Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Nanny Dearest

  Nanny Dearest
Author:  Flora Collins
Publication Information:  MIRA. 2021. 336 pages.
ISBN:  0778311619 / 978-0778311614

Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley and the HTP Fall 2021 mystery and thriller blog tour free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "I wake from my nap."

Favorite Quote:  "What adults don't understand, or maybe choose to forget, is that even the gawkiest, nerdiest, most metal-mouthed teens are experimenting."

***** BLOG TOUR *****


Nanny Dearest focuses on two characters - nanny Anneliese aka Annie and her charge Susanna aka Suzy aka Sue. The book focuses on two time periods - one when Suzy was a child and Annie was her nanny, and the other when Sue is an adults and reconnects with Annie. The books uses two narrators - Annie for the past and Sue for the present.

Annie had to grow up too fast with the abuse in her home, the death of her mother, and the caretaking of her injured father and her younger siblings. The job of being Suzy's nanny is an escape from all of that. In many ways, it is a dream of all the things Annie believes should be hers.

Sue has had to grow up too fast with the death of her mother and scars of her childhood that she may not even completely understand. The relatively recent death of her father has sent her in a direction that cripples her ability to function and leaves her holed up in her home.

A chance (or is it?) encounter reconnects Annie and Sue. The story of the past continues to build the degree of Annie's fixation on Suzy and the lengths to which she is willing to go to "protect" that relationship and her world as she thinks it should be. The story of the present begins as Sue finds that connection to her past that seems to offer a lifeline to saving herself in the present. The story of the present builds as Sue disregards those in her life now to cling more and more to the vision Annie presents and the rose-colored memories of a loving childhood relationship. The story crescendoes when Sue learns more and accesses memories that reveal to her her that all may not be as it seems. Her dream may very well have been a nightmare.

The two time period, two narrator technique of storytelling does not work for me in this book. With Annie's perspective on the past, I don't feel that I get to know or care for Suzy the child. As such, Sue's perspective in the present seems to lack that connection of why. What was her childhood after her mother's death? Why does her father's death have such a dire impact? Why does she respond to Annie to the point of disregarding a true lifelong friend? Why does a few meetings with Annie result in a dramatic turnaround for Sue? With all these why's unanswered, Sue does not develop into an empathetic character, and this makes the entire story a challenge.

The one other thing I don't understand at all in this book or many others of this genre is the gratuitous violence against animals. It is completely unnecessary and leaves an unpleasant memory of the book. Why?

To me, the suspense in this book is not so much what happened in the past or even what is going to happen now. It is a matter of what is it going to take for Sue to finally realize what is clear to the reader from the beginning. Something is not right about Annie.

About the Book

Compulsively readable domestic suspense, perfect for fans of THE TURN OF THE KEY and THE PERFECT NANNY, about a woman who takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny after her father’s death, until she starts to uncover dark secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.

Set in New York city and upstate New York, NANNY DEAREST is the story of twenty-five year-old Sue Keller, a young woman reeling from the recent death of her father, a particularly painful loss given that Sue’s mother died of cancer when she was only three. At just this moment of vulnerability comes Anneliese Whitaker, Sue’s former nanny from her childhood days in upstate New York.

Sue, craving connection and mothering, is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue begins to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure – or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care.

Told in alternating points of views, switching between Annie in the mid-90s and Sue in the present day, this is a taut novel of suspense with a shocking ending.

About the Author

Flora Collins was born and raised in New York City and has never left, except for a four-year stint at Vassar College. When she's not writing, she can be found watching reality shows that were canceled after one season or attempting to eat soft-serve ice cream in bed (sometimes simultaneously). Nanny Dearest is her first novel, and draws upon personal experiences from her own family history.

Q&A with Flora Collins

Q: Please give one sentence/elevator pitch for Nanny Dearest.
A: Nanny Dearest is about a young woman who makes the fatal mistake of reconnecting with her childhood nanny.

Q: Why do you believe thrillers are so popular?
A: It is so easy to get lost in the suspense! A good thriller will keep you turning the pages, immersing the reader in the novel’s world. I also think there’s a strong schadenfreude aspect to it, too; people, at least this is true of myself, read thrillers to feel better about their own day-to-day problems.

Q: Where do you get your ideas? Of course, from your imagination, but do you read, see or hear something that clicks?
A: Mostly from documentaries, other books, stories I hear, dreams. Inspiration really can come from anywhere!

Q: Are you a plotter or panster?
A: Definitely a panster. I start with a basic idea and work from there.

Q: Any tips for would be writers?
A: Read! Everyone says that, but it’s true. And also find a couple of good beta readers whom you trust to give solid feedback. Also, as hard as it may seem, don’t let rejection get you down. Published authors usually had to write multiple stories and manuscripts before they received a book deal. Keep on going!

Q: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
A: Not really, since I read a lot of thrillers that contain many unsavory characters! However, I loved The Princess Diaries growing up, so maybe Mia Thermopalis.

Q: Did you have a nanny growing up?
A: I did! Though no one was as sinister as Anneliese, the nanny in Nanny Dearest, thankfully.

Q:I know authors do not always get to pick their titles. Did you pick this title or know what the title would be when you wrote the book?
A: Nope! My publisher picked the title. It used to be called My Only Sunshine.

Q: What is your favorite season and why?
A: Fall. I love a crisp 45-degree day and the fashion. I am definitely one of those basic white girls who is happy when September rolls around.

Social Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/flococo16?lang=en
Instagram: @floracollins_author

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