Mariah Fredericks's The Lindbergh Nanny is powerful, propulsive novel about America’s most notorious kidnapping through the eyes of the woman who found herself at the heart of this deadly crime.
"A masterful blending of fact and fiction that is as compelling as it is entertaining."—Nelson DeMille
When the most famous toddler in America, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., is kidnapped from his family home in New Jersey in 1932, the case makes international headlines. Already celebrated for his flight across the Atlantic, his father, Charles, Sr., is the country’s golden boy, with his wealthy, lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by his side. But there’s someone else in their household—Betty Gow, a formerly obscure young woman, now known around the world by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny.
A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Colonel 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. Then, Charlie disappears.
Suddenly a suspect in the eyes of both the media and the public, Betty must find the truth about what really happened that night, in order to clear her own name—and to find justice for the child she loves.
"Gripping and elegant, The Lindbergh Nanny brings readers into the interior of the twentieth century’s most infamous crime."—Nina de Gramont, New York Times bestselling author of The Christie Affair
Betty Gow, a 26-year-old Scottish immigrant and Lindbergh family nanny, narrates this poignant crime novel from Fredericks (the Jane Prescott series), which fictionalizes the 1932 kidnapping of 20-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr. from the family's New Jersey home. Though many idolize Betty's employer, aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, she's unimpressed by the odd, arrogant man. Still, she likes his wife, heiress Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and adores the couple's son, Charlie. When Charlie disappears from his nursery after Betty leaves a window open, she hopes Mr. Lindbergh is pranking her; he has, after all, jokingly hidden the baby before. A ransom note confirms otherwise, however, making Betty a person of interest. Desperate to recover Charlie and exonerate herself, Betty begins scrutinizing everyone she knows, from the staff at the Morrow estate to her new boyfriend. The pacing is uneven, with an overlong setup and a rushed denouement, but Fredericks creates suspense for even those familiar with the case by suggesting the real-life culprit had accomplices, thus rendering everyone a suspect. Betty's distress and distrust are palpable, heightening anxiety. Historical mystery fans and true crime aficionados will be well pleased. Agent: Victoria Skurnick, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary.
I really enjoyed reading this story. I had heard about the Lindenbergs and their baby being kidnapped but not much more than that. It was interesting to read even though this book was fact and fiction blended. I think those who enjoy reading true crime will enjoy reading this story.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.