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Everything and Nothing

3.27 of 5 stars 3.27  ·  rating details  ·  765 ratings  ·  120 reviews
A gripping psychological suspense read. Cupboards were sticky from spilled 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—holdi ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 20th 2011 by HarperCollins UK (first published January 1st 2011)
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Absolutely amazing new book by Araminta Hall.

Grips you right from the start, so much so that I didn't put this book down until I had finished (needless to say it only took me two days).

Written from the view points of the three main characters: Ruth and Christian, married but falling apart and their seemingly perfect nanny, Agatha.

This story twists and turns right up to til the end, with intensity growing throughout. I felt as if I was there going through everything with them, sympathasing thro
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 beli
Rachael Phillips
I read this book in one day, not because it was a "can't put it down" but simply I had nothing else to do. Sums the book up really. SO much of the book was dedicated to building this story and then boom the "twist" and the ending completed in about 20 pages.
It's a shame because the writer is clearly talented but it's a little as though she got bored of her own story and just ended it. You know like when you were in primary school and finished off "and then I woke up, it was all a dream". Boring
Some books jump at you from bookshelves. This was one of those. I don't know what made me pick it up, but I did.

Actually, it was probably these lines on the blurb.

Cupboards were sticky from spilled 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 Donaldson are a
I enjoyed reading this book and the feeling of spiralling chaos from Ruth and Christian's problems contrasted with Agatha's tight control. In the end, of course, she is the one truly out of control and the family have a chance of balance. A good read.
Having picked up this book expecting a Nicci French/Sophie Hannah style thriller (and such expectations, I would argue, were not unreasonable given the fact that the book's publishers essentially have masqueraded it as precisely that), I was very disappointed with the actual content of Everything and Nothing. The blurb promises a suspenseful, sinister tale of a perfect nanny infiltrating a chaotic working couple's home - yet what is delivered is a tedious exploration of a cliched couple's marita ...more
Samantha Lee
I've seen mixed reviews for this book and whilst I can completely understand the comments, they are some of the reasons why I loved it so much.

Ruth and Chris are a married couple trying hard to deal with the fallout from his affair with a younger woman a year ago. With two young and high maintenance children and demanding careers, they are a family in crisis. In an attempt to regain some control they hire a nanny, Agatha. Aggie soon becomes indespensible, the house has regained some order, the
“The tube spat Agatha into one of those areas where people used to lie about their postcodes. Although why anyone ever would have been ashamed to live here was beyond Agatha’s understanding …”

The opening of Araminta Hall’s debut novel sets things up very nicely.

Ruth and Christian are struggling to balance their busy, busy lives: juggling demanding careers, patching up a marriage battered by his affair, a five-year old daughter who won’t sleep, and a three-year old son who won’t eat.

But then ther
There's a fine balance between order and chaos. At the beginning, it seems the parents lives are chaotic and pulled in different directions, juggling family and work and relationships. At the beginning, it seems the nanny brings order and calm to the household. At the end, we realise that order and chaos can be an illusion.

A well written story, an easy quick-ish read (I read it in one day). I'm not sure that it was as "chilling and suspenseful" as the blurb suggested, but certainly a good story
Everything and Nothing is Arminta Hall’s debut novel and featured in the Richard & Judy Book Club list in 2011.
I had the title on my ‘reading list’ for some time and when I saw a copy in my local charity shop I quickly ‘snapped it up’.

Ruth and Christian have two children, a daughter (5) who doesn’t sleep at night and a son (3) who doesn’t eat.

Their relationship is troubled to say the least and they are trying to get their life back on track after Christian had an affair a year previously.

Megan Jones
I was so excited to start reading this book having heard a lot about it in particular the review by Richard and Judy made it seem excellent, then when I read the blurb it described it as a menacing read and gripping. Sadly this was neither. Nothing in this book made me want to keep reading it I only finished it because I was told to always finish books. The characters although going through normal everyday things that people can relate to are all rather annoying and hard to think anything positi ...more
Most depressing and boring book ever. Made me remember why I don't read "normal women" books. Dysfunctional parents, bratty kids, Nanny who's mental and complete lack of a story except for everybody hates each other. Only finished because it was short.
Mary Edgley
This is a first novel and the author has a talent however, this book read like a stream of consciousness from the mind of the key characters. This sense was compounded or underpinned by the lack of chapters or breaks throughout the whole book with the thoughts and deeds of one character slipping not so seamlessly into the next.

The storyline is engaging and one familiar with every mother with a career. One could almost believe that the relationship challenges experienced by the husband and wife a
The blurb on this book promised a great deal more than it delivered. I was expecting a grim and sinister tale but all I got was a badly-developed plot with weak characterisation and an ending that was so poor I actually rewound the audiobook, assuming I had somehow missed a bit! I also felt that the basic premise on which the story rests was unbelievable. I can't believe that a professional couple would employ a nanny wholly on a short interview with her and a mobile phone conversation - not eve ...more
This was a good read bu predictable. I would say that this is not a chillimg or menacing read as some of the reviews describe it but it was a good read

Read as part of monthly Bookclub read.

The book is centred around Christian, Ruth their two children Betty and Hal along with their nanny Agatha.

Ruth is a full time working mum, deputy editor of a magazine and therefore an extremely busy woman, whose children have problems of their own.

