Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins is a highly recommended novel of
Sue Keller's father has recently died and her mother died years ago when she was just three-years-old. This has left her struggling with depression and nightmares. When Anneliese (Annie) Whittaker meets her on the street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Sue doesn't recognize Annie at first, but later does. Annie was Sue's beloved nanny when she was a young child and they lived in upstate NY. Sue cared for her before her mother died and for awhile afterward. When Annie wants to reconnect with Sue, Sue is eager to have Annie back in her life. At first it is wonderful. Sue's depression has lifted and she is able to sleep, but she is also cutting off old friends and exclusively just seeing Annie. And then a few cracks begin to appear concerning Annie and her life.
After a slow start, Nanny Dearest is going to hold your
attention throughout the rest of the novel as the tension increases. The
narrative switches between the point of view of Sue in the present and
Annie back in 1996, so the reader actually knows more about Annie than
Sue does. This narrative choice also helps increase the tension in the
plot because you will recognize early on that something is wrong with
Annie long before certain facts and history are presented. To some extent,
Sue is also not exhibiting completely sound behavior. Although you know
she is grieving the loss of her father, there is still some irrational
Both Sue and Annie are fully realized characters. It is clear early
on that Annie has some problems and had a dysfunctional family, but Sue,
as a young child, would never have recognized this. It is Sue's own
present day issues that allow Annie to insert herself into Sue's life
while encouraging the exclusion of others. You will definitely have to
set aside some disbelief while reading, but the suspense and tension
does propel the plot forward to a stunning conclusion.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of MIRA Books.