Sunday 14 January 2024

Post on a chilly, snowy morning...

We’ve had mild, snow-free weather up to this point in our coldest season, but I think we’ve caught up to our “snow quota” this weekend.  It’s been blowing and snowing since Friday evening, and I don’t think it’s going to stop until much later today.  Good thing I have a steaming cup of chai and a stack of good books to keep me busy!

I’ve always enjoyed books by British author Gilly MacMillan, such as Odd Child Out and I Know You Know, so I was quite excited to start reading The Nanny, which I had on my shelf.  When I started reading it, though, it seemed very, very familiar, and I wondered if I’d read it before or if it’s such a common plot that I read another book with the same storyline.  When I checked my blog posts, it looks like I started this book a few years ago but it didn’t grab me so I went on to something else.  This time I stuck with it, and it was ok, but paled in comparison to her other books, in my opinion.  This novel tells the story of Jocelyn/Jo, a middle-aged mother who, after the death of her husband and with no money and no family in the US, is forced to return home with her ten-year-old daughter Ruby to Lake Hall, her childhood home in a village outside of London, where her mother still resides.  She has never had any emotional attachment to her mother, believing her to be bitter and unfeeling, and has long been haunted by the disappearance of her beloved nanny, Hannah, during a dinner party when she was just a child.  Her own father died a few years earlier, so this move causes Jo’s compounded grief for the loss of both her father and her husband.  While she is having a tough time, Ruby seems to have formed a real connection with this grandmother she never knew.  When, during a boating excursion on the lake, Ruby discovers a skull, Jo begins to suspect that her past was not at all what it seemed.  Things become more complicated with the arrival of an unexpected visitor claiming to be Hannah, and what follows is a descent into Jo’s past where everything she believed is called into question, and she must discover who she can trust and what she can believe in order to save herself and those she loves before it’s too late.  This sounds like the kind of gothic tale I love to gobble up in a few sittings, and as I said before, it was ok, but not earth-shattering.  There were too many inconsistencies, and too many plot twists, and I found Jo to be a very frustrating character.  I think I enjoyed her other books because they are set in present-day, and maybe she doesn’t write gothic as well as regular mystery/thriller.  Anyway, if you are looking for a gothic mystery, this book may be a good choice, but I’ve definitely read better books in this genre.

That’s all for today.  Stay warm and pick up a good book!

Bye for now... Julie

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