The Nanny at Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy @ladynicci @PoolbegBooks @annecater #blogtour #bookexcerpt #TheNannyatNo43


Nanny Cover Final

The Nanny at Number 43 written by Nicola Cassidy, publisher Poolbeg Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Book Blurb
Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child.
When William D. Thomas’s wife dies in childbirth, he places an advertisement in his local newspaper seeking a nanny for his newborn child.
He is thankful when an experienced nanny arrives at 43 Laurence Street and takes over from his frazzled housekeeper Mrs McHugh.
Mrs McHugh confides in her bedridden friend Betty, who has a bird’s-eye view of all the happenings on Laurence Street, that the Nanny is not all she seems. Betty begins her own investigation into the mysterious woman.
When the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden, by a family who have moved from their tenement home into a country cottage, a police investigation begins.
But it is Betty who holds the key to discovering who the Nanny really is … and the reason she came to 43 Laurence Street.

Nanny at Number 43 BT Poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Nicola Cassidy’s latest novel: The Nanny at Number 43.  I have the pleasure of sharing an excerpt with you all:

Slowly, she counted the numbers, looking at each door as she passed.
She walked by a house painted pale blue and came back to read the black iron numbers on the door: 43.
She was early. The door was grimy. Two low windows were set in the facade, white windowsills turned grey. It wasn’t the most attractive house. She could see up ahead that there much finer buildings, with railings and steps and basements. Her gloved finger lingered on the button doorbell. Changing her mind, she lifted the large knocker, knocked three times and stood back.
No answer. She waited for another few moments. Impatiently, she tapped her boot on the pavement, curling her lip slightly, thinking. She lifted the knocker again and was about to try another rap when she saw the curtain twitching at the front.
Within seconds, the front door swung open, a frazzled woman holding it, hissing, “You’ve wakened her! Can’t you read?”
She pointed to a small white card pinned below the knocker, printed in capitals, emphasising the commands.
“I’m here about the advertisement. About the baby.”
“Oh,” said the woman, her face softening. “Oh, of course. Come in.”
She crossed the limestone step and stood in the hallway. It was tiled in tiny small squares, a patterned mosaic in beiges and browns. The woman led her into the front room where the white net curtains blocked the light from the street.
“I’m Mrs. McHugh, the housekeeper,’ she said. ‘Please, take a seat.”
The room had a high ceiling and two low Queen Anne velvet couches. She sat down, perching her behind on the edge of the couch, looking round her when the woman left the room. Two vases of decaying flowers stood on the hearth. Their scent filled the room, an acrid smell. A cabinet filled with china and ornaments was placed near the door, the surface covered in dust. In the corner near the fireplace was a small writing bureau, in the same colour wood as the cabinet. Its lid was open, papers stuffed in the pockets, newspapers, pens, ink and string piled up in a mess. Everything needed a good clean. She expected there hadn’t been time.
Minutes passed. She kept her posture, not allowing herself to sag. She could hear movement upstairs, but still no one came to attend to her.
A cry rang out. A newborn cry. It hung in the air, sharp, painful.
After some time, she got up from the couch and walked around, her heeled boots digging into the light-blue wool rug. It was pretty, a soft pink rose woven into it. Black streaks nestled in the fibres.
The door opened behind her and she turned to find a man standing there. He was tall, his face thin, his shock of black hair wetted and smoothed on his head. He looked dishevelled and tired.
“Good morning,” he said, his voice low. He had a large black moustache, a small gap between it and his sideburns. “I’m sorry for the wait. Do sit down.”
She returned to her seat and perched gently, leaning forward, keeping her chin up.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” she said.
He sat down, pulling his trousers up slightly to allow his long legs to bend.
“Yes,” he said. “A terrible loss.” He paused, no emotion showing on his face.
“Can you tell me about yourself … Miss …?”
“Miss Murphy,” she said. “Margaret Murphy. Well, I’m from Dublin. The south side. Rathmines. I worked as a governess for the past three years. They’re gone to boarding school now. Lovely girls. I was sad to leave. Before that I was with another family in Dublin. And before that I worked in Wicklow.”
“And babies?” said Mr. Thomas, “What experience do you have with babies?”
“Oh, I adore babies,” she said. “My family in Wicklow had a wee one who I was very attached to. The baby is three weeks old, sir?”
“Four,” he said. “She’s four weeks now.”
“And how is she doing?”
He paused. “Not very well, to be honest,” he said. “She is crying. Hunger, I think. Mrs. McHugh tries her best, but she cries day and night.”
“Ah,” she said. “That can happen with the bottle, you know.”
“Can it?” he said.
“I have a lot of experience with bottle-feeding. My family in Wicklow decided on the same thing, not to go with a wet nurse, so I am well used to making up bottles. It causes extra wind in the child, you see, so you need to give gripe water, something to ease the poor little mite. Yes, I have plenty of experience with that.”
He looked relieved. “Well, that’s good then. And references, have you brought any?”
She picked up her case and put it on the couch, clicking open the locks. She sifted through the papers inside and produced her references, one stamped with a wax seal.
She rose and handed them to him.
“Yes,” he said quietly to himself as he studied them. “Very good.”

Well I hope the excerpt has whet your appetite for more, the story sounds very intriguing and mysterious.


Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland.
She started her writing career early, entering short story competitions as a child and became an avid reader.
Encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University and while working in political PR and marketing, studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre.
Later she set up a lifestyle and literary blog, which was shortlisted in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2017 and 2018.
She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016.
December Girl is Nicola’s debut historical fiction novel and is set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, famed for its stone age passage tombs. Elements of the story are inspired by true events.
Her second novel The Nanny at Number 43 is published by Poolbeg Press.

She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.
Follow her at, on Twitter @ladynicci or

Leo’s War by Patricia Murphy blogtour extract


Leo's War - Poolbeg cover - FOR PRINT

Leo’s War written by Patricia Murphy, publisher Poolbeg Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link (amazon UK):

To buy link (Direct from Poolbeg Press):

Product Details

It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Leo's War Full Tour Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Patricia Murphy’s latest novel: Leo’s War.  The book is aimed for young adults but I think it sounds equally fascinating for adults too.

The author has kindly offered to share an extract with you all today:

In this extract from Chapter 4, Leo and his disabled younger sister Ruby escape at night to Rome to seek help from Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, after their mother is arrested as a member of the Resistance. Deep in the forest they bump into a group of young partisans led by Roberto, the older brother of a nasty classmate, who used to be an enthusiastic fascist. But after Mussolini joined Hitler in the ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union, many Italian troops who were ill-equipped to deal with the Russian winter, deserted and joined the partisans on the side of the Allies. Many of these partisan groups were astonishingly brave, fighting the Germans with ill-assorted weapons and relying on their knowledge of the local terrain. Often too, they were little more than teenagers.

* * * * * * *

Halfway in, we came upon a tiny clearing where there
was a rough stone hut, the kind used by shepherds,
underneath a canopy of branches. But apart from the
remains of a recent fire, there was no sign of life. I wondered
if it would be a good place to have a little rest. But as I
hesitated there was a sudden whoosh in the trees. I sensed
a darkness closing in behind.
And then a shape dropped from the tree in front.
“Fermati! Basta!” Halt! That’s enough!
The donkey brayed and kicked up its legs. I lifted up my
Before me stood a youth by the slenderness of him,
dressed in ragged clothes with a cloth over his face. He had
a mass of black curly hair and his dark eyes bored into me.
He was cradling a rifle in his arms.
“Don’t hurt us!” I cried out in Italian.
But the youth tore off his kerchief and laughed.
“Englishman! What are you doing here?’
Ruby popped her head out of the cart, her hair covered
in straw. Two other equally ragged boys emerged out of the
trees and burst into laughter.
“Roberto!” I cried. He was the older brother of Filippo,
my sworn enemy. A Blackshirt. He joined up even though
he was too young and was sent to the Russian front. He
sang the songs in praise of Mussolini with such gusto I used
to think his lungs would burst. But he didn’t look like a
Blackshirt now. He was the opposite – the spit of a bandit.
I stood stock still, staring hard at him.
“We are partisans now fighting for freedom from
Mussolini!” he exclaimed proudly. “I am the leader of our
band. ‘Lucky’ they call me. Because I got us all back from the
Russian front.” He puffed out his chest with pride even
though his little band of fighters looked like ragamuffins or
the Lost Boys from the story Peter Pan that my mother used to
read. And there only seemed to be two of them. Some band!
“This is Carpo, our sharpshooter,” he said. “And cook.”
He nodded towards a skinny little boy of about fifteen
with tufts of blond hair peeking out of a cap. He wore a
rough burlap sack tied at the waist instead of a jacket and
his trousers were in flitters. On his feet were two left boots
with twine instead of laces. But at least he had shoes. The
other one, a tall skinny boy with glasses called Primo, had
pieces of leather on his feet tied with string like some
peasants wore. Roberto referred to him grandly as their
“munitions expert”.
“Gigi is sleeping in the hut. She’s a refugee from the
south and she’s joined our partisan group,” he said,
swaggering as if he were a battle commander. “The rat we
roasted last night didn’t agree with her.”
While I gaped at this, the others laughed and Carpo
patted his belly, saying, “Yum, yum! More for us.”
I pushed the image of the rat out of my head and eyed
the group suspiciously. “I thought you loved Mussolini,” I
said to Roberto. “You beat me up when I sang that song
about him and you didn’t even know what it was about.”
“I knew it was disrespectful with those farting noises
you made at the end!” He laughed then. His face
brightened. “Sing it for us, eh?”
So I did! I puffed out my chest and sang at the top of my
“Oh Mussolini, what have you done?
You have a fat head like a baby’s bum,
You are the Duce but you’re just a fool,
Everyone knows you are Hitler’s tool!
Oh Mussolini, with your face like a bum,
If ever I see you, I’ll tell you you’re scum!
Then away I will run, run, run, run, run!
And one of these days you’ll be shot by a gun!”
They listened, grinning, and cheered when I translated
for them as best I could.
“You sing well for an Englishman,” the string-of-beans
boy, Primo, said.
Roberto looked around at his little band and smiled like
I was his long-lost brother. He winked at me and cuffed me
around the head. “You were right, Englishman! We have seen
what a mess he made of his lousy stinking army by following
those other German fatheads and we fight for Italy now!”

About the Author

Patricia Murphy Leo's WarPatricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.
She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels. Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links
Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy
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