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Nanny Returns
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Nanny Returns

3.1 166
by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus

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More than four million readers fell
in love with Nan, the smart, spirited,
and sympathetic heroine of the
#1 New York Times bestseller
The Nanny Diaries.

Now she's back. After living abroad for twelve years, she and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to make a life for themselves. In the midst of


More than four million readers fell
in love with Nan, the smart, spirited,
and sympathetic heroine of the
#1 New York Times bestseller
The Nanny Diaries.

Now she's back. After living abroad for twelve years, she and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to make a life for themselves. In the midst of getting her new business off the ground and fixing up their fixer-upper, Ryan announces his sudden desire to start a family. His timing simply couldn't be worse.

To compound the mounting construction and marital chaos, her former charge, Grayer X, now sixteen years old, makes a drunken, late-night visit, wanting to know why she abandoned him all those years ago. But how can she explain to Grayer what she still hasn't come to terms with herself? In an attempt to assuage her guilt, yet against every instinct, Nan tries to help Grayer and his younger brother, Stilton, through their parents' brutal divorce, drawing her back into the ever-bizarre life of Mrs. X and her Upper East Side enclave of power and privilege.

After putting miles and years between herself and this world, Nan finds she's once again on the front line of the battle with the couture-clad elite for their children's wellbeing.

With its whip-smart dialogue and keen observations of modern life, Nanny Returns gives a firsthand tour of what happens when a community that chose money over love finds itself with neither.

The Nanny Diaries was made into a major motion picture.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Susan Bennett slips naturally into the role of Nan in this sequel to The Nanny Diaries. Nan, a former nanny, has been drawn back into the problematic life of her now teenage charge, Grayer, while simultaneously juggling a stressful job, a more stressful home renovation, and a faraway husband. Bennett perfectly conveys Nan’s determination to do everything right and fix everyone’s lives—and her consequent anxiety and guilt. Bennett creates a variety of believable characters from Hispanic maids to upper-class socialites, but some of her voices within the same category aren’t as clearly defined: for example, Mrs. X’s shallow socialite friends tend to blur together. Overall, however, Bennett’s narration is excellent: she draws the listener into the story, revealing the characters’ emotions and flaws and keeping the pacing brisk and entertaining. An Atria hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 5). (Dec.)
People Magazine
As bitingly funny as its predecessor, this Nanny also makes serious points about the pitfalls of modern parenting. It does chick lit proud.
Entertainment Weekly
eminently readable follow-up...B+.
The many readers who loved the first entry will be thrilled to revisit Nan, Grayer, and the Xs.
The New York Post
For Sex and the City fans . . . another deliciously addictive glimpse into the lives of the ultra-rich and their children.
Reading the long-awaited sequel to The Nanny Diaries is like catching up with one of your long-out-of-touch friends via Facebook.
Library Journal
Yes, the Nanny returns! Is she as captivating as she was in The Nanny Diaries? Yes, she is—after a bit of a slow start. The authors devote some pages to getting the reader back into the world of Nan, who worked as a nanny to the überwealthy Mrs. X, a negligent mother to little Grayer and a miserable boss to Nan. Fast-forward ten years: Nan married her "Harvard Hottie," Ryan, and traveled the world with him. Now back in New York City, Nan crosses paths by chance with Grayer, 16, drunk, and in trouble. He's trying to take care of his younger brother, Stilton, with no help (and plenty of hindrance) from his mess of a mother. There's a vicious divorce, a possible life-threatening illness, and an abundance of simple neglect. Nan again is tossed into an emotional situation with Grayer's family. The 33-year-old Nan can be more than a nanny to the X boys. But should she? VERDICT Once again, the wealthy New York crowd serves as an addictive backdrop, and the story's contrast between shallowness and compassion is fascinating. Nanny Diaries fans will snap up this sequel. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]—Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC
Kirkus Reviews
In this sequel to The Nanny Diaries (2002), Nan Hutchinson moves back to Manhattan and finds herself once more ensnared in the dysfunctional, uber-rich world of her former charge. Ten years older and happily nesting in a Harlem fixer-upper with "Harvard Hottie" hubby Ryan, Nan thinks she's left behind those surreal days of catering to the offspring of the wealthy. Now she's occupied with building her fledging management-consulting business and struggling with the idea of starting a family of her own. But late one night, who should arrive at her door but little Grayer X, all grown up into a strapping-and drunk-16-year-old. He's still smarting over what he saw as her abandonment back when he was only four, he reveals; Nan is stunned and feels a little guilty, even though Grayer is unaware of the extenuating circumstances. Despite being sophisticated beyond his years, the boy is not dealing well with the fact that his long-absent Dad, hedge-fund titan Mr. X, has finally moved out altogether to be with a movie-star mistress. In response, self-absorbed Mrs. X has taken to her bed in a haze of prescription drugs, leaving Grayer responsible for the care of his seven-year-old brother Stilton. Being who she is, Nan cannot help but step in to help the adorable Stilton get into boarding school. This prompts the unnerving gratitude of Mrs. X, who confides that she is suffering from breast cancer. Yikes. In addition to the X family drama, Nan takes a too-good-to-be true gig at a fancy private school full of entitled brats and obsequious staffers somehow involved with the increasingly shady Mr. X's business. It all winds up with a weekend in the Hamptons, where Nan acts as de facto guardian of bothboys, wondering if she really has what it takes to bring kids into the world. Never delivers the juicy satisfaction of its precursor.
From the Publisher
"The many readers who loved the first entry will be thrilled to revisit Nan, Grayer, and the Xs." — Booklist

