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What The Nanny Saw

3.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,584 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
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
Paperback, 548 pages
Published August 18th 2011 by Penguin (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 18, 2012 Sabrina rated it really liked it
When I began reading What the Nanny Saw I wasn’t overly impressed or bowled away by the first few chapters. It seemed slow to start and only mildly interesting. However, as I delved deeper into the book, I found it harder and harder to put down. The plot was absolutely compelling.

If I were to rate this book on character development alone, I would probably give it a two. While the story is rich with characters, I found that I was indifferent to them. The main character Ali is the nanny who sees a
Sep 21, 2012 K rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
At first glance you might think that this book is another story of a young female being overworked while caring for privileged children of rich snobby parents, ala The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin. But if you keep up with this story you come across a much deeper read that involves the 2008 banking crises, family interactions and even the theme of trust and loyalty.

Nick Skinner is the managing director of an investment bank connected with a major US investment bank. Bryony owns a financial pu
Aug 14, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
There has been a lot of commentary recently about chick lit and its place in the literary spectrum - with What the Nanny Saw, Fiona Neill makes a beautiful riposte. It has all the components of a chick lit novel - over-the-top characters, a slightly contrived situation, a romance that you can see coming - but places them within a fiercely intelligent story examining the minutiae of scandal, finance and the media.

On the face of it, we are reading about Ali Sparrow and her attempts to play the par
Kelly Jean
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway. I agree with other reviewers that it was slow-starting at first. I hung in there because the subject matter interested me (although I would have been fine with a lot less financial details). I was very annoyed about halfway through the book when a background story showed up out of nowhere for Ali which seemed totally out of character for her. I thought it did nothing for the book, and if it had to be included, should have been at the start.
I finished it but i
May 01, 2016 Taija rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
'What the Nanny Did' or 'What the Nanny Didn't Do but Should Have Done' or even 'Who the Nanny Did' would have all been better titles for this book.

This book was terrible. And the funny thing is that the person who read it before me agreed as well! I picked this book up at my local thrift store, and the previous reader had made notes all along the margins correcting the authors spelling, grammar, and loop holes. So that was an added bonus to this story.

I only read this book for a personal read
Jan 13, 2013 Paige rated it it was ok
For a 450 page book, I was not overly impressed. While I did finish the entire thing, I feel like it was way too drawn out, and there were many details that related to the financial crisis aspect of the story that should have been drawn out more than others. I feel like there were some parts of the book that didn't necessarily belong in the text and I found myself questioning why they were included. While the story is supposed to be about the credit crisis and its effect on the Skinner family (a ...more
Erin Gillen
Mar 26, 2013 Erin Gillen rated it liked it
cute....much like Nanny diaries...i found it entertaining if not somewhat predictable....a good mindless beach kind of book....though I did learn a fun fact...the reason the Meditteranean sea is so clear is for lack of phosphorous which phytoplankton need to thrive (it seems that they are what gives our ocean a "less clear" appearance) for me, the book was worth the answer to one more jeopardy question!
Oct 17, 2012 Bonnie rated it really liked it
What the Nanny Saw gives an intimate, indepth look at the world of high finance in 2008 London from the perspective of a nanny in the home of an investment banker, Nick Skinner and his wife, Bryony, owner of her own PR company. Their life of privilege includes a five-story house in the best section of London, private schools for their four chiildren, summer house in Greece, live-in staff, and extravagant purchases, and a dinner party where Elton John entertains. When Ali is hired as nanny to the ...more
Ellyn Oaksmith
Oct 06, 2013 Ellyn Oaksmith rated it liked it
One sentence in this book had me plowing through it to see what happens. It has nothing to do with the background of this story, which is the financial downfall of the sub-prime mortgage industry of 2008. It's the love affair that a nanny has while working for a supremely rich family in London. "She felt loved," was the sentence and we hear it as she is fleeing the home, even as she feels drawn to it's inhabitants.

