Cover Image: The Lindbergh Nanny

The Lindbergh Nanny

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4.5 captivating stars, rounded up
“It doesn’t matter what the police say. Once people have suspected you, they don’t stop. They simply think there wasn’t enough evidence.

Not many works of historical fiction get over 4 stars from me. Fredericks’ well-paced story brings out the emotions in a story I had only a minor acquaintance with. The strong writing stayed true to characters in the kidnapping. The must-read author’s note at the end was excellent.

A one paragraph intro gives the nuts and bolts of the famous Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Good books make you want to learn more. I did look up background information. “A man was convicted and executed for the crime. But many believe there were others involved who were never identified or held accountable.”

The book begins with Scottish immigrant, Betty Gow, getting a job as nanny to Charlie Lindbergh. It delves into the details of servant life, Lindbergh’s odd child-rearing preferences, absent parents, Betty growing to love Charlie. It covers the investigation and trial after the kidnapping.

The voice of Betty Gow, with an easy-to-understand Scottish brogue, made the person come alive. I could see this book as a movie! The male characters voices were not as good, many of them sounded to me like ‘stereotypical gangsters’ in the Untouchable TV series.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Engaging story focusing on the people behind the scenes but most closely associated with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Gives you a detailed view of what it was like to work for this infamous family. Not much development of Lindbergh or his wife, but there are plenty of books that do that,

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A middle of the road book for me. The premise is great - the kidnapping told through the eyes of Charlie’s nanny, Betty. While interesting to get her insights, it also made the second half of the book boring & slow at times. You can tell the author REALLY did her research; I learned more about the case than I had known previously and the fictional aspects were well done. There were a few twists & revelations I didn’t see coming!

The audiobook narrator gets a 4/5. The Scottish accent for Betty seemed to really draw things out and add time to the story, but I enjoyed all of her voices for the characters otherwise.

Thanks to NetGalley & Dreamscape Media for allowing to me listen to The Lindbergh Nanny.

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I am totally obsessed and falling down so many rabbit holes after reading this one! I thought Fredericks did a great job with using her extensive research to craft a believable story of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby from the perspective of his nanny. I appreciated that she delineated at the end what was indeed fact and what she crafted based on what she learned. The characters were mostly well developed (I felt like I had a much better sense of Anne Morrow Lindbergh based on other books I've read and someone who has not read as much might have a different take on her portrayal). I was totally engrossed with the audio narration and trying to determine the guilt and innocence of so many of the key players. I find this case fascinating and will definitely be reading more about it. I will also be checking out more by Fredericks in the future.

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I usually don't enjoy listening to books but I was very surprised to like this audio book! The reader had a very expressive voice and the Scottish accent was very endearing!

The Lindbergh Nanny follows the story of Betty Gow and the kidnapping of little Charlie Lindbergh. I thought it was very well-done. I have always been fascinated with the unsolved case and this book brought to light some information I didn't know. It was also very interesting to learn about the lifestyle and some of the society of the time. The family set up and disconnect from the world and each other.

I felt like the kidnapping was a bit hollow compared to the grief described of the death of Betty's brother but I am sure the author didn't want to stipulate too much and stuck a lot to facts. I was grateful for the story to follow Betty Gow a few years after so we get to know how her story ends, even though Charlies will always be a mystery.

Great read (or listen) for anyone who is interested in unsolved mysteries or the Charles Lindbergh kidnapping!

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U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh was at once a great American hero and an extremely controversial figure especially in the years prior to World War II. The kidnapping of his 2o month old son Charlie was one of the most sensational crime cases of the 1930’s. The events leading up to this kidnapping are the focus of the story of Betty Gow, a Scottish immigrant and nanny to young Charlie who immediately came under suspicion for complicity in the crime. Told from Betty’s perspective, we learn about her shaky past and her life in the Lindbergh home. Betty tried to temper the somewhat caustic parenting style of the parents who frequently left the baby unattended in order to” toughen him up”. Most readers will likely enter the story already knowing the facts about the kidnapping and subsequent tragic death of the baby. Even when the reader is familiar with the outcome, the author does an excellent job of blending fact and fiction. She defends Betty by suggesting that she was trying to investigate the case as well. Details of the police investigation are helpful in focusing on other suspects. The audiobook version is expertly performed and makes for compelling listening as the narrator successfully navigates different dialects and voices.

