To me Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life (published in the U.S. as Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home) sounded as if it might be a collection of ‘hilarious’ letters about the everyday domestic chaos of life with small children. Highlights being, perhaps, lost nappy bags and cold mugs of tea. In TV terms, a sort of Call the Midwife crossed with Outnumbered.
It’s not like that at all.
This is a book of letters written over 5 years by Nina to her sister in Leicestershire. In 1980 Nina left Leicestershire at the age of twenty and without any qualifications to go and work in London as a nanny for Mary-Kay Wilmers (editor of the London Review of Books) and her two sons, Sam, 10 and Will, 9. Her decision to nanny was random: it sounded like it might be a nice life. Being chosen by Mary-Kay was random too; a lot seemed to hinge on which football team she supported. Continue reading