What the Nanny Saw
By Fiona Neill
(Riverhead Hardcover, Hardcover, 9781594487163, 464pp.)
Publication Date: August 2, 2012
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It’s the summer of 2008. For the past decade Nick and Bryony Skinner and their four children have ridden high on the economic boom, but their luck is about to run out. Suddenly, the privileged family finds itself at the center of a financial scandal:
their Central London house is besieged by the press, Nick disappears, and Bryony and the children become virtual prisoners in their own home. And Ali, their trusted nanny, watches it all. As the babysitter, she brings a unique insider-outsider perspective to the family, seeing far more than even the family itself is capable of. But when a reporter with a personal connection to the story comes asking her for the inside scoop, will Ali remain loyal to the family who never saw her as anything other than the help? Or will she tell her side?
Written with Fiona Neill’s delicious humor and addictive style, What the Nanny Saw is a keenly observed, often comical chronicle of the urban wealthy elite, of parents who are often too busy to notice what is going on under their own noses, of children left to their own devices, and of a young nanny thrown into a role she doesn’t know how to play. It is a morality tale of our time, a tale of betrayal, the corrosive influence of too much money, and why good people sometimes do bad things.
Fiona Neill is a novelist and a journalist. Her previous novel, Slummy Mummy, based on her hugely popular column in the London Times, was widely acclaimed and went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller that sold in twenty-five countries. Neill lives in North London with her husband and three children.
- “Nannies always have the bird’s–eye view, Ali. People forget you’re in the room. You melt into the scenery. Like wallpaper.” In what ways is Ali Sparrow invisible to the Skinner family, and in what ways does she remain an outsider? What does it allow her to see about this family that they themselves cannot?
"[Fiona Neill] mixes delicious high-roller tidbits with well-rendered characters who illustrate why—and how—the rich are different."—People
"After an uberwealthy London family gets embroiled in a financial scandal following the 2008 crash, the trusted babysitter is the one holding all the secrets. Neill’s engrossing and funny novel lives up to the titillating title."—Entertainment Weekly
“Readers expecting a salacious, lighthearted romp, as anything with the word 'nanny' in the title might suggest, will find that Neill has something more substantive and biting in mind.”—Booklist
"Neill’s engrossing tale makes for an addictive read, and one can only keep turning the pages to get to the inescapable conclusion."—Library Journal
"Neill concocts a darkly fascinating portrait of the stupid-rich, and the morally superior immigrant maids they press into service. . . . In this fast-paced, dishy morality tale, Neill also delivers a thoughtful dissection of how greed and hubris helped bring the banking industry to its knees in 2008."—Publishers Weekly
"[Neill's] portrayal of the family is happily addictive and their greed-driven downfall a little bit delicious."—Kirkus