A couple of years ago I wrote a rave review about Love, Nina and I’ve been keen to read more by Nina Stibbe ever since.
Man at the Helm was also right up my street. With a similar tone to her first book, Stibbe has not lost her natural and laid-back writing style. This fits in well with the voice of the narrator, nine-year-old Lizzie Vogel, who is based on the real life nine-year-old Stibbe.
We are introduced to Lizzie’s dysfunctional family one morning Continue reading
When I was nineteen I moved to Rome to au pair for an amazing family with two girls. A couple of years later I was in Milan looking after a little boy with very good taste in books. When I read the first couple of pages of Love, Nina – Despatches from Family Life, it brought back all of my memories from that time. This book is a must for all au pairs and nannies out there!
Made up of letters written to her sister in the 1980s, this book gives a candid insight into Nina’s life as a nanny in the home of the London Review of Books editor, Mary-Kay Wilmers. She didn’t realise it then, but she had landed in the house of literary connections; Friends and neighbours included Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Deborah Moggach and Alan Bennett, who Nina introduces as “the Alan Bennett… He used to be in Coronation Street.” Bennett, referred to as ‘AB’, is a frequent visitor, often joining the family for dinner. He brings along eccentric conversation, surprising cookery advice and the odd rice pudding. Continue reading