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I expected to enjoy The Lindbergh Nanny but was surprised by how much it hooked me and kept me entertained. I often have big reservations when it comes to historical fiction about true events, feeling it can dishonor the real people behind the story by not portraying them accurately (particularly once they've passed and can't respond to the book). However, I feel like Mariah Fredericks did a wonderful job of balancing truth and fiction, respecting the events and people behind them but allowing the freedom to focus on crafting a good story and characters. Her research was evident and and I really appreciated the calling out of historical accuracies and where and why things were fictional. I was able to enjoy the story throughout rather than focus on what was or wasn't true.

I thought the tone of the book was fairly unique and a wonderful blend of historical fiction, mystery, and character development. The pacing was propulsive and I empathized with Betty Gow throughout. The narration was excellent and added to the overall reading experience. I look forward to more books by the author and will seek out this audiobook actor again.

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Pub date: 11/15/22
Genre: historical fiction:

Betty Gow became infamous when her charge, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped. I didn't know much about the "Lindbergh Nanny", so I was excited to read this book. It's a bit of a slow start - the kidnapping doesn't occur until ~40% in, but I found myself really enjoying the last third of the book. As Gow began to unravel what might have happened to Lindbergh, it was quite fascinating. There were a lot of characters to keep straight, so the text was easier for me than the audio, but I did enjoy the emotion in Penelope Rawlins' narration.

I think slow-burn historical fiction/true crime fans will enjoy this one! 3.5 stars.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for my ARC and Dreamscape Media for my ALC in exchange for an honest review.

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I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I love one with a twist. This is based on a real event but is very much a fictionalized novel.

There really was a "Lindbergh Nanny". There was a very famous kidnapping of the Lindbergh child. The story did end in tragedy and an arrest. But the rest... is a bit of a secret. Told through the nanny's eyes, is a tale of what MIGHT have happened one fateful night in 1932. Crime and grit and drama surround this notorious story of Charles Lindbergh Jr. He was taken from their family home in New Jersey and Betty Gow, the nanny, was the last to see him alive.

Suddenly under intense scrutiny and tabloid fodder, Betty must try to find the truth amongst the lies.

A very well-done audiobook and a riveting tale.

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The Lindbergh Nanny, by Mariah Fredericks is a historical novel based on the Lindbergh kidnapping. I had the opportunity to listen to this book courtesy of Netgalley, Dreamscape Media and the author. A young Scottish woman, is leaving one of the worst jobs of her life and hoping to get the job of a lifetime. The Lindbergh family need a nanny for their young son and Betty wants more than anything to get the position. After an interesting interview, she gets the job and her new life starts. But working for this family isn’t like most jobs. Charles Lindbergh Sr and his wife are distracted by flight. He is a world renowned pilot and she learning to fly and be his co-pilot. Betty is left alone with the boy and she becomes very attached. He is attached to her as well. They set up a routine ad life seems good. She lives in NJ with them and Summers in Maine. At the end of Summer she is left with the boy, until the family calls them back home. Betty is meets a young man and she enjoys his company. He meets her in Maine but follows her to NJ. This story was very detailed. Each character was described to a tee. Once back in NJ a things start to change. The Lindberghs are building a new house, they announce that they are having another baby and the staff is starting to get restless. All this change can only cause drama and it does. One night, Charles Lindbergh Jr is kidnapped. No one can even guess how this could happen. It seems like the perfect crime. Not one lead to start with. Everyone is a suspect. The police try their best to piece it together. The investigation is lengthy and everyone is on edge. The author does a great job with the back story and character development. I didn’t know much about this story and I felt this was a good start. It made me interested enough that I did more research. This is a fiction novel but I think the author did a great job of writing about the subject. Who really knows what happened? This was a 4 star listen for me. Penelope Rawlings did an excellent job narrating. I want to thank Netgalley & the author for my copy for an honest review. It was my pleasure to listen and review this book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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The Lingbergh Nanny was based on true events. A story I had no idea about that took place in the early 1930s.

A nurse took a job as Nanny to baby Charlie, who was then kidnapped under her watch.

I cannot imagine what Betty had gone thru with knowing there was maybe something she could have done to stop the kidnapping.

This story was very interesting, tho I found it slow in some areas but def a recommended read!

The narrator Penelope Rawlins did an amazing job telling Mariah Fredericks story!

