Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

Mariah Fredericks' emotionally charged and propulsive new novel, The Lindbergh Nanny, examines one of the most famous kidnapping cases in America from the lens of one of America's favorite suspects, putting Betty Gow at the center of her own story for the first time.

Betty Gow is known by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny. When toddler Charles Lindbergh Jr. is kidnapped from his parents' weekend home in Hopewell, New Jersey in 1932, his parents are frantic, his grandmother devastated, and the media rabid. Betty, amid the maelstrom and named a suspect herself, is determined to find out who has taken him.

Charles Lindbergh was already famous for his flight across the Atlantic―the golden boy of America, with his wealthy and lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, beside him―when Betty joined the household to look after little Charlie. A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Col. Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red.

But when Charlie is taken from the family home, at a time when no one but a handful of Lindbergh servants could have known he was there, everything changes. A suspect in the eyes of both the media and public herself, Betty must find the truth in order to clear her own name―and to find justice for the child she loves.

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published November 15th 2022
 by Minotaur Books
2.5/5 stars

This is one of the reasons why I love historical fiction, reading history through the eyes of a witness, though one not really publicised much. I knew about the Lindbergh kidnapping but not in great details.

It is evident that the author did her research and knew about the era. Betty Gow is or was the nanny for Charles Lindbergh Jr, and had been in her care for over a year before he went missing. I was immersed in the story for the first half , I got to know Betty, experience the way of life for this family, as they navigated through their notoriety. How the fans stalked their homes just to get a glimpse into this family’s life.

But the last half things really slowed down for me and I struggled to stay connected. The story is told only from the point of view of Betty, it would have been nice to to hear from other people.  Much of the last half revolves around the case and suspicion falls on the household staff (for a number of reasons), at times repetitive and slow.  

The author notes at the end were interesting, which verified her research and passion for the story, however, for me, it was a miss, but please take that with a grain of salt as their are so many four and  five star ratings for this book.

My thanks to Minotaur Books for a digital arc via NetGalleyShelf in exchange for an honest review.

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