When Jo Green takes a nannying job in London to escape her small-town routine, complicated family, and perfect-on-paper boyfriend Shaun, culture shock doesn't even begin to describe it. Dick and Vanessa Fitzgerald are the most incompatible pair since Tom and Jerry, and their children - glittery warrior pixie Cassandra, bloodthirsty Zak and shy little Tallulah - are downright mystifying. Suddenly village life seems terribly appealing.
Then, just as Jo's getting the hang of their designer lifestyle, the Fitzgeralds acquire a new lodger and suddenly she's sharing her nanny flat with the distractingly good-looking but inexplicably moody Josh. So when Shaun turns up, things get even trickier...
A heartwarming, laugh out loud romantic novel with a fantastically dysfunctional family and complicated love triangle to amuse every reader.
When 23-year-old Jo (named for a much saltier Jo in Little Women) lands a surprise nanny job with the cosmopolitan and dysfunctional (of course) Fitzgerald family, she trades in her quiet smalltown home and her unexceptional boyfriend, Shaun, for life amid the bright lights of London. Duties include looking after Tallulah, Zak and Cassie (four, six and eight, respectively), keeping mum during parents Dick and Vanessa's constant bickering and getting along with Dick's sons by a previous marriage, Toby, 13, and Josh, 25. Unlike Jo's parents' shouting matches, the Fitzgeralds' marital rows consist of sarcastic verbal jousting ("Jo had never heard 'darling' used as a term of abuse before"), while the younger children's squabbling is frequent and forgettable rather than funny. The 12-hour days leave Jo no time to be homesick, and she manages to bond with everyone except Josh, with whom she shares quarters. Beady-eyed readers will quickly suspect a romance between the two, which will blossom, then wilt, revive and falter. Meanwhile, Dick and Vanessa's marriage is in jeopardy, and Dick's finances are a mess. Jo loves the darling children, but she's not entirely lovable herself. Instead, she's a victim of self-deception surrounded by one-dimensional characters two-timing beau Shaun, sly best friend Sheila, remorseful Dick, harpy Vanessa. Though things look up toward the end, they're an unhappy bunch with untidy lives. Blimey, where's the fun in that?