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Kept my interest. Fictional speculation of what might have happened to the Lindbergh baby with facts interwoven in the story. Definitely will be heading down the rabbit hole to further look into this event.

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I’d heard of the Lindbergh kidnapping but I didn’t know the details. This was a fascinating and sad story solidly anchored in the sights, sounds, and culture of the 30s. Excellent character development, steady pacing, and just the right level of detail.

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Many of us are well aware of the tragic true story of the kidnapping and killing of Charles Lindbergh's first born, Charlie. It was a sad tale, that drew the world into compassion and sorrow for the Lindbergh's loss. Charles Lindbergh, (Lindy) was world famous, the man who accomplished death defying feets, that made him a name known far and wide.

The taking of his child, drew his staff, friends, and family, into a world of possible hope and then terrible loss. This story is told through the eyes of baby Charlie's nurse, Betty Gow, who of course becomes a suspect, but then is drawn into the eventual court scenes that follow. Betty is a Scottish immigrant who takes on the job of being a nanny to Charlie. She loves him, but in her times with the family, she finds Charles the elder, to be cold, and stoic. Mrs Lindbergh, Anne Morrow, to be a good mother. quiet reserved and of course devastated by the loss of her son.

The country and the Lindberghs were anxious for the murderer to be brought to justice and as the supposed culprit is brought to trial, Betty is brought back to America, and is grilled by the attorney pushing the idea that she and Scotty Gow (her supposed brother) were the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Riley, the lawyer, grills Betty for over two hours but Betty is able to hold it together and is strong for she knows she is telling the truth.

This was such a sad story and very well researched by the author, but the bottom line was even though a man was convicted of the crime, there is still much conjecture about his involvement. Bruno Hauptmann, is eventually convicted and put to death.

The story still leaves many unanswered questions and the author skillfully manages to combine fact and fiction. Thank you to Mariah Fredericks, with the narration of Penelope Rawlins, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for the audio and written book.

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Read/Listen If You Like:
🇺🇸 American Historical Fiction
👶 Child Abduction Stories
💰 Weathly Americans
👩🏼‍🍼 Single POV

My Thoughts:
I did not realize at first that this book was based on an actual event in history. When I found this out I ended up on the FBI website reading all about this child abduction case.

This book was definitely so interesting to get a historical fiction version of something that I didn’t even know happened in American History. I loved that it came from the Nanny’s perspective too as that was unique and you could tell the author truly did a lot of research in order to write this one.

The narration was also great as it matched the Nanny’s pov with the accent of the narrator.

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In a Nutshell: Liked it enough. It’s not bad but it didn’t dazzle me as much as I had expected. Didn’t enjoy the first person pov.

Note: This review contains spoilers about the actual case.

Story Synopsis:
You might have heard of the famous kidnapping case of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s eldest son, twenty-month-old Charles Jr., in the early 1930s. This is a partially fictionalised narration of the events leading up to and beyond the kidnapping & murder, recollected from the point of view of Betty Gow, the child’s Scottish nanny.

Not being from the US, I had first heard of the Lindbergh case only when I had read Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’, which takes inspiration from this kidnapping. As such, I couldn’t resist the chance of trying out this novel, though I am not a great fan of fictionalisations of true stories.
You don’t need to be aware of the actual case. (In fact, I think you will enjoy the book better that way.) But as I already knew some of the details, I chose to read about the complete case before venturing ahead with the book just to see how far the story sticks to the facts. While my online research revealed to me in advance what was to come, it also helped me appreciate the author’s creative decisions better.

Where the book worked for me:
✔ The author has done her research and it shows. Wherever she has stuck to the facts, she has done so with aplomb.
✔ Betty Gow makes for an intriguing main character. Unlike what you would expect, she has not been idealised into a ‘perfect nanny’ but is written as a real person with flaws. She made for a good narrative point of view, though the writing faltered somewhat in this aspect. The Lindberghs too seem to be accurately depicted. I was initially surprised at the negative portrayal of Charles Lindbergh (the aviator, not the baby), but an online search revealed that he had shades of grey in his character. Betty’s connection with little Charlie comes out beautifully.
✔ This book is the perfect mix of fact and fiction. I admired how the author took the bare details of the facts and gave it her own twist. While this does end up vilifying some real people, it doesn’t do so without apparent justification.
✔ The police investigation is well-detailed and reveals a lot about the people who were under their eye of suspicion.
✔ There is a ‘Fact vs. Fiction’ section at the end of the book, which clearly demarcates the elements in the book. I wish all historical fiction writers who write stories based on facts would include such a well-written clarification of the plot points and their writing choices.
✔ For a change, the author’s note about the real Betty Gow and the aforementioned section of ‘Facts vs. Fiction’ were included in my advance audio copy. These two sections bring a new understanding to the story, and I was grateful to have access to these, for once.

