Thursday, December 31, 2009
Review: "Nanny Returns" by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
The Nanny Returns takes place 12 years after Nanny has first left the Xes home and their employ: Nan has married Ryan (a.k.a. H.H. from The Nanny Diaries), they have travelled the world for Ryan's job while Nan got her Master's Degree, and now they are trying to settle back into the world of New York. They have purchased a fixer-upper home for themselves, which is turning out to be far more of a hassle than either of them had expected, and Nan is trying to round up clients for her new consulting business. To make things more complicated, Ryan has decided that he is ready to try to start a family with Nan. The timing is not great. Nan is trying to get her home repaired, her business started, and on top of it all she has serious unresolved feelings about what happened with the Xes 12 years ago. When Grayer X, now 16, shows up on Nan's doorstep one drunken night, Nan is sucked back in to the world that the Xes inhabit. She feels that she needs to make up for abandoning Grayer when he was so little, and channels much of her energy into helping both him and his adorable little brother, Stilton, as their parents battle through a bitter divorce. Nan feels that she must come to terms with what happened in the past, but she must also decide what parts of her current life she is willing to sacrifice to do so.
It has been a long time since I read The Nanny Diaries, but luckily most of it came back to me as I began to read this book (although now I wouldn't mind a re-read!). Once again, we as readers are thrust into the world of the culturally elite, and should consider ourselves lucky not to be a part of that, the way that this book portrays it. The way that these people treat their friends, their husbands and wives, and especially their children in this novel is absolutely appaling, and described beautifully by McLaughlin and Kraus. Their dialogue throughout the book was spot on, drawing me in to the scene unfolding, and even making me a part of it. The plot was compelling, and even I didn't know how things would turn out ahead of time. The ending wasn't at all what I expected, but I was satisfied with it nonetheless. There were just enough questions left at the end that I am now officially begging McLaughlin and Kraus to write a sequel. I'm not done reading about Nan yet!
Ultimately I found this to be a thoroughly satisfying read. I read through it in less than two days and didn't want to put it down once I had finished. What a great book to finish the year out with!