A very lyrical, tender book. The plot is about an au pair, Hannah, from Holland, who has come to New York from the recommendation of a friend and fellow au pair, Lysanne. Lysanne is loving working in New York and convinced Hannah to come try it out. However, Hannah didn’t have a good first experience, since her boss sexually harassed her and she had to quit. Now she needs another job fast or her work visa will expire and she’ll have to go back home. She finds a new job, due to the sudden departure of this new client’s nanny. When she goes to interview in the new place, she finds a very naughty boy doing mischief with his baby sister and a harassed father who turned out to be single and very handsome. Her gut told her the situation was dangerous but her heart told her to stay because this family needed her.
Charlie, the father of Sammy and Maven, was hiding from life. After his wife left them, he found a nanny and immersed himself in his work. He was hiding from himself, from his perceived failures, and from his children. When Hannah arrived, she brought to stark reality his failures and all he was missing from his children. Guided by Hannah, Charlie starts to recover some of the life he had lost and got a spark of life back.
Hannah and Charlie felt the tingles from the moment they met, but the propriety of their positions kept them from acting on the attraction. Yet, the happiness she brought to the household, his children’s laughter and enjoyment of Hannah’s attentions, broke down Charlie’s hesitation. I loved the respect and consideration each had for the other. I also loved how real Hannah was with the children, the tenderness and loving attention she gifted them. The children were even learning Dutch words with Hannah. She brought the feeling of a home to this house.
Charlie and Hannah had a very tender love. A lot of the book happens inside the characters’ minds, their musings of what they feel for the other but don’t dare express. However, both were hiding stuff from each other, and that had the potential to rift them apart. Lysanne is elemental in helping both. Charlie’s ex-wife and Hannah’s ex-boss appear to serve as obstacles, and Charlie’s sense of betrayal also helps exacerbate their problems.
The plot is predictable but the characters are different from what I usually read. There’s an elegance to the writing, a tenderness in the emotions. Even though there are sex scenes, they feel like love scenes, not sex scenes. The passion is there but it’s not carnal, more like tender-passionate. It was introspective and slow-paced, but not boring at all. I got a lot of feels for Hannah. She was sweet and quiet, very loving with Sammy and Maven, and very forthright with Charlie, in a quiet way that was very effective. It was a quiet great read.