I was a little concerned about the subject matter and kept setting the book aside but I need not have worried. T. Greenwood tells the tragic story of Sally Horner an 11 year old girl in Camden, New Jersey in 1948. It's the true crime that inspired Vladamir Nabokov to write the classic Lolita. (In the meantime Sarah Weinman has written a non-fiction literary exploration of the kidnapping. It goes on sale September 11, 2018.)
FIRST SENTENCE: "The girls at school had a club, a secret club with secret rules."
THE STORY: Sally Horner's story was immortalized by Vladamir Nabokov in his classic Lolita. T. Greenwood researched the true incident and chose to tell the story from Sally's point of view, a sweet, naive child of another generation.
Chapters are titled after the person who picks up the thread of the story. The reader gets insights into Sally's family, her mother Ella, sister Susan, and her sister's husband Al.
Along the way as Sally is taken from her home first to Atlantic City, then Baltimore, then Texas, and finally San Jose, California. Although people try to befriend and help, her captor moves on taking Sally with him.
WHAT I THOUGHT: As a teenager living in Philadelphia, I was invited to vacation at the shore (Atlantic City) with a friend one summer in the 50s. We ran into some boys we knew and managed to get in to see "Lolita". I think you had to be 17. We weren't. I didn't know about Sally Horner then. It's an amazing book and I am contemplating all the connections.
The writing is beautiful and haunting. A light touch makes it possible to read this heart-wrenching story.
When I finally finished reading, I stopped and looked at the perfect cover. It makes me sad every time I see it.
BOTTOM LINE: T. Greenwood's book is a classic of its own. Read it. Talk about it. Highly recommended.
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 7, 2018)
DISCLAIMER: I received a free e-copy of Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood from NetGalley/Minotaur Books for my honest review.