What is refreshing about this book is that unlike many books about the uber-wealt
Funmi Adetunji
Aug 17, 2013 Funmi Adetunji rated it it was ok
This was not a particularly good book. In fact, it was really boring. I admit, I only got halfway through before I decided to quit. I was really struggling to get through it, and there's no reason why that should be. The plot itself is uncreative, but not terrible- a poor college student takes a year off to work as a nanny for an affluent London family. Some financial scandal occurs, and the nanny is asked to give her testimony. The writing was okay, too. Maybe introducing the 'secret scandal' i ...more
Steph Hall
Mar 27, 2012 Steph Hall rated it it was ok
This book was an OK read, though the main character Ali was not very believable and I felt the author was using the characters in her own way, rather than staying true to them as "individuals" if that makes sense. It was one of those books that you kind of feel you have read before as it has many cliches, but its an OK "switch your brain off" type of read. However, I have to say that whilst I am not a prude, I do hate the use of the "c" word (the 4 letter one!) in a book, and it lent nothing to ...more
Sheryl Haut
Aug 29, 2015 Sheryl Haut rated it liked it
Was light but a very engaging read
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I am a little flummoxed to say the least right now. I picked up Fiona Neill's debut novel entitled The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy back in 2008. It wasn't necessarily a choice based on anything other than chance. However, I was taken aback at how funny that debut novel was. It had me laughing out loud in places and I can honestly say it has always stuck in my memory for that reason.

I noticed that she had another book being released and figured I would pre-order it. When I saw the front cover I
Apr 14, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Long, detailed account of a young English woman who ends up as a nanny for a family embroiled in the financial scandals of 2007-2008. The characters are very well fleshed out, and I actually learned quite a bit about what caused the finance crisis, though the details are mercifully couched in a more mundane story about what it's like to be the hired help for a very rich family.
Oct 23, 2011 Hollie added it
Quite a good book, too much banking/shares stuff in it though. The rest of the story is good and it would have been better to have had more of the character storylines rather than banking stuff that I really don't understand. Would have liked the ending to have been better though.
May 23, 2013 Sapna rated it it was ok
This book reminded me of the Nanny Diaries but set in London and the Nanny was employed by a financial banker accused of insider trading. It was a quick read and fairly entertaining but nothing I would recommend.
Dec 18, 2013 Ashley rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
From my book review blog:

Well, much to my disappointment, I've given up on this one. I've got 2 main reasons.

#1: I tried like 5 or more times to get into this book, but could never read more than like 15 pages in each sitting. It just wasn't interesting enough to hook me. I'm not sure if it was the content of the story, the characters, or the writing style, but something just wasn't clicking.

#2: The foul language. This book wasn't super bad in regard to language,
Nov 09, 2015 Hannie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik ben zelf au pair geweest bij een redelijk rijk Brits gezin, vandaar dat boeken over au pairs en nannies mij meestal wel aanspreken. Wat de Nanny zag van Fiona Neill vind ik wel een van de betere boeken over dit onderwerp, omdat het niet alleen gaat over de zorg van de kinderen en de onhebbelijkheid van de ouders, maar ook over de plaats van een nanny in een gezin en hoe complex zo'n relatie soms is. Een ander belangrijk onderwerp in dit boek is de financiële wereld en de economische crisis. D ...more
Mar 18, 2013 Terryann rated it liked it
Neill, Fiona. What the Nanny Saw. Unabridged. 13 CDs. 16 Hours. Tantor. 2013. ISBN: 978-1-4526-0894-5. $44.99. F

When Ali adds up her school debt and her affair with her married tutor it equals not continuing in University. She takes a job as nanny for wealthy, privileged Nick and Bryony Skinner. She must become accustomed to being treated with courtesy and generosity one minute, and then being overlooked or forgotten the next. As the 2008-9 financial crisis hits all over the world, Ali witnesses
Sep 30, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
I received an advanced reading copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. At first I thought it was going to be the British version of "The Nanny Diaries" and just a fun summer read. A few chapters in, however, I realized this was more substantial. I cared a lot about what was happening with these characters. I thought Ali, the narrator and title character, was a bit underdeveloped in comparison to the rest of the characters, but overall was well-portrayed. I found myself wanting to get bac ...more
Carrie Smith
Aug 04, 2013 Carrie Smith rated it really liked it
What The Nanny Knew (unabridged) by Fiona Neil Audiobook Tantor 15.75 hrs.

Read by Alison Larkin

What The Nanny Knew by Fiona Neill is a unique story that crosses the fictional chicklit nanny genre with the unexpected non-fiction of recent financial history. Quite an extraordinary coupling, filled with humour and intelligence, as it takes the sometimes difficult to understand 2008 global economic meltdown and mixes it into the plot line as a mystery. The book is enhanced by the superior audio acti
Carrie Smith
Aug 01, 2013 Carrie Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
What The Nanny Knew (unabridged) by Fiona Neil Audiobook Tantor 15.75 hrs.

