Monday, August 08, 2022

96. The Lindbergh Nanny

The Lindbergh Nanny. Mariah Fredericks. 2022. [November] 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I can see the house. But not all of it and certainly not how you get there from here. 

Premise/plot: The Lindbergh Nanny is historical fiction. It opens in February 1931 and closes shortly after the trial (and conviction) of carpenter, Bruno Richard Hauptmann. It follows (closely) the events through the nanny's perspective; her name is Betty Gow. 

My thoughts: This is FICTION. It is important to remember that. Yes, it is inspired by a real event. Yes, some amount of research was done. But this is a blending of fact and fiction. And sometimes the line between the two--fact and fiction--get very blurry. Facts can be embellished and changed. 

The perspective makes sense. Who better to tell the story than the child's nanny? Who better can "give" us readers a behind the scenes glimpse into the whole story--before the kidnapping, the day of the kidnapping, the immediate days following the kidnapping, the weeks, months, years of aftermath as the kidnapping/murder case is investigated. The nanny would know all the major players--both upstairs and downstairs, if you will--and be an eyewitness to all the great dramatic scenes. So the perspective does make perfect sense. 

The protagonist's point of view is that Bruno Richard Hauptmann was guilty. The author crafts a couple of scenes where the Nanny sees HIM, recognizes him, even interacts with him. This is pure fiction. The author does point out in a note that she also believes that Bruno Richard Hauptmann is guilty. She says she is no conspiracy theorist and that justice was done.

I do disagree. I don't violently disagree. (Enough to throw a book against the wall.) But there are hundreds if not thousands of holes in the case and how it was handled from day one through the appeal process. There are legitimate questions that don't have satisfying answers. Enough questions that it is easier to say I DON'T KNOW.

This one was a difficult read because of the content. It was a heartbreaking tragedy. This book does make the players in this tragedy feel more 'real' or 'human.' 

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

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Terrie said...

Great review - What a good idea to add the first sentence as the opener to the review - I just may steal that idea :)
I think it's always a challenge to 'blend' fact & fiction....what do you change in the effort of creating a good storyline? Sometimes I've cared enough to google my questions, but usually I just remind myself it's FICTION! ;)
Found you via Marg's historical reading meme.
Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

Marg said...

What a challenging subject to read about.

Thank you for sharing this review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!