Book Review: The Nanny

THE NANNY | Gilly Macmillan
09.10.2019 | William Morrow
Rating: 4/5 stars


When Jocelyn was seven-years-old her nanny disappeared in the middle of the night. The loss hit Jo hard and it became a bone of contention between her and her parents for many years. How could her nanny simply disappear without saying goodbye?

Thirty years have passed and despite Jo’s best efforts to separate herself from her mother she finds herself moving back home with her young daughter, Ruby. Soon after their arrival human remains are found on the lake behind their house. Jo begins to suspect the worst about the remains. Is this what happened to her nanny all those years ago? An unexpected visitor shows up at their doorstep who brings with them secrets and truths that will change everything Jo ever thought about her childhood.


THE NANNY is my second book by Gilly Macmillian and it made me remember all the reasons why I loved the first book I read by her! Macmillian is back yet again methodically planning out a slow-burn read. This time the story focuses on the Holt family and the drama that happened in their household nearly thirty years ago.

From the start, Macmillian makes it clear that there is a tension between main character Jocelyn AKA Jo and her mother, Virginia. As the narratives switch between the two women the reader starts to piece together each side of the story. Each short chapter offers the reader a tiny glimpse into the truth, but Macmillian holds the grand reveal close to her chest until the very end. Some parts of the plots and the dynamic between the main characters is obvious to a long-time crime fiction reader, however, I was pleasantly surprised at the direction the story took at several places. For me, I’m completely fine reading a book with a bit of predictability as long as the story is engaging, which is exactly what I found with THE NANNY.


The structure of THE NANNY is what made this book such a great success. Not only does Macmillian alternate the narrative between Jo and Virginia, but she also adds in sporadic passages from the missing nanny and the detective investigating the remains. Everything subtly builds to the grand reveal where all of the narratives collide in an intense ending.

I’ve seen some mixed reviews for this book. My biggest concern is that readers will walk into this book expecting a thriller and THE NANNY is not that. There are certainly intense moments, but for the most part, this book is very much a slow-burn. I listened to this book via audio and adored the multiple narrators that helped the story come to life. I highly recommend enjoying it through audio over reading the physical book, as the narrators helped to keep everything fresh and moving forward. THE NANNY is a great read for anyone looking for a subtle, family-centric story in crime fiction genre.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: A huge thank you to William Morrow and LibraryThing for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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