Every weekend, we delve into the British backlist and recommend a book for you. This week’s is a charming and chucklesome epistolary novel which will have you disconcertingly nostalgic for 1980s Britain.

love-ninaLove, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home by Nina Stibbe

“In the 1980s Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family. There’s a cat nobody likes, a visiting dog called Ted Hughes (Ted for short) and suppertime visits from a local playwright. Not to mention the two boys, their favourite football teams, and rude words, a very broad-minded mother and assorted nice chairs.”

From the mystery of the unpaid milk bill and the avoidance of nuclear war to mealtime discussions on pie filler, the greats of English literature, swearing in German and sexually transmitted diseases, Love, Nina is a wonderful celebration of bad food, good company and the relative merits of Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton.

Buy it here in the US, here in the UK, or — preferably — at your local independent bookstore. If you live outside the UK, you can get the book at a good price, postage-free, and properly spelled here.

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