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The Lindbergh Nanny

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Thank you Net Galley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks. I have read other books about the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby so I was very intrigued by the story being told from the perspective of the baby's nanny. Betty Gow, originally from Scotland, was given the position of nanny.  A job she took seriously as she had to keep him protected from the press and the public with two famous parents. The story focuses on Betty and the other hired help from the Lindbergh and Morrow houses.  Then the baby, Charlie, is taken by someone.  The way the author develops the story from here is interesting as she tells about the back stories of some of the help as the police question everyone.  When Betty returns to the US from Scotland for the trial of Bruno Hauptmann, the story picks up in interest for me.  In the Author's Notes, she tells about the Betty after and more details about her research and what was real and what was fiction.  This is one of my favorites parts of historical fiction books because I am always in awe how the author's use the research and their imaginations to create a very interesting story.  I've rounded up a 3 1/2 stars rating for this book to 4 for this review based on the ending of the story and the Author's Notes.
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It’s always satisfying to read a well-written historical fiction book, especially when it’s about an event that is integral to American history (the Federal Kidnapping Act was created as a result of this heinous crime). I didn’t know that much about the Lindbergh kidnapping, only that the famous aviator lost his 1-year-old child Charlie, and the baby was never seen alive again. I also was reminded that this took place in central NJ, close to where I live. Learning as I read makes a book more appealing, and this novel did not disappoint. 
This story is told in the first person of the nanny herself, Betty Gow. Her love for Lindbergh Jr. is greatly professed and makes the story all the more poignant. Lindbergh Sr. is described as a gruff, sometimes joyless man while his wife seems content to live in his shadow. Gow feels guilty because she thinks Charlie is bonded with her, stronger than with either of his parents. She takes her job seriously and blames herself for not being there for Charlie, preventing the kidnapping. 
Gow is written as a sympathetic character, while the others in the Lindbergh’s circle of servants are all potentially unreliable narrators. Gow does her best to try to find the guilty party while being questioned by the police multiple times. She never gives up hope until she finally identifies his body at the morgue. Her emotions are what makes her character stand out; ironically enough, Lindbergh Sr. is written as a man who despises emotions. Gow sees him as somewhat of an automaton, more interested in engines and science rather than his human wife and child. Despite her misgivings, she tries to win his favor, both before and after Charlie is kidnapped. 
All the Lindbergh servants start turning on each other, laying blame back and forth until I wasn’t sure who was telling the truth or not. I definitely think I enjoyed the book more by not knowing who, if any, of the servants were to blame. Each character is described well and their motivations for orchestrating the kidnapping seem accurate. The author creates suspense as she advances the plot and I was completely enthralled with how I developed emotions towards the characters, especially Violet. I thoroughly disliked her and was frustrated when Gow tried to sympathize with her. I believe she must have been suffering with depression or some other affliction, considering her actions towards the end of the book. 
The author also did an excellent job of describing the inside of the houses as well as the surrounding landscape. I found it interesting that Hopewell NJ was noted as being far away from the beaten path, while now it’s quite populated. 
As the story came to an end, I found chapter 31 to be one of my favorites. As Gow takes a final visit to the house in Hopewell, the desolation is apparent: 

"She uses her old keys to unlock the door. Inside the air is stale with dust and emptiness. Much of the furniture has been left behind. It’s been covered in cloth. The sofa, the coffee table, the grandfather clock – all bodies dressed for burial and eternal silence. Elsie and I part to explore the rooms we can bear. I step into the kitchen, which is empty, the cabinet doors all open for some reason. Peek into the servants’ sitting room, where there is only a chair and the card table. One lamp with its plug pulled out. There are memories to be conjured if I want to. I find I don’t want to. Better to leave these as blank, meaningless spaces. Like the sofa and the clock, cover the feelings in anesthetizing white cloth. And leave them behind."

