Nanny Dearest

Mira. Nov. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780778311614. pap. $16.99. THRILLER
DEBUTSue Keller is a twentysomething New Yorker, adrift and increasingly asocial after the recent death of her widower father. Sue lost her mother to cancer as a toddler, and now her fragile sense of safety is shaken by this final blow, which draws her into a semi-agoraphobic state of anxiety. Then a person from Sue’s barely recalled past calls out her name on the street one day and asks, “You don’t remember me, do you?” Enter Annie, Sue’s childhood nanny, who has never forgotten “her favorite” charge and seeks to befriend her again. So begins an intense year of friendship, memory, and obsession between the two women, eventually leading to shocking revelations that threaten to dismantle Sue’s carefully constructed world. Collins skillfully pivots between two timelines and perspectives (Annie in the 1990s and Sue in the present). It’s a seesaw of rising tension that ultimately delivers a raw, crashing conclusion.
VERDICT Mercifully avoiding the sexual clichés of many other domestic thrillers, Collins’s debut illustrates the sometimes obsessive and terrifying nature of love and the shattering consequences of its betrayal. Nanny services across the country may see a dip in demand when this intensely emotional psychological roller coaster is released.
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