Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home is presented as a set of artless, casual letters by a London nanny but they are written exceptionally well (and, perhaps, edited after the fact) by a very well educated and well-read woman with a keen sense of what is ridiculous and interesting. Nina is 20 when she moves to London, with no formal education beyond high school, and lands in a literary, well-travelled, intellectual family, where she is exposed to upper middle-class concerns, guests, and yearnings. Fortunately there’s no hint of an upstairs-downstairs chasm: on the other hand, the mother adopts her in a way and helps her gain the sophistication and education she is craving, without ever interfering with her plans.
I liked the well-observed stories of her charges’ comments and adventures. They do get tedious at times (think of adorable baby blogs) and they are often buried under (realistic) descriptions of what she cooked for dinner (see previous comment about baby blogs). And I also got curious about her sister, to whom the letters are addressed. It would be interesting to read the stories coming the other way, from the nursing home where she works.