09 Aug Nanny Wanted by Lizzy Barber
A modern-day mystery with Gothic overtones!
I took part in the cover reveal for this story earlier this year, and couldn’t wait to read the book! It sounded like such a great story – and it really is, with mystery, intrigue and danger all wrapped up in a thrilling plot.
When Lily Stern sees the advert for post of nanny to two young children at Kewney Manor in Cornwall, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She needs to escape London and the toxic relationship she has with Nick.
At first, everything goes well – the children, Bess and William, are delightful and her new employers, Charles and Laurie Rowe welcome her as one of the family.
But things soon start to take a dark turn.
Charles and Laurie’s relationship is volatile, and their behaviour spills over into Lily’s new life, disturbing her new found peace. But she cannot go back to London, too fearful of what awaits her there.
As Lily tries to discover what happened to the Rowes’ previous nanny, she uncovers family secrets even darker than her own.
Hints of a tragedy
This story gripped me right from the beginning. Despite being set firmly in the twenty-first century, it had an air of Gothic mystery about it, with echoes of Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
The atmosphere is set up nicely with the description of Kewney Manor, an eighteenth century isolated house, with suits of armour in the corridor and dusty stairs leading to abandoned attics.
The family are rich, generous, gregarious and popular in the area.
But there are noises in the night, lots of strange comings and goings, and hints of a tragedy that once took place in their ancestral home, all adding an extra layer to the narrative. The denouement when it comes is as dramatic as it is unexpected, with the Gothic feel of the story lingering right until the end.
Who is controlling whom?
The characters are skilfully drawn and nuanced in their behaviour – Charles and Laurie have so many facets to their personality that they remain consistently interesting, sometimes suspicious, sometimes sympathetic, and always with a hint of rawness that could spill over into something more toxic.
Looking on, Lily is sometimes passive, sometimes proactive, and not always a reliable narrator.
Along with the exciting plot, the theme throughout the story deals with the troubling issue of coercive control. But who is controlling whom?
Author Lizzy Barber offers us an exciting story, and plenty to ponder on – I definitely recommend this read.
Nanny Wanted by Lizzy Barber is published by Pan in paperback and ebook
About the Author
Lizzy Barber’s critically acclaimed debut novel My Name is Anna (2019) won the Daily Mail First Novel Competition. She read English at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and is Head of Brand and Marketing at the Hush Collection, a boutique group of restaurants. Lizzy has a lifelong love of Italy, spending childhood holidays on the Italian coast, and living in Florence, aged 18 to learn Italian. Her second book Out Of Her Depth is set in Tuscany.
Many thanks to Josie Turner of Pan Macmillan for inviting me along on this blogtour, and to Pan Macmillan for a copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour through the links on the poster
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