It’s the summer of 1974, and 26-year-old Mandy River arrives in London. She soon finds work as a nanny to the children of Lady Katherine Morven, a wealthy society woman in the midst of a messy separation from her enigmatic husband, ‘Dickie’. Despite the riches and the glamour, Mandy soon senses that something isn’t quite right in the Morven home. According to the mercurial Katherine, who seems to have as many different moods as she does fur coats, her estranged husband is violent, controlling, and not to be trusted. But when Mandy finally meets him, instead of a monster she finds a charming, caring father who claims only to have his children’s best interests at heart. Whom should she believe?
In The Language of Birds, Jill Dawson has written a hypnotic novel about class, violence and friendship inspired by the shocking Lord Lucan case and the often forgotten young nanny at its centre. It’s a great pleasure to welcome Jill back to Ely to tell us about it.