Charlotte, a gifted and superbly trained young musician, has been blindsided by a shocking betrayal in her promising career when she takes a babysitting job with the McLeans, a glamorous Upper East Side Manhattan family. At first, the nanny gig is just a way of tiding herself over until she has licked her wounds and figured out her next move as a composer in New York. But, as it turns out, Charlotte is naturally good with children and becomes as deeply fond of the two little boys as they are of her. When an unthinkable tragedy leaves the McLeans bereft, Charlotte is not the only one who realizes that she's the key to holding little George and Matty's world together. Suddenly, in addition to life's usual puzzles, such as sorting out which suitor is her best match, she finds herself with an impossible choice between her life-long dreams and the torn-apart family she's come to love. By turns hilarious, sexy, and wise, Caroline Angell's remarkable and generous debut is the story of a young woman's discovery of the things that matter most.
This book poignantly spoke to the importance of motherhood and showed the importance of being a positive impact on even a small amount of people.
I was confident that I was going to hate the timing of this book as it jumped around within time periods; however, this ended up working immensely well, though I definitely recommend reading this book chapter by chapter instead of picking it up and putting it down as life dictates like I did. There ended up being a lot of subtle parallels that I wouldn't have otherwise noticed which really added to the story.
Charlotte was a really fantastic babysitter. There were so many moments where she spoke by the golden handbook and was so incredibly patient to the kids, Georgie and Mattie, and I couldn't help but admire her skill. At the same time, she was a believable character, and hearing her inner dialogue made me love her instead of being furiously jealous of her skills.
The kids led to some really hilarious scenes that led to comic relief and interesting scenarios. One scene in particular involving the boys' aunt and some chicken was endearing and comedic. I love seeing the world through children's eyes and Angell did a great job of showing us how they felt and how they reacted to various events.
I really enjoyed the musical subplot that came along, and I related to Charlotte so much in how hard she was finding it to follow her dreams. At points it felt like she was making excuses for not doing what she had spent years studying, and that she was afraid to succeed or fail, which in a way she was.
Characters were really well developed--people such as Ellerie, an overzealous mother, really stood out and though she and her daughter had a very minor role, I felt like I really got to know them. The boys' family felt extremely real, and the dynamic after the event was really intriguing.
This ultimately made me think most about motherhoood and the roles that caregivers play in children's lives. There's a lot at the end that deals with our impact on the world, and I found this to be thought-provoking and touching.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.