I am thrilled to be involved in the blog tour for Nicola Cassidy's second book The Nanny at Number 43. Inspired by an advertisement she found in the local newspaper archive which sought a nanny to care for a motherless child, Nicola's research led her to discovering the shockingly high number of cases of infanticide in Ireland throughout the 19th and early 20th century. The plot of the novel revolves around a young woman arriving in Drogheda to apply for the advertised position. While the widower who employs her is delighted to have found someone to care for his young daughter his housekeeper Mrs McHugh is unsettled and suspicious of the Nanny's offhand manner and the baby's seeming listlessness and drowsiness. Along with her friend Betty, now bedridden but always a keen observer of people and their habits, the two women begin to investigate the nanny, revealing that perhaps the young woman is not so respectable after all. In parallel with this unfolding story is the story of a young family who have through a small inheritance managed to leave Dublin tenement life behind and purchase a cottage in the country but as the opening of the book reveals, they make a grizzly discovery.
Nicola's attention to detail in her dialogue, description and character building is truly wonderful. She has already brought Victorian Drogheda and the surrounding area to vivid life in her first novel December Girl and she has, done so once again in this page turning tale. The Nanny at Number 43 is in fact, even better than Nicola's first book. It's dark, gritty and full of utterly life-like characters. Whether you are fan of crime, historical fiction or fast paced thrillers, Nicola Cassidy knows how to build tension and her sense of character and place are faultless. If you enjoyed December Girl as I did, you will be wowed by The Nanny at Number 43.