Nanny Returns
  • Nanny Returns
  • Nanny Returns

Nanny Returns

3.0 164
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.

After living abroad for twelve years, Nan and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to get her new business off the ground and fix up their fixer-upper. To compound the

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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.

After living abroad for twelve years, Nan and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to get her new business off the ground and fix up their fixer-upper. To compound the mounting construction woes and marital chaos of Ryan announcing his sudden desire to start a family, sixteen-year-old Grayer X makes a drunken, late-night visit wanting to know why Nan abandoned him all those years ago. Soon she is drawn back into Mrs. X's ever-bizarre Upper East Side conclave of power and privilege in this "eminently readable" and "surprisingly affecting" (Entertainment Weekly) tale of what happens when a community that chooses money over love finds itself with neither.

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

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Product Details

Washington Square Press
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(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 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 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

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