Lead Review

  • Book: Nanny Needed
  • Location: Manhattan, Upper West Side
  • Author: Georgina Cross

Review Author: Tina Hartas



Sarah Larson is living with her boyfriend Jonathan in a small apartment, trying to make ends meet. Sarah has an enormous debt, accrued by Aunt Clara when she was terminally ill, and the medical bills just didn’t stop coming. Aunt Clara brought Sarah up after her parents died in a traffic accident.

Both Sarah and Jonathan are working as waiting staff at restaurant Hearth, but already Sarah is struggling to hold everything together with the multiple shifts she is working. She then espies an ad, posted on the general noticeboard in their apartment block, for a wealthy family in need of a nanny. It transpires that the family is living up at W 78th Street, a very posh part of town. That could be just the get out she is looking for!

She learns early on that this extremely wealthy and private family – the Birds – has rigorous ways, they are adept at maintaining tight privacy, and she learns an early and salutary lesson that everyone should always go through an employment contract with a tooth comb. As it is, she is now contractually obliged to care for her charge, little 3 year old Patti, soon to turn 4.

She finds herself commuting to the apartment on the Upper West Side and becomes a firm member of staff, alongside the housekeeper and the chef. Mum Colette is clearly a little labile and significantly older brother Stephen seems to run the household; father Alex is absent for much of the time, storming in when he is in town.

This is a psychological thriller, a rather wacky story that kept me going to the end. It is well written and competently – and at times quiveringly – narrated on audiobook by Emma Ashton. There are red herrings due to some shortfalls in editing but there are others intrinsic to the plot that move the story along quite nicely. It is atmospheric and chilling and gives the sense of lives lived in this wealthy part of Manhattan.

I found it entertaining enough as I listened to it on various walks, and was keen to continue listening; but for me it was overly contrived and at times verged on being just a little silly.

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