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Grace barks sharply, jerking me awake from a dead sleep as she flip-twists onto all fours.

"Grace," I grumblingly reprimand, squinting through the darkness to where she peers out the bedroom doorway, like our night is about to go Lifetime. I stretch to the microwave-serving-as-nighttable — 1:23 a.m. — fumbling for my cell. She resumes barking with a ferocity that lifts her front paws in little jumps. Ears ringing, I flip open the phone and it glows to life, illuminating a text informing me that my husband is currently tucked in at the D.C. Radisson. I put my finger over the nine, primed to dial for help, when I hear —


"Grace!" I scream with exasperation, and momentarily stunned, she turns to me. "It's the doorbell," I explain, as if this should reassure us. I pull on yoga pants, tug Ryan's sweater over my slip, and feel my feet around for my Adidas.

Grace is squared protectively in the doorframe and, seeing me dressed and in motion, she scrambles for her throw rope and barrels to the stairs. "This is not a walk. We are not walking." She wags her tail with blind optimism. Holding my cell, I feel for the light switch. The bare bulb comes to life, illuminating the hall, the second-story landing, and the vestibule below.



"Crap," I mutter, nearly felled by my flopping laces as I descend the final two steps into the once grand, now puke green and linoleumed foyer. I pull back the crispy, yellowed lace covering the one of two narrow side windows faming the door. A glimpse of a long-ashed cigarette smoking in a man's fingers jerks me back to the wall. Grace pants around her frayed rope as she stares intently at the bottom of the door, waiting for it to be opened. Not a chance. I glance at the deadbolt to confirm it's bolted and, with a dully clattering heart, back up to the railing.

ZZZZZZZZZZ — fitz! The light two stories above goes out. Bringing us to a last pair of working fuses. Fabulous.

"Fuck," I hear from the front stoop. I stare at the door's peeling paint with an intensity rivaling Grace's. "Look, just open up," he speaks in a plaintive slur. "I left my wallet in the cab...and I just...I heard you...I know you're — fuck." I hear a thump and then something sliding heavily down the other side of the door.

Grace drops her head to sniff the jamb. I take a tentative step and ever so slightly lift the curtain. The streetlamp illuminates splayed khaki pants ending in shiny loafers. I make out slender fingers drifting open, releasing their grip on a black iPhone. My well-attired assailant is now slipping into unconsciousness? Death?

"Hey." My voice surprises me and sets Grace barking. "Stop." I put my hands around her muzzle to listen...Nothing. "Hey!" I slap the door.

"Yeah?" he coughs. "You're home."

"Who are you looking for?" I step around where Grace sits, ears squarely perked.

"Um..." I hear a scuffle; he's attempting to stand up. "I'm looking for a...Nanny?"

My throat goes dry. I peer back out through the frayed lace covering the pane between us. "What?"

"Yeah, Nanny. Are you — "

"Stand in front of the glass. On your right."...Nothing. "Hey!"