Where the book could have worked better for me:
❌ Even without my research into the case, I already knew what was to happen to the baby. This is somewhat of a downer in a novel where the kidnapping doesn’t even happen until about the 40% mark. There was no surprise of discovery. The only positive of this is that there's an added sense of poignancy to Betty's wait for the baby’s safe return since you already know that he won’t be coming home again.
❌ I am never a fan of crime books where the amateur characters discover more information than the police do. I also found it tough to accept how one policeman shared inside details of the case under investigation with Betty.
❌ Barring the scenes where Betty discovers that the child is missing and where she has to identify the body, the rest of the book feels somewhat flat in terms of emotions.
❌ There’s a lot of info-dumping in the final chapters.
❌ Betty’s first person narration includes a lot of inner monologues. This becomes even more grating in the audio version as you listen to her voicing her extended thoughts on everything, even when she has to respond to a question.
❌ The story does wonderfully while depicting the discovery of the kidnapping, the information about the investigation and the finding of the child’s body, and later, the trial. The rest of the book doesn’t match up. It digresses a lot with extended scenes that have no bearing on the main case. This also reduces the pacing of the story. Having the audiobook was a blessing at such times.

The audiobook experience:
The audiobook, clocking at 12 hours 18 minutes, is narrated by Penelope Rawlins. Absolutely no complains in this section. Loved her narration, loved the way she enunciated the dialogues, loved the accents/voices she used for every character. The audiobook would be a great way to experience this story.

In one way, the story is almost like yet another conspiracy theory about the Lindbergh case. On the other hand, it is more of Betty Gow’s story than that of Charles Lindbergh Jr. Whatever way you look at it, the book is a good one-time read. I might have enjoyed it more had I not kept waiting for the kidnapping to happen. Knowing the fact behind the fiction is detrimental at times.

Recommended to true crime enthusiasts who want to read a different take on the Lindbergh kidnapping.

3.5 stars.

My thanks to Dreamscape Media and NetGalley for the ALC of “The Lindbergh Nanny”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the audiobook.

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I must admit that I had never heard about the Lindbergh kidnapping before reading this book but it certainly made for quite an intriguing and compelling plot being able to go in blindly!

I really enjoyed that it was based on a true story and that it was an extensively researched blend of fact and fiction. My favourite part was Fredericks’ ability to combine and blend multiple genres. While this is easily classified as Historical Fiction, there also so many crime fiction elements as well as it being an overall suspenseful mystery!

While a bit slow at times, it’s certainly a captivating read worth checking out, and make sure to stick around for the authors note!

3.5 stars rounded to 4

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I found that this story was a bit slow in parts, but I was interested to see where it would go. I thought that Fredericks had an interesting take on what may have happened. I particularly enjoyed her author's note that explained what was true, what was made up, and what was based on rumor. It is always difficult to create a work of fiction that includes real people as character, particularly when you are guessing at who may have been involved in the kidnapping of a real life baby.

Overall, I thought the story was good. I really enjoyed the audio narration by Penelope Rawlins. I thought she did an excellent job bringing Betty and the story to life. I would recommend the audio of this one.

3.5★ rounded up for the narration.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the actual incident through it. Very compelling protagonist and gripping story even though the tragic outcome was known. I have and will definitely continue to recommend.

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I really enjoyed this historical fiction book! The narrator was great and I was wholly captivated by the story, which is based on the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr and the subsequent investigation and trial. The only other historical fiction I've read about Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh was The Aviator's Wife in 2016 and I also really enjoyed that but I don't recall it covering this time in their lives. And I found it interesting that Susan Elia MacNeal also wrote a book about Charles Lindbergh at the same time as Mariah Fredericks but later in his life about his Nazi sympathies and that kind of ick! I enjoyed the Afterword a lot about how Fredericks did her research, what was fabricated and what was real, and a lot of references.

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