So much has been written about the 1932 kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., son of aviator Charles Sr. and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. But, because she kept an extremely low profile for the rest of her life, not much is really known about Charlie’s nurse (nanny) who was the last person to see the baby alive, as well as the person who had the difficult duty of identifying his remains.
Although after the baby died, she went back to her home in Scotland, she found it difficult to get another job anywhere doing anything. She was looked at as a monster because the media had dubbed her as someone suspicious in the death. The experience affected her in so many ways. She never married or had children. It was only much later in her life that she decided to an interview to tell her story as she absolutely knew it.
Betty Gow came to the United States to be with a man she had been dating back home in Scotland. Unfortunately, that did not work out. Desperate to find a job, someone suggested her to the Lindbergh’s who were looking for a nurse for their baby Charlie. When she got the job, she couldn’t believe her luck.
Although the Lindbergh’s were a bit different, traveling frequently and leaving the baby at home, and Charles Sr. whom she dubbed as odd with “different” views, she adored the baby and got along well with the other staff. She enjoyed going out with the others from the household for drinks and even started dating a sailor named Henrik. She was very cautious with everyone, not wanting to overstep her boundaries for fear of being fired.
But everything changed the night Charlie disappeared. Suddenly she was thrust into the media and Betty became the Lindbergh Nanny forevermore. The media, suspicious of her from the start accused her of having something to do with the kidnapping. She could not fight back. And then her boyfriend was arrested.
All the while, Betty is grieving the loss of a child she adored, while suffering intolerable guilt blaming herself. If only…what if I had done… .
As much as the sensationalism of the kidnapping caused her anxiety, the trial of the kidnapper was an even greater worry as she played out different scenarios in her mind as to perhaps someone from the household possibly aiding with the kidnapping, knowingly or unknowingly. But her strength and intelligence were certainly on display as she aptly answered all questions thrown at her.
The story told by Betty is one of terror, horror, unresolved questions and dreadful guilt which lasted until the day she died.
Although most of the book is based on actual interviews, etc., Frederick’s does take liberties with some of her storytelling which she makes sure to tell the reader in the Afterward.
Although someone was brought to justice for this appalling murder, to this day there are still conspiracy theories as to who else could have been involved. But through it all no one ever really rallied around Betty Gow, the Lindbergh Nanny whose only crime was loving and taking care of a baby in her charge. Until now.
Thank you #NetGalley #MonotaurBooks #MariahFredericks #TheLindberghNanny for the advanced copy.