As much as I love to read fiction, I also enjoy non-fiction books as well, and I always keep an eye out for quirky or interesting non-fiction books I think I will like.
When Love, Nina was offered to me to review I wasn’t entirely sure about it, but I haven’t reviewed much non-fiction so far and wanted to try it as it’s not something I would straight away pick for myself.
Love, Nina is a collection of letters written by Nina Stibbe to her sister Victoria in the 1980s. She had just moved to London to become a nanny, and the letters detail her time in the family as well as her experience of London, including when she went to study at Thames Polytechnic.
The family she lives with are made up of the fabulous MK, mother of the two boys Nina looks after; Sam and Will. There are also frequent visits from playwright Alan Bennett, who often makes an appearance at the family dinner times. There are plenty of other interesting people that flit in and out of their lives that make up the letters too.
I loved the family the interactions; they were naturally funny and interesting to read about. I also really enjoyed when Nina went to study English Literature; her inclusions of poetry and her own views on her study material, as well as the views of other students I found fascinating. I enjoyed reading about 80’s London and 80’s fashion through Nina’s eyes, and I loved her quirk of not wearing shoes!
This book hooked me in much more than I thought it could. Reading a little every day was really cheering. I found myself wanting to read another random Will and Sam debate, or what recipes Nina and her sister were swapping, or what MK’s new boyfriend was like.
There is no dressing up of the story, or gimmicks or fancy writing. Love, Nina is just a down to earth collection of correspondence that when pieced together is a genuinely hilarious and heart warming read.