Christian is Ruth's husband with his own job and all seems well. He's working and completely obvlious to his surroundings until Sarah walks back into his life. Sarah is a woman he had an affair with a few years
I just about gave up on this one, but kept reading to see if anything exciting was going to happen, sadly I was disappointed
Eve Vamvas
This book is an exceptionally well written domestic drama, full of acute, funny and sometimes tragic observations of the modern marriage. I can't say that I actually liked any of the characters but Hall's unflinching representation of them rings true, particularly to any woman who has ever experienced the guilt that inevitably accompanies parenting and working, let alone trying to have a proper career and a relationship. This is a book that is recognisable and surprising at the same time, with c ...more
Ernestina Leonie
Really good book with some truly insightful characters and a great narrative.
From my perspective it was a real page-turner. If people are looking for a high drama Hollywood style fast thriller then they may be disappointed, but for me this is far better - well written, interesting, character driven and with a couple of great twists that keep it as fast paced as I'd like personally.
It feels authentic, insightful to family life and frankly I found the story gripping.
Well recommended from me.
Review: Everything and Nothing

Let me just settle the dust from the beginning; this was a particular bad book.

It was not the writing alone, but plot, characters, and form were all bad as well. Bad, bad, bad, bad, B-A-D.

Had it not been for the fact that I read this book as part of a book club, I am confident that I would never have finished it at all. Already after 30 pages or so, it just seemed sappy and fake. Artificial and staged even. And that was how the remainder of the book was like – supe
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
Ruth and Christian are a modern couple with all of life’s everyday hassles getting on top of them, trying to find the work/life balance, huge mortgage to pay, with their two young children Betty and Hal, they’ve gone through several nannies, and Christian has had an affair. Hal refuses to eat properly. Things seem to be at breaking point. Their days are exhausting; they both have jobs in media, time together is short and seems to be spent arguing and sniping at each other. Both of them wonder if ...more
I read this book over the space of two days (although it could have easily been read in one sitting). Although I liked the book, I was lead to believe that Everything and Nothing was going to be focused more on Aggie and her psychosis, whereas Hall seems to have focused a little too much of the book on Ruth and Christian's relationship issues and less on Aggie's story. I would have probably enjoyed this book more if it were weighted the other way around. However, I still enjoyed Everything and N ...more
Jayne Charles
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to work comes this book. We know from the back cover and the opening sections that the ‘perfect nanny’ employed by the chief characters will turn out to be less than perfect, but waiting for things to go wrong is a tense experience.

I liked and admired this book for its ability to make me understand and sympathise with all the characters - including the nanny - and its willingness to take on the big philosophical topics of life and set out to encapsula
Alan Hughes

'Unputdownable!chillingly well-drawn' Sophie Hannah 'An assured debut takes the Mary Poppins myth and turns it into a menacing tale of the enemy invited in! Araminta Hall has turned the perfect nanny trope into something much more disturbing. Imagine a mash-up of Mary Poppins with Stephen King and you get the general idea! What makes this smartly written first novel so disturbing is its moral ambiguity; Hall keeps us engaged with all the characters, even the duplicitous Agatha, right up

Ingrid Fasquelle
Une dangereuse Emprise est un roman au suspense redoutable. A mi-chemin entre le thriller psychologique et le drame contemporain, Araminta Hall signe un roman passionnant, addictif, dans lequel elle traite, avec un réalisme effrayant, des difficultés de la vie de couple et des angoisses d'une jeune maman débordée.

Dès les premières pages, le récit d'Araminta Hall capte l'attention du lecteur. L'histoire est très simple. On y suit le quotidien de Ruth et Christian, un couple marié qui tente de con
Hannah Fullmer
I have recently decided to do a comparison/ personal reading challenge relating to what author Julia Crouch terms "domestic noir."
Everything and Nothing, by Araminta Hall, is the first novel I've read specifically for this purpose.
It tells the story of Ruth and Christian, husband and wife of two young children, who hire a nanny named Agatha, hoping that she will bring some much needed order and sanity to their lives. Instead, Agatha turns out to have some sinister secrets. The premise of Every
Wendy Unsworth
There are quite a few reviewers with 'mixed feelings' about this book and I am one of them.
The fact that Ruth and Chris were having such a difficult time of it, unable to hold together their busy lives with children and careers to cope with set a very good scene for potential disaster.
Enter Agatha, on the surface a gem, a lifesaver to this chaotic family. Of course we know from the very start that something is amiss.
I loved the way Aramnita Hall began to build the tension as Aggie brings her o
A really enjoyable book. I feel that the Goodreads summary doesn't do it justice. Everything And Nothing is actually a gripping novel, verging on a thriller but not quite... Tension is slowly and subtly built thanks to the author's gripping narrative and realistic descriptions. I really enjoyed Araminta Hall's style and I'll definitely be on the look-out for her future works.

I personally quite liked the character of Agatha. I know you're not supposed to, since it is told very plainly from the st
This is not a gripping psychological suspense read. It is boring. I'm giving up at about 70% because I am bored.

This novel is essentially about the struggles of marriage and parenthood with a slightly crazy nanny thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately not gripping or suspenseful. I think there's supposed to be a twist at the end somewhere (I did flick through a bit further to find it out but it wasn't unpredictable) but in all honestly I'm not wasting any more of my time finding out the detai
Elizabeth Wood
Oh Dear:
It started off fairly promising and the writing appeared fairly good. However not one of the characters had any redeeming features and were cliched middle class parents. The nanny was so perfect/so twisted that I also couldn't believe the story. I only finished it because I hate to put a book down and I kept hoping that the reasonable writing style would overcome the defects in the story line. I wouldn't bother picking up another of her novels.
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Araminta Hall began her career in journalism as a staff writer on teen magazine Bliss, becoming Health and Beauty editor of New Woman. On her way, she wrote regular features for the Mirror's Saturday supplement and ghost-wrote the super-model Caprice's column.
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