"Your other right."

Suddenly my view of the stoop is filled with a swerving face — a man — boy — somewhere in between. Beneath the mussed blond hair, atop the faintly freckled nose are two bloodshot blue eyes. They look out at me from the striking bone structure that unmistakably conjures his mother. I push my forehead into the cold glass, feeling at once a hundred years old and twenty-one. "Grayer?"

• • •

"You know me," he states flatly, taking a half step back from the window.

"Grayer," I repeat to the teenage incarnation of my last charge.

He swerves out of view, sending me fumbling for the locks. Grabbing a restraining hold of Grace's collar, I dart outside just in time to hook his belt loops as he tips over the stoop wall and retches onto the garbage cans. Bending my knees to counter his heaving weight in the frigid night air, I note that the heat is the one thing that fully functions in the house looming above us.

"Okay...done," he croaks, and I pull him upright, his body loose like a harlequin, emitting a thick aroma of liquor and nicotine. He rakes the sleeve of his peacoat across his face and stumbles back to lean against the closed door, his eyes focusing as Grace growls through the wood.

"You're taller than me," is all I can say, realizing this is actually happening.

"You have, like, a pit bull in there?"

"A golden retriever."

"I had one...I was allergic...as a kid...had to get rid of it." His eyes roll back.

"I think you should come inside." I gesture to the knob. He nods, momentarily righting himself, and I awkwardly maneuver around him to open the door. Grace grabs her rope and jumps up to greet us.

"Woo. Hey." Grayer pats her down, reaching a hand to the banister and swinging himself in a large arc to sit on the bottom step. I relock the door and turn to stare at him in the streetlight spilling through the transom's stained glass.

"Grayer," I falter, reaching far into my brain for the speech I'd once prepared for this very moment. "I'm so, so — "

"You a witch?" he asks, resting his head against the wall.

"What? No, I — "

"Cooking meth?"

"Okay, I didn't just show up at your house puking."

"It's just..." He waves his hand around the decrepit foyer, which Grace takes as an invitation to wag over and lick the remnants of his upheaval off his coat.

"I'm — we're, my husband and I are renovating." I cross my arms over Ryan's sweater. "How did you find me?"

"My mom's files. Some notes about the Hutchinsons and then, you know, Google."

I feel an unexpected burst of pride in this demonstration of his smarts — immediately extinguished as he fishes through his pockets to draw out a pack of American Spirits. "No." Grace backs up, head down. "Sorry, but no, you can't smoke inside."

"This is inside?" He cradles the pack between his hands. "This isn't, like, the confound-the-mutants antechamber and those doors open to a fat pad?"

"No, this is...it has a lot of potential."

"Right." His eyes drift close.



"Why are you here?"

"To tell you to go fuck yourself." He inhales in two quick sniffs, eyes still closed.

My stomach twists. "Okay."

His eyes flutter open, seeking mine in the dim light. "Okay?"

"Yes. I mean, yes, I understand. I — "

"Okay?" He throws his hands out and jerks forward, his elbows landing on his knees. "Great! That's great! Because, you know, you talked a lot of shit to be someone I have to fucking Google. You wanted to give them the desire to know me, huh? But you walked out like the rest of them. So fuck. You." He drops his head and splays his fingers across the back of his neck.

"Grayer." I reach out to him, but he jerks away.

"What." His voice thickens. Oh my God, he's crying. I crouch to try to meet his gaze, but his long bangs hang thickly between us. "Fuck, I'm such a pussy." He burrows his palms into his eyes. "We got back from the country tonight and he's moved out — for real, gone — and she dug it up for evidence and I just watched it and the thing is, the thing is...I don't even know who you are." He reaches for his coat pocket and wrestles something out, the force of its release slapping my cheek. I reel from the sting. "Christ — sorry. I didn't mean to — " He drops the VHS tape and it clatters to the chipped tile between us. Holding my face with one hand, I pick it up and tilt it in the shaft of colored light to make out the faded "Nanny" written on its label in her controlled script.

The nanny-cam video. She saw it — kept it...

"The things you said...and I don't know..." he murmurs, and I kneel down to reach my arms around his grown-up frame, pulling him against me. "I don't know you."

