Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi
The Roaring Twenties crumble into the Great Depression, but Virginia Kingsley, New York's toughest and most successful speakeasy owner, is doing just fine. Now that the world is falling apart, bootlegging is a flourishing business, and she's queen of that castle.
Then her infant nephew is kidnapped. Her niece, Laura, and Laura's philandering movie star husband, are devastated. The police have few leads, and speculation and rumors abound in the media circus that follows the celebrity abduction.
Only one reporter, Erich Muller, seems to care enough about the child's welfare and the parents' feelings to report the case responsibly. Over the course of the investigation, Erich Muller and Laura fall in love, but their relationship is doomed to failure since he suspects her beloved aunt Virginia is behind the kidnapping. Laura, jaded when it comes to men, sides with Virginia.
But Virginia has figured out the truth, and she can't tell anyone for fear of losing her niece's affections and having the police ransack her life. So she pursues her own investigation, shaking down, threatening, and killing one petty crook after another during her search.
Little Todd's absence shapes everyone's lives. When he is finally found, the discovery will bring disaster for some and revelation for others.
I was pulled in from the first sentence, "Laura Kingsley Austin was Jean Harlow beautiful." I loved the writing. You can read the first two chapters on the author's website and see what I mean. This is not a time period that I normally read about, but I thought it was well done. There are just enough historical details to get the feeling of when it is taking place. I really felt for Laura in this story. As a mother, I can't imagine anything worse than losing a child in any way. There are plenty of surprising twists on the way to finding Todd that keep you reading. This is a great read and I recommend it.
My Rating: ****
Steam Factor: !!
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