Finn Hunt is the nanny for 4 year old Amabel, the daughter of Philip and Marina Martin. Philip’s father is a senator in Arizona, and the hope is one day Philip will be able to slide in and take his seat once his father decides to step down. Despite being the hired help, Finn feels like she is a part of the family and gets caught up in their wealthy and glamorous world. She soon finds herself in the middle of something that could bring down this political first family. She also needs to worry about her own past suddenly resurfacing.
Imagine a thriller told from a ditzy nanny’s point of view. That’s what “Girl in the Rearview Mirror” is all about. The nanny gets involved (despite her clear-headed boyfriend telling her to stay out of other people’s business) into a scandal.
Would a rich and successful man who has everything (Philip Martin) cheat on his sexy, hot wife with an even sexier redhead called Iris? Small-town girl, barely 19? Yep, he totally would. What Finn does wrong – she gets involved. She meddles. She wants to believe she is part of the Martin family and she takes sides either with Philip or Martina, his wife, in outrage. When she fails to do her job and the child she has been hired to babysit dies, she is laid off and given a lump sum of cash to never speak of them again. I would have sued for negligence as what Finn was eavesdropping at the time of the accident.
She becomes a total mess – she sides with the now presumebly pregnant Iris against the big, bad politician who is trying to silence her. Then she sides with the Martins, when she finds out that Iris was not really pregnant and only looking to get some money. Then with Iris again when the money was supposed to go to to help her sister Sandy start a new life. Sandy – Iris’ sister – got knocked up when she was young and their mother gave the child up for adoption. The gasp was that the Martins had adopted the child.
Now the question was – why the need to blackmail? Amabel was raised right, she was well educated, well spoken, a bright child. She would have been exposed to poverty, disaster and a lot of hardship had she stayed with Sandy. She would have known how it is to have one or more members of the family unemployed and broke.
Instead, she grew up in the Phoenix’s first family, the Martins. Philip Martin, son of the sitting senator, an ex-football player who carries himself with an easy grace and appears destined to step into his father’s seat when the time is right; his wife, Marina, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum.
The book does not know where to go once the revelations are laid out. The fact that the Martins were contacted to aid the birth mother with money after the adoption was 4 years old turned sour and Sandy’s sister turned to blackmail threatening to bring everything out in the open if they refuse to pay out. With Amabel’s death, it all came to an end.
What Finn was doing, was besides unnecessary. She is drunk most of the time and when she’s not, she’s busy obsessing about the Martins and their riches just like a dog who smelled a well cooked steak and then was banned from seeing it. She should have stayed with her boyfriend, find another job and heed advice: don’t butt in.
The book is not bad, there are loads of instances where the title of the book is used in good context – Finn uses introspection to figure out how her past experiences have changed her. She does make a good detective, even though the narrative, through her voice, makes her sound unreliable. The writing does offer a lot of adjectives and descriptions – from what people were wearing to how people smelled like. At the end of the day, the Finn character is not very likeable but I suppose it doesn’t have to be in order to tell a story. She cheats on her boyfriend with a guy called Guy(!) she barely knows, goes out of town to snoop and is mostly busy with other people than her own life. She could serve as a metaphor of today’s society where we obsess about the political class and their private lives and their parties and any form of detail would appear as a scoop!
I don’t think I’ll be reading anything from this author again.. 384 pages of nonsense motivations and flat characters.