"I'm Nanny, Grove, I'm Nanny." And he slumps into me, passing out.

Copyright © 2007 by Italics, LLC


Meet the Author

Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus are the New York Times bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries, Citizen Girl, Nanny Returns, and the young adult novels, The Real Real and Over You. They are the cofounders of TheFinishedThought.com, a book coaching firm, and work together in New York City. For more information visit EmmaAndNicola.com.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Place of Birth:
McLaughlin: Elmira, New York; Kraus: New York, New York
B.A., Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU (McLaughlin, 1996; Kraus, 1995)

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Nanny Returns 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 166 reviews.
mytoesarecold More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I loved The Nanny Diaries and it always troubled me as to what happened with Grayer. (I'm a mother...fictional character or not, I know too many women who treat their children as accessories.) This book answers that, of course, but I was very disappointed. I found the writing hard to follow and excessive in it's use of brand and designer names in place of proper nouns. It makes sense when used in dialogue with status conscious characters like Mrs X, etc but it doesn't when used in Nan's narrative. As when she says "I jerk up my Mason Pearson and swipe it through my hair". It's a hair brush. Say it's a hair brush. Not only was it distracting (along with some of typo's in the book), it also struck me as being hypocritical. Are the writer's every bit as materialistic as their antagonists?
ctsoxfan More than 1 year ago
I bought this because I enjoyed the first one, but wow-what a slow book to get into. I've read half of it and it still hasn't really drawn me in. Too many plots, poorly edited and at times it's hard to follow. It's obvious too that the authors are politically liberal as they've interjected comments. This adds absolutely nothing to the story. I wish people would leave that stuff out. I'm seriously thinking of just ditching this book, which is hard for me to do, maybe I"ll just skim the rest. Anyone looking for a book to read, I'd suggest that you pass on this one, or borrow it from the library instead of purchasing (Sorry B&N)
Poohluver More than 1 year ago
I bought this book, hoping to be as thrilled as I was with The Nanny Diaries, only to be thoroughly let down. I donated it to charity, thinking someone else could be as bored with it as I. Very disappointing read from two very talented women. Ugh...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ridiculous story of enabler despite for aproval from narcissists. Nan is sick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know where these writers (and editors) learned about grammar, but the sentence structure and flow in these books is appalling and completely unreadable. Yuck.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It pales in comparison to the fantastic wit of The Nanny Diaries.
mjk44 More than 1 year ago
The first two chapters caught me! I was excited to get into the follow-up to The Nanny Diaries...which I loved. As I trudged through the book, it got less and less interesting. There was such potential for the sequel, but this fell horribly short of remotely entertaining. I don't think it's taken me so long to finish a book before.
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BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
When Last we left Nan had been fired and decided to join up with Ryan in his travels. Now it is eight years later. Nan and Ryan are now married and have moved back to New York to put down roots. She thought she had left the past behind but all of the sudden. Here is Greyer and he is back. He seeks answers to why Nan left him when she did. Nan feels guilty for how things ended and seeks closure, but is she really seeking that? Life goes as she starts a business and is developing a client list. Then there are also the renovations to their lovely new home. When Ryan leaves for a month will she be able to hold it together? My Thoughts: I really enjoyed The Nanny Returns. I enjoyed the narration of the audiobook. The humor in Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Kraus’s writings is greatly appreciated. I enjoyed the hearing more about what Nan had been up to since we last met her. I would absolutely die to have a husband like Ryan. He isn’t perfect but you could see how much he loves Nan. Once again we enter the world of the power and privilege with the upper crust of New York. The question I had throughout the novel is how would Nan handle it? Would she cower in the corner or thumb her nose at the upper crust. I thought the relationship she has with Citrine was interesting. A friendship of opposites one of wealth and one of the average. I feel the authors left this book off on the right note. I can’t help wondering if we might see more from Nan in the future?
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
As many readers would agree, the Nanny Diaries was outlandish fun, however, Nanny Returns doesn't quite impress the way the other did. When I first saw that there was a sequal I got really excited especially to see the "return of the X'es"- but there were many other things going on at the same time, most of which were a bit "fantasy like." I do believe some of the situations are plausible, I wish it centered more on Nan and the X's and it didn't. Not bad for a sequal, we all know the sequals rarely live up to the first book!
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