dark and unpredictable tale of family secrets that explores the lengths people will go to hurt one another.

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.


The Nanny is a book I’ve had on my TBR for over a year. It’s not a novel I would intentionally seek out, but I got it at a publisher event. Seeing that October is the perfect time to read mystery books, I finally took the plunge. Unfortunately, I did not really enjoy The Nanny.

The Nanny is incredibly slow. The opening chapters are fairly dull as Macmillan takes her time establishing up the characters and the setting. The Nanny is told from multiple perspectives: a detective, Lady Holt, and Jocelyn, Lady Holt’s daughter. The detective’s chapters were useless. They were short and offered nothing of value to the story or mystery.

Almost the entirety of The Nanny focuses on family drama and the frayed relationship between Jocelyn and her mother. The tension throughout the novel is a by-product of a lack of communication between mother and daughter. Had they had just one quick conversation, about 100 pages of the novel could have been removed. This kind of tension feels cheap and unearned.

The twists and turns were predictable since Macmillan plotted a fairly straightforward mystery. Though, I did like the mystery as I read ¾ of the book in one day.

Would I recommend The Nanny? No. There are much better novels in the genre to spend your time on.

Overall, The Nanny was a disappointing read that offered nothing new to the nanny trope in the mystery genre. The reveal did not justify the slow and meandering path to get there.


Have you read The Nanny? What did you think?

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