“Cupboards were sticky from spilt jam and honey, and the oven smoked when you turned it on because of the fat that had built up over the years. Agatha would never, ever let her future home end up like this. She would never leave it every day like Ruth did. She would never put her trust in strangers.
Ruth and Christian are – just – holding their marriage together, after Christian’s disastrous affair a year ago. But chaos beckons, and when the family are suddenly left without any childcare, Agatha comes into their lives to solve all their problems. But Agatha is not as perfect as she seems and her love for the children masks a deeper secret.
Everything and Nothing is a stunningly assured debut, superbly evoking an atmosphere of inexorable and sinister menace that builds to a mesmerising climax in a story that is, at its heart, about thwarted and damaged love.”
What I thought:
The book begins promisingly. A young girl walks down a middle class street in London on her way to an interview for the job of nanny. Greeted by the chaotic scene around her (mum and dad on the verge of spliting up, two unruly children) Agatha already knows she wants this job – and we already know she is hiding something!
The plot raced along at a satisfyingly quick pace and the characters of both Ruth and Christian (the parents) were nicely drawn; lots of angst, guilt, anger and blame and I believed them as a couple and I believed their situation. However, I never really got on board with Agatha the nanny. She remained so aloof to me that she never really got past being one-dimensional. I never even managed to get a suitable image of her in my head as I didn’t find her character nearly fleshed out enough to engage with any way. I was disappointed as I didn’t feel that her role was nearly suspenseful or menacing enough from what I had been lead to assume from the blurb and the first few pages. The book, to me, felt more about the struggles of a marriage and bringing up kids and the nanny plot was thrown in as an afterthought.
In summary, it was a good book and I really did enjoy reading it; the pages turned themselves and I never had time to get bored. I think this book bodes well for the future of this debut author and I look forward to seeing what else she publishes in the future.
(Source: I received my copy of this book coutesy of Amazon Vine)