On the day of her wedding the last thing Zoe Miller expects is to be stood up, but that’s exactly what her boyfriend Jason does. Unable to cope with everyone’s sympathy and questions Zoe flees to America to be a nanny to a rich family. On arriving in New York, however, Zoe is told she will instead be heading to Boston to nanny R. Miller’s two children, Ruby and Samuel. Zoe thinks R. Miller is a woman but he turns out to be a widowed husband named Ryan. The children love Zoe immediately but Ryan takes longer for Zoe to crack. What will happen, though, when Zoe’s past catches up with her?
I haven’t read Jane Costello’s debut novel, Bridesmaids, but after reading The Nearly-Weds I’ll be trying my best to get my hands on it. The Nearly-Weds takes a well-worn plot: being jilted on your wedding day and turns it into a fabulous and funny read.
It’s told entirely from Zoe’s point-of-view and Zoe is an immensely enjoyable character. Zoe reminded me of Paige Toon’s female characters; being funny and ultimately quite clumsy. The writing is also similar to Paige’s – it’s simple to get into and has very funny moments interspersed with more serious moments. For example, Zoe shoots Ryan in the eye with a toy bow and arrow (hilarious!) but a few pages later, Samuel has a bit of an incident which was quite scary! Jane’s writing captured me immediately and I was hooked, the book really was easy to follow and I just couldn’t wait to get through it to see what happened with Zoe and the Millers.
I thought Zoe was the perfect character to carry the story. She was witty but she was also human. She acknowledged her flaws which made her much more likeable. She seemed happy in her own skin and I just loved her. I thought Ryan and the kids were also great. Ryan came across a bit moody and distant but after a while he began to thaw and we saw who Ryan really was. Ruby and Samuel were great child characters. I love reading about children in books particualrly when they are written so well as Ruby and Samuel were. For me, the best part of the book was reading of Zoe and Ryan’s changing relationship. Jane did that fantastically well and I had no idea what would happen next with those two. It was like being on a very enjoyable, but very topsy-turvy, rollercoaster.
I also loved the inclusion of Zoe’s British nanny-friends: Trudie, Amber and Felicity. They made quite a group. Trudie was by far the most involved and I thought she was brilliant. She also had hidden depths which surprised me. Amber amused me with all of her strange ways, I have to say. We’re meant to think something is up with Felicity and I admit I had an inkling of what it was. The only other main characters were Jason, of course!, whom I disliked and Zoe’s parents whom I loved. I could feel why Zoe’s mum Helen was worried about her as any parent would. I also hoped that whatever it was that was wrong with Helen wasn’t anything serious.
The book is an incredibly easy read, with short, snappy chapters which move the book along well. There’s hardly a chapter goes by without something stupid/funny happening. I loved that Jane decided to set the book in Boston rather than New York or LA as most authors do. I probably would have liked a few more descriptions of Boston itself though, but since Zoe was there to be a nanny it’s to be expected she wouldn’t venture too far away from the Miller household.
I thought it was an incredibly enjoyable read. Yes, some might say predictable especially with what happens in the last 30 or so pages of the book but I was fine with it, and knew that ultimately Zoe would make the right decision! Sometimes predictability is a good thing and the fact is Jane writes so well it’s easy to forget how predictable it may or may not be. This is well worth a read as it’s immensely enjoyable. I just wish I had Bridesmaids so I could start it right now.