Read by Alison Larkin

What The Nanny Knew by Fiona Neill is a unique story that crosses the fictional chicklit nanny genre with the unexpected non-fiction of recent financial history. Quite an extraordinary coupling, filled with humour and intelligence, as it takes the sometimes difficult to understand 2008 global economic meltdown and mixes it into the plot line as a mystery. The book is enhanced by the superior audio acti
Jul 11, 2013 Smitha rated it really liked it
Ali Sparrow needs money for her tuition for her course at the university and needs to get away from the university after having an affair with her tutor. An advert from Byrony and Nick Skinner for a nanny catches her eye. She applies and gets the job. She has no idea what she is in for.

Before she knows it, she becomes the mainstay of their lives. She is there for the five-year-old twins, for their teenage daughter and also keeping everything sorted for Byrony. As a nanny, she becomes the invisib
Andrea Mullarkey
Oct 23, 2012 Andrea Mullarkey rated it really liked it
When Ali accepts a job as nanny to high-powered London couple Nick & Bryony as a way to earn money to finish her degree, she gets herself into a situation much more complicated than could have been anticipated. She is absorbed into the machinations of this super-wealthy and well-connected, but inevitably dysfunctional family. Then husband Nick becomes embroiled in a banking scandal and the family, already on shaky ground, unravels further. As an intimate to the family and the only one outsid ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Antonomasia marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit, 2011
Chosen as something light and easy to read whilst ill, it's actually quite annoying. There is a lot of clumsy exposition, written as if the characters were saying it in 2006, about matters that would be involved in the financial crisis in 2008. Ali (the nanny and main character) isn't terribly believable as a 23-year old student ... I get the feeling she's mostly just a vehicle for what the author would do in the situation. The spelling of her name can be confusing to the flow of the story, as i ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"What the Nanny Saw" is a book that I have won through the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

The book started out a little slow and took me a while to really get into it. The nanny, Ali, is hired to take care of 4 children for Nick and Bryony Skinner. Ali is taken into their confidences somewhat and she feels comfortable taking care of their children; although they can get to be a handful sometimes. This privileged and wealthy family becomes the center of a financial crisis. Scandal is following th
Sherry Saunders
Sep 24, 2012 Sherry Saunders rated it liked it
It was a tossup for me deciding whether to give this 2 or 3 stars. I'm actually not sure why I even finished this book. The story was okay, predictably about the life of a governess to the children of a British family whose father was employed by Lehman Bros. during the banking crisis. The opening of the book reveals that there's been a financial catastrophe in the family, and then jumps back to the beginning of Ali's employment and the unfolding of how the family gets to the point of crisis. Th ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Nikki rated it did not like it
Honestly, this book could have been about 200 pages. And if it was shorter, maybe it would have been better. But it was the same thing, over and over, with no real closure at the end. My book club and I read this, and NONE of us liked it (5 women). To quote one, "If I could have given it zero stars, I would have."

Not worth it. Sounds mysterious and intriguing, but it's just not.
Barbara Elsborg
Aug 27, 2011 Barbara Elsborg rated it liked it
I'd like to give this book two and half stars. It was part way between being okay and liking it. Some parts I did like, others I didn't. It was however, an intelligent read and well written, just some of the characters that didn't work for me.
It's the story of Ali - a bright English student who goes to work as a nanny for a very rich family. The family come unstuck in the financial crisis of a few years ago and the novel builds the reader up for the fall of Lehmans. BUT - I didn't really find a
Ann Douglas
Jul 01, 2014 Ann Douglas rated it liked it
The first chapter was so dry that I almost abandoned the book. The story is unnecessarily complex (so many fringe characters, many with obscure/difficult/similar names!), but, at the same time, the plot is predictable. The quality of the writing is the book's sole redeeming quality, which is why I gave it three stars as opposed to two.
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Fiona Neill is a novelist and journalist. She was born in 1966. Her first novel The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy, based on her column in The Times Magazine every Saturday, was published in 2007. It was widely acclaimed and went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller that sold in twenty-five countries.

Brought up in Norfolk, she now lives in London with her husband and three children.

Fiona is pres
More about Fiona Neill...

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“It was both exhilarating and terrifying to discover that someone needed you as much as you needed them.” 4 likes
“That was the wonderful thing about the alchemy of passion, the slightest gesture became something beautiful.” 1 likes
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