From bestselling author Laurie Graham comes the late-life diaries of the Kennedys' fictitious nanny: an inside look into the early years of the Kennedy dynasty-with all the juicy bits intact. When Nora Brennan, fresh to America from Ireland, lands herself a position as nursery maid to a family in Brookline, Massachusetts, she little thinks it will place her at the heart of American history. But her job is with the Kennedy family, so how could it not? Nora has charge of all nine Kennedy children, practically from the minute they're born. She sees the boys coached at their father Joe's knee to believe everything they'll ever want in life can be bought. She sees the girls trained by Rose Kennedy ("Herself") to be good Catholic wives. With her sharp eye and her quiet common sense, Nora is the perfect candidate to report on an empire in the making. World War II changes everything. When war breaks out, Nora and the Kennedys are in London, where Joseph Kennedy is the American ambassador.
Graham moves her focus from the U.K. royals she portrayed in Gone with the Windsors to America's royal family in this imaginative fictionalization of the Kennedy clan's evolution between the world wars. The story is told from the perspective of Nora Brennan, an Irish immigrant nanny who watched over the Kennedy kids beginning in 1917. Though Nora adores each child, she grows especially fond of Rosie Kennedy, whose learning disability makes her the runt of the overachieving litter. Throughout her years of service, Nora discovers that beneath Mrs. K's prim and proper exterior is a "heart as hard as the hob of hell," only outdone by Mr. K's unrelenting pressure on his sons to succeed at any cost. Meanwhile, Graham guides readers through the family scandals, political triumphs and petty squabbles that lead up to WWII, which will change the lives of the Kennedy family and their faithful nursemaid forever. Though it's billed as a "bittersweet comedy," the Kennedys are easier to pity than to laugh at, and their lives are marred by tragedies that Nora suggests Joe Kennedy brought on himself. The family gets a very sympathetic if sometimes soft-focused treatment that should find a readership among those who came of age in the era of Camelot. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 29, 2008
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