This paragraph sums up Gow’s emptiness, a hole that cannot ever be filled, a chapter in her life best left alone lest the utter insanity of it take her over. 
THE LINDBERGH NANNY examines this tragedy from another point of view, and Fredericks does an excellent job. Even if you are familiar with aspects of this story, you will enjoy this book.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC , I enjoyed this title very much!  I wasn’t too familiar with the Lindbergh kidnapping prior to reading this excellently written book, told from the view of Betty Gow, the Scottish nanny hired to care for Charles Lindbergh Jr, but now I know quite a bit, thanks to the author, Ms Fredericks. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction and typically check and recheck sources referenced and characters included when I’m caught up in a work based on true events such as this book. I wasn’t at all disappointed in my fact-finding in this case. Not only did the author put in due diligence with her research, but she caused me to become intimately engaged with Betty Gow as the narrative progressed. I was transported into her world and literally didn’t want to put the book aside until I reached the conclusion. The writing in this book is precise, evocative and descriptive, nothing about it coming across as trite or sentimental or cliched.  The characters are portrayed as complex human beings, flaws and all. I highly recommend The Lindbergh Nanny as a well-written, interesting and engrossing read.
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Brilliantly written. Engaging and suspenseful. I particularly enjoyed  the “fact vs. fiction” at the end of the book. It was important to me to be informed about what was factual and what was not. This book had me thinking about it even when I was not actively reading it. It’s a tragic story that touched and ruined many lives, especially the parents of little Charlie Lindbergh. One can visually “see” the actual kidnapping and the aftermath that followed,  as it is so vividly described. Both the characterization of Charles Lindbergh and the dynamic between he and his wife, Anne Morrow, describe an inside look into their life. Do not miss this one!! #NetGalley #TheLindberghNanny.
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Because I live in Flemington, NJ where Bruno Hauptmann was tried for the kidnap and murder of the Lindbergh baby, The Lindbergh Nanny appealed to me. The Lindberghs are still kind of a big deal around here, with theatrical recreations of the trial in the old courthouse, Lone Eagle Brewery, and a protracted fight about how historic the Union Hotel really is and how much of it should be saved. I read several nonfiction books about the kidnapping when we first moved here 30 years ago, but Mariah Fredericks' historical fiction novel made for much more interesting reading. She places real-life Betty Gow (Charlie Lindbergh's nurse/nanny) at the center of the novel and tells the story of the Lindberghs, the kidnapping, Betty's own story, and the conclusions she reaches. Despite knowing that the kidnapping was coming and how it would end, this was still a compelling read. It seemed well-researched but the author doesn't just recount 90-year-old facts; she treats all the characters as fallible humans who felt real emotions and how so many of their lives were changed or even ruined by the kidnapping. I especially appreciated the author's additions of "The Real Betty Gow" and the extensive "The Lindbergh Nanny: Fact vs. Fiction" at the end of the book. I highly recommend The Lindbergh Nanny for a different and interesting take on the story.

Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.
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I’ve always been a fan of historical novels, but I also have a couple of degrees in that field, so I’m picky about it. I absolutely hate it when an author decides to rewrite history in fundamental ways to make history go the way he wants it to, and accuracy be damned. This one, I’m happy to say, is exactly the sort of novel with a historical setting that I like to find. All but the most minor characters are real people and the author is faithful to reality in portraying their actions and personalities, inventing or compressing small incidents only to heighten the reader’s understanding of what happened to them. But the story is such an extraordinarily gripping one, it’s not really necessary to make anything up to hold the reader’s attention.

The plot revolves around one of the most sensational criminal cases in American history -- the kidnapping and murder of one-year-old Charles Lindbergh, Jr. from his crib in the family home in Hopewell, New Jersey in March 1932. The person who discovered he was missing was his nurse, Glasgow-born Betty Gow, the young woman who was much closer to him than his parents, and the focus of the story. Little Charlie was the most famous baby in the world at he time of his death, the son of aviator and national hero Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow, who was the daughter of powerful U.S. Senator Dwight Morrow and an aviator in her own right (among many other accomplishments). Betty has had a not especially pleasant life so far, having followed a guy from Scotland to Detroit a few years before, only to be dumped. She lucked onto a job interview with the Lindberghs back in New Jersey and the narrative opens there, with her arrival at the Morrow estate at Englewood, where the Lindberghs were living while their new house was being built at Hopewell. The Morrows were quite wealthy and had numerous servants, and a number of them became important players in the story, not only as Betty’s friends and colleagues but as suspects in the kidnapping.

Lindbergh himself may have been the heroic “Lone Eagle” to the public but he was in many ways an unpleasant person who held and promoted numerous ugly opinions regarding race, eugenics, and right-wing politics -- though Fredericks keeps these mostly in the background since they don’t affect the story. Betty was much more sympathetic to Anne, Charlie’s mother, though neither woman much liked her husband’s extreme theories on child-rearing, either. In fact, Betty was left alone with the infant for several months at the Morrows’ summer home on an island off the Maine coast while the parents wandered all over East Asia. And they left her no money for new clothing for the growing boy, so she had to buy it out of her own pocket. In short, the Lindberghs were not good parents even for the 1930s, much less by modern standards.

The kidnapping of Charlie by Bruno Hauptmann takes place halfway through and the rest of the book concerns the investigation of his murder -- probably the most intense police investigation in U.S. history at all levels between the Lincoln and KennedyAssassinations -- and Hauptmann’s trial. And Lindbergh used his fame to pressure and meddle in the investigation, which didn’t help matters. Gow and the rest of the family’s employees were examined very closely, of course, which led to at least one suicide from the stress and considerable damage to a number of innocent lives. Betty was a strong and resilient person, however, and stood up for herself very successfully, making her one of the few heroes of the story. The author’s research is meticulous but her adherence to reality doesn’t get in the way of telling the inherently exciting story of a great tragedy. She’s an experienced author, having produced a dozen crime novels already, but this book is quite different and I will be interested to see what she comes up with next.
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Riveting new novel that takes on a topic I’ve often heard about - the Lindbergh baby - but never knew much else about. The writer does a great job making you feel like you’re there with the characters and can picture what is happening. Keeps you guessing and is a great read! Thank you NetGalley for an opportunity to read an advanced copy.
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A book centered around the true story of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh’s ban boy from the view of his nanny.  A very interesting, informative and well written book.  Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy
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Wow, this was a scary idea to think about as a novel, I always heard the horror story of the Lindbergh baby. This was a really wonderfully done mystery novel. I was transported back to the Lindbergh timeperiod and was invested from start to finish. The characters felt like real people and I was invested in what happened to them. This was a great read and I look forward to Mariah Fredericks' next book.

“I didn’t want Septimus to find out I was seeing other men,” she tells me. “That’s why I didn’t want to say a name before. I thought as long as I didn’t give a name, I could tell Septimus the police made it all up. They say they’ve found this man’s business cards in my room. I didn’t take any cards, I swear it. Why would I?”
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The Lindbergh Nanny is one of the most intriguing and captivating works of historical fiction that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I have read about the Lindbergh abduction from many points of view, but never from the view of Betty Gow, the baby’s nanny. What a remarkable woman she was. 

This is a mostly true account of baby Charlie’s abduction and murder. The author states that she added a few fictional aspects to round out the story but those are described at the end of the book. 

The Lindbergh’s and Morrow’s employed many, many people, most of whom who were questioned by police after the abduction, but it was Betty who was the last to see Charlie and the closest to him. She was questioned tirelessly and made to feel guilty by not only law enforcement but the general public. 

The story is written from the nanny’s perspective and I found her to be a loving and protective caretaker of the baby. She was treated abysmally by law enforcement after the crime and her life was altered by the accusations. She held herself high and I believe she was fully transparent during the trial. She discovered many truths on her own and held onto those truths throughout her life. 

This is a definite 5-star book for me and has me interested in reading more books by this author.
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An interesting, well detailed historical fiction novel, based on a devastating real occurrence back in 1932 that had the world in shock!
I learned of this kidnapping back in my US History class back in the 1970's.

I knew and remembered the outcome of the Lindbergh family, but I really enjoyed meeting all these characters.
I found myself liking Betty Gow and felt the love she had for baby Charlie both while caring for him and then later as she waited and hoped for his return.
I admired her strength as she was put through the trial to clear her name. 

This is a wonderfully told story that anyone who enjoys history will want to read!

Thank you to NetGalley and to #St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for this ARC and allowing me to provide my own review.
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I absolutely loved this book! Having recently read "the Aviator's Wife" by Melanie Benjamin, I was well versed in the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. the only qualm I had with Benjamin's novel was that it completely glossed over the kidnapping (which let's be honest, is unfortunately the most interesting thing about the Lindbergh these days). 

Mariah Fredericks' book was so well researched and really tied the fictional in with real accounts. Her note at the end of the book furthers this by highlighting what was real (often verbatim accounts from newspaper articles of the time, trial transcripts and interviews with the impacted people) and what was fictionally embellished. Not only did I learn so much more about the kidnapping, but I also got a new perspective that wasn't Anne or Charles Sr. 

Thoroughly enjoyable, and incredibly well written. This is definitely in my Top 10 of 2022 so far!!
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The Lindbergh Nanny is the true story of the kidnapping and murder of the son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, better known as "The Crime of the Century", as told from the perspective of the boy's nurse, Betty Gow.  It is a fascinating book.  In the style of a historical novel, it takes the facts of the case and weaves them into a riveting book.  As the author summarizes at the end, the book is rather true to the facts, but with a few personalities created and some slight liberties taken with people and places.

She goes further to offer her opinion of who was really responsible.  She believes that Bruno Richard Hauptmann was, in fact, guilty.  However, she postulates that the "inside person" who she was accused of being, was actually the butler, Olly Whateley.  Her evidence is very compelling.

This book is an excellent read for anyone from the died-in-the-wool, Lindbergh conspiracy buff to the casual reader.  Her characters are interesting and well developed.  I strongly recommend the book for everyone.
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Brilliantly written by weaving fact and fiction so flawlessly to tell an exceptional story. We know about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case, but how many of us really know the details as it was before our time. The story focuses on the baby's nurse, Betty Gow, and her ordeal from her time starting out as little Charlie's nurse to the end of her life. Read this book and you will experience this horrible time and the love this woman had for this child. Great authors notes as well. Thank you to the author, publishers and Netgalley for an e-arc in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This book is seen through the eyes of the Lindbergh nanny, Betty Gow. We get a glimpse of the Lindbergh's everyday life and who they were. The book thoroughly explores the entire case surrounding little Charlie's kidnapping. There are many details the public learns about this fascinating case. If you enjoy a true story and mystery this book is highly recommend!
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“The Lindbergh Nanny” is a historical fiction book by Mariah Fredericks. Having grown up near where the Morrow family lived, I heard a lot about Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her famous husband, Charles Lindbergh - including “the kidnapping.” So, what I found interesting about this book was the viewpoint from the nurse/nanny Betty Gow, who like so many others was suspected of having something to do with the kidnapping but in the end didn’t. I’ll be honest - I’m not an armchair sleuth (and this book reminded me why I’m not) but how this case was investigated is rather curious. I did like the Author’s Note at the end - where Ms. Fredericks explains what might’ve happened and the issues that people have with what did happen. There’s also a link to sites discussing the case - as I’m sure there will always be questions about “the crime of the century.” I liked how Ms. Fredericks wove together facts and fiction in a manner that easily flowed together. I also liked how, in the end, Betty Gow comes up with her own explanation for what happened - as for what the truth is, we’ll never know. I did have a bit of trouble keeping some of the characters separated - along with who was with which household. I did find the portrayal of the child rearing method Lindbergh insisted upon to be draconian, though I have to remind myself that it was a different era - and not everyone followed the Watson theory.
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A compelling read that touches on many contemporary topics such as immigration, class, and privilege, all wrapped in a mystery. Highly recommended for the intersection of. historical fiction and mystery.
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Author Fredericks sheds light on the household staff at the Lindberghs' Hopewell, NJ home.  Although suspicion was cast on most of the staff for the "inside information" which led to the kidnapping of 20 month old Charles Jr. , no one suffered as much under the harsh questioning as the boy's nurse/nanny, Betty Gow.  Desperately needing the job, Betty Gow agrees to go along with the Lindbergh's strange ideas on child raising.  This "method" seems cold and uncaring to Betty, no cuddles, no aid to a crying baby at night and leaving the baby alone on the front lawn for hours at a time.  Her employer, Charles Lindbergh believes that the child needs to learn to become self-sufficient and should not be taught to rely on others for comfort.  But with the Lindberghs constantly on the move across the globe, "Charlie's" care is left to Betty who can't help but bond with the child.  When little "Charlie" is kidnapped, it is Betty who is devastated at being accused of arranging the whole affair.  Through her letters home to Glasgow, conversations with other staff and her summer boyfriend, Henry, Fredericks lets us into Betty's thoughts, ideas and ultimately her realization of exactly who on the staff betrayed the trust of the family and led to the baby's kidnapping and death.  Betty is a believable character who is based on the real Betty Gow.  Extensive research into the Lindberghs, the household staff and the media blitz of the time allow the reader to understand the pressure, confusion and lifelong hurt that this woman experienced until the end of her life.  A new take on a famous case of the 1930's.  Not to be missed.
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Historical fiction that reads like an Agatha Christie novel.  I would love to think that Mariah Fredericks nailed it— but did she? It was hard to put down, yet I was sorry to finish this!
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The Lindbergh Nanny imagines the real-life story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping through the eyes of Bessie, Charlie's nanny, The author immediately starts the book with a brief summary of the outcome of this event, which may already be known to the reader. However, I went into this novel with no prior knowledge other than about Charles Lindbergh himself.

The story begins with Bessie getting hired by the Lindberghs, and progressing all the way through the trial. What I enjoyed was that the book did not get bogged down with excessive details. The dialogue and character descriptions seemed to be on point, and I felt compelled to see how the different pieces of the puzzle were coming together. My mind was engaged as I started to formulate my own theories and try to predict each person's involvement in what happened.

There are still many theories about who was involved in the kidnapping and whether or not it was a hoax, but the author doesn't seem biased in any way. She does give her personal opinion of the events in the back matter, but this is based on her extensive research she conducted in order to write this work of fiction.

I highly recommend this book; if you feel at all inclined to read it, do not hesitate! Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing an advanced e-reader copy of this book.
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