Dawn needs someone to take her horrendous children off her hands. Paula is desperate for help so she can keep her sanity during the summer holidays. Matthew, whose wife died a year ago, is trying to get his life back on track, but with a small daughter to look after, he can't do it alone. And Jilly needs a job that she can do at home so she can look after her children. Setting up an au pair agency seems to be the perfect solution to everyone's problems.
But is it? If Jilly thinks its difficult to juggle her children, the au pairs and the needs of the families she sends them to, it's nothing compared to the trouble that's caused when one of the au pairs finally discovers the truth about the father she's been searching for.
Kathryn - 3 Star
I have mixed feelings about this one and while on the whole I enjoyed reading The Au Pair I feel like there were a few things that could have made it amazing instead of just good fun.
My initial impression was fascination with the whole concept. I know that having an au pair is unlikely to ever happen for me so it was definitely like spying on how other people live so I was surprised that most of the people with au pairs in the novel were fairly normal families who needed some help keeping the schedule on track. The helpers in this novel definitely were a mixed bag- with some completely involved with the children and polite etc and others were so bad that it terrified me to think of leaving my kids with any teenager! I really hope someone hired to care for a child wouldn’t actually go out and leave her home alone in the garden- not just to run to the mailbox but for hours at a time. Very scary.
Our main mum Jilly (who starts her own agency) was completely realistic and I was immediately at ease with her. She was a bit scatterbrained and untidy and I could also relate to her desperately wanting to have her own thing, her own business, something that set her apart from being mum. I’m convinced most stay at home parents reach the point of needing to have something of their own again and admired her determination to keep at it despite all road blocks.
I suppose my dilemma with The Au Pair was that I felt there were too many characters and although they were all interesting and involved in the plot it left me feeling less attached to them. It was just a few too many people to keep track of and although this gave us a wider sense of the life of families and their au pairs it wasn’t as warm as I would have hoped.
Thank you to Arrow Publishing for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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