“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.”
I’ve always been fascinated by the Lindbergh kidnapping, even though it happened decades before I was born. When I was in high school, a history teacher brought it up and mentioned that maybe the guy that was executed for the child’s death didn’t do it after all. That was all I needed to research the subject over the years, reading countless books on the subject. What can be said is that with every book, there was a different conclusion. That’s why I had a natural curiosity for The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks (Amazon US) (Amazon UK), which was released about a month ago.
Based upon all those books I mentioned, Fredericks has weaved a credible tale as to what life must have been like for the Lindbergh’s nanny, Betty Gow, a young Scottish woman entrusted with the care of the young Lindbergh. If you know nothing else, you should know that Charles Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, were the biggest celebrities of the day. Known the world over for Charles’ transatlantic crossing in 1927, he was a superstar. The only comparison I can think of is Queen Elizabeth II in terms of name recognition and a public fascination. People did not want to leave them alone, so they decided to build a home in rural New Jersey on many acres to avoid the public spotlight and protect their growing family.
The Lindbergh kidnapping and killing of young Charlie was so outrageous and unbelievable that even the great mystery writer, Agatha Christie, wrote Murder on the Orient Express (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks) based upon the real-life story.
Knowing the story as well as I did, I still enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot of The Lindbergh Nanny and the unexpected conclusion, one which I don’t recall reading before. The book also touches on Lindbergh’s extreme views of isolationism and what would lead to him being a Nazi sympathizer. What’s not mentioned because it didn’t come out until about a decade ago was that Lindbergh had a second secret family in Europe. Not the hero he was made out to be, that’s for sure. If you like historical fiction or a good mystery, you’ll enjoy this tale.
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