• The cover of the book The Help

    The Help

    A powerful, internationally bestselling book, this is set in Mississippi in the early 1960s. Aibileen is an African American maid, mourning the death of her own grown-up son while looking after her seventeenth white child. She takes risks to raise awareness of the appalling inequalities in her community, while protecting the children in her care as well as she can. “All the babies I tend to, I count as my own,” she says. Her little charge tells her: “Aibee, you’re my real mama.”

     
  • The cover of the book A Gate at the Stairs

    A Gate at the Stairs

    A working couple employ a student, Tassie, as an unofficial part-time nanny for the child they want to adopt, although neither parent checks Tassie’s references. She forms a strong bond with the child, and when that relationship is threatened, her reaction may be familiar to other nannies in a similar position: “Perhaps I was clinging to something that wasn’t mine to love. Perhaps I was treasuring love that wasn’t mine to treasure.”

     
  • The cover of the book The Perfect Mother

    The Perfect Mother

    The nanny here is Alma, “all sunshine and laughter”, a midwife from Honduras and an illegal immigrant in Brooklyn. When she falls asleep on a one-off babysitting job, the baby in her care is abducted. Amidst the investigation into other characters, nasty rumors spring up about Alma— that her uncle killed someone, that she’s part of a baby-selling ring. Meanwhile, another new mother from the ‘mommy group’ browses isawyournanny.com to read witness accounts of nannies mistreating their charges.

     
  • The cover of the book The Perfect Nanny

    The Perfect Nanny

    This nanny is Louise: hard-working and multi-talented. She’s “simultaneously invisible and indispensable…discreet and powerful”, and the family rapidly comes to rely on her. But they’re oblivious to the pressures in her private life, and to her growing emotional dependence on them—she tells herself “she is theirs and they are hers”. We know from the first line that “the baby is dead”; the rest of the book shows us the lead-up to this horrific crime.

     
  • The cover of the book The Nanny Diaries

    The Nanny Diaries

    This is a humorous but ultimately affecting tale of a student nicknamed Nanny who is drawn into the marital difficulties of her wealthy Manhattan employers while she tries to provide emotional stability for their four-year-old son. There’s a pervading sense that the closer a nanny becomes to their charge, the sooner they’re likely to be sacked—Nanny wonders towards the end how it was possible she could have “worked so hard and been hated so much.”

     
  • The cover of the book Woman No. 17

    Woman No. 17

    The live-in nanny here is Esther, a student and artist who calls herself ‘S’. She’s hired to care for a separated couple’s two-year-old son, and she pursues her own artistic project in her free time. The father eventually checks her references after the mother fails to, but these aren’t the sort of checks that will show up the unusual life decisions that S has made recently. The assumptions the family have made about her turn out to be wrong.