Book Review: The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan

Book: The Nanny

Author: Gilly Macmillan

Pages: 382

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Rating: 9/10

Who Should Read this Book: Mild thriller fans, fans of a good mystery


First I want to say a big thank you to Gilly Macmillan, who agreed to participate in our buddy read chat for this book on Instagram. It was so fun to ask her some specific questions about the book. I will share some of her answers here that don’t contain any spoilers!

Click the photo above to go directly to Indigo. 

The Nanny follows Jo Holt as she moves back to her parents manor in England. After Jo’s husband dies, she moves from California back to Lord and Lady Holt’s house in the English countryside. She has a tense relationship with her mother Virginia, and she didn’t even go to her father’s funeral. Jo brings her 10-year-old daughter Ruby with her. There are many reasons why Jo and Virginia have a bad relationship but most of it stems from when Jo was 7 and her beloved nanny Hannah suddenly disappeared. Jo blames her mom for this because she was given no explanation. Soon after Jo and Ruby are settled they are out on the little lake behind the manor and they find a human skull in the water. They call the police and an investigation begins. When Jo confronts Virginia about the skull, she is met with closed off anger and Jo becomes suspicious that the skull may belong to Hannah…

Hook 2/2 points: The hook is great, we have this mystery skull and the lady of the house is freaking out because of the police being involved. And then all of the sudden, Nanny Hannah shows up at the door, saying she’s moved back to town.

Writing 2/2 points: This was my first book by Gilly Macmillan and I’m definitely going to get my hands on some more. In fact when we were talking to Gilly, I asked her what book is her favourite.

Angie: Gilly, you’ve written a lot of books. Do you have a favourite of the ones published so far?

Gilly: I’m grateful to my debut for getting me started, I love The Nanny because it’s a bit different. But I think The Perfect Girl will always be my favourite I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Probably because it was my second book but written before my first was published and before I felt the pressures of the industry, so it felt quite free and I loved the characters.

Gilly writes amazing characters, the ones in The Nanny, Hannah, Jo, and Virginia especially were so frustrating to read because you love to hate them. I got very invested in their story.

Plot 2/2 points: This book was advertised as a thriller, but I think a better description is mystery/suspense. The mystery of the skull is very intriguing and the multiple narrators, that are not communicating, really drive the story well. But this isn’t scary, I want to make that clear. This is not a thriller. But it is a really great suspense.

Twist 2/2 points: I was predicting something entirely different. So full points to Gilly for stumping me. I thought I was so clever because there are subtle clues that led me where I was but they are tricks!

Feel 1/2 points: This is the only place where The Nanny loses a point. The mother-daughter relationships between Jo and Virginia, and Jo and Ruby were extremely frustrating. The characters were not communicating at all and it was driving me crazy. I understand that they had to be that way to keep the mystery alive. But it bothered me a little bit too much.

Below are some other questions asked of Gilly:

@Mels_reads: Do you have any ideas/plans for your next book?!

Gilly: I am working on my next novel. It’s been a tough one to write, slow, but I’m very excited about it. It has a crime writer as a central character so it’s been interesting to examine my own profession in the context of a thriller.

Angie: I was also wondering if you have a writing nook?

Gilly: I used to write in a little corner of our basement, facing a white wall and listening to the sound of our washing machine and dryer but we renovated the space last year so now I have a desk looking out over the garden. I can still hear the laundry though.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and will be on the lookout for more of Gilly’s books!

